The Ultimate Travel Checklist

Projects Abroad Travel
Projects Abroad Travel

Image courtesy of Flickr, Nestor Lacle

The time has come! Your fundraising is done, your flights are booked and your group is ready to soon fly out to begin volunteering in another country. Now all that you need to do is pack your bag. For some this can be a very daunting task knowing that you will soon be leaving the comfort of your life at home to venture out into the unknown to try something new, for others it can be the exciting moment realising that all of your hard work and preparations are finally coming together and the trip is just around the corner. One thing is key to ensuring that you have a good trip – making sure that you have everything you need and that you haven’t forgotten anything!

To help you, we have put together a comprehensive travel checklist to help you plan what documents you need to have, the items you need to buy and the things you need to take. Once you’ve gone through this travel checklist, you may also have a better idea regarding the size of the backpack or suitcase you’re going to need!

Adjust and adapt your checklist

We’ve included electrical items such as tablets and laptops in this list, but again use your judgement to decide whether or not you need or want to take expensive items such as these with you. It is also worth noting that if you’re travelling in a large group, some items may only need to be taken by the group leaders so be sure to arrange everything amongst your group. It’s always easier to share the load and the expenses!

This checklist covers every kind of environment that we cover with our projects, so be sure to adjust it to make it suitable for your trip. The last thing you want to do is carry extra items that aren’t necessary for what you’ll be doing!

We have listed the entire list below in sections to make it easier to find anything specific. If you would prefer to have the list as a printout that you can tick-off as you go, you can get a pdf checklist from here, or a jpeg version from here if the pdf version doesn’t work.

The Ultimate Travel Checklist

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Preparing to travel
  • Renew/ check passport
  • Obtain relevant visas
  • Ensure you have recommended vaccinations
  • Purchase travel insurance
  • Print off documents
  • Check-in online with airline
  • Check flight times
  • Check baggage weight
  • Personalise luggage
  • Change money
  • Notify your bank that you are travelling to avoid having cards declined
  • Make a note of numbers to call to cancel cards
  • Check local weather/news in destination
  • Email a copy of all documents to yourself in case of theft
  • Passport
  • Extra passport photos
  • Vaccination certificates
  • Driver’s license
  • Discount cards
  • Hostel/hotel reservations and contact information
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Travel itinerary and reservations
  • Tickets (flight/boat/bus)
  • Photocopies of documents/ID/tickets
  • Emergency contact infos
  • Sterling (for use in the airport)
  • Foreign currency
  • Emergency cash (US$100)
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Pre-paid currency card
  • Wallet
  • Money belt (that can be concealed beneath clothes)
  • Main, large rucksack or suitcase
  • Carry-on bag (small day pack)
  • Waterproof cover for rucksack
  • Jumper/fleece
  • Jeans/trousers
  • Shorts
  • Skirts/dresses
  • Shirts (strappy/polo/t-shirts/casual/smart)
  • Raincoat
  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Socks (thin and thermal)
  • Pyjamas
  • Thermal underwear
  • Swimming shorts/swimsuit/bikini
  • Sarong
  • Flip flops/sandals
  • Trainers
  • Walking boots
  • Smart shoes
  • Sunglasses/case/strap
  • Watch
  • Belt
  • Scarf
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Travel towel
  • Small umbrella
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Toiletry bag
  • Skin care/lotion
  • Make-up
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Tissues
  • Feminine hygiene items
  • Deodorant
  • Hair brush/comb
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Soap/cleansers
  • Cotton buds
  • Tweezers
  • Baby wipes
  • Shaving gel/foam
  • Razor/electric shaver
  • Nail clippers/file
  • Wash cloth
  • Dental floss
  • Perfume/aftershave
  • Make-up remover
  • Painkillers
  • Prescription medication
  • First aid kit
  • Sterile needle kit
  • Diarrhoea medicine
  • Rehydration sachets (e.g. Dioralyte)
  • Anti-malarial medication
  • Contraception (pill/condoms)
  • Lip balm
  • Sun cream
  • After-sun
  • Cold/flu medicine
  • Vitamins
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Insect repellent
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Plasters
  • Water purifier (e.g. Iodine)
Electronics and gadgets
  • Travel adaptors
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Camera and charger
  • SD cards
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Laptop/tablet and charger
  • External battery charger
  • USB cables
  • iPod
  • Travel alarm
  • Head torch
  • Torch
  • Extra batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Travel hairdryer
  • E-reader
  • Waterproof stuff sacks (for holding gadgets and small items)
  • Packing cubes
  • Knife/fork/spork
  • Portable door lock
  • Extra backpack fasteners
  • Sewing kit
  • Plastic bags/black sacks
  • Ear plugs
  • Pocket knife/multi-tool
  • Pens
  • Pack of cards
  • Travel games
  • Travel sweets
  • Chewing gum
  • Books
  • Phrase books
  • Guide books
  • Water bottle/platypus
  • Universal travel sink plugs
  • Bungee rope (to act as clothes line or to attach things to backpack)
  • Travel pillow
  • Padlocks (combination rather than key)
  • Journal
  • Compass
  • Duct tape
  • Energy bars
  • Travel wash

If you have any further questions regarding any items that you need specifically for the country that you are visiting, be sure to check your MyProjectsAbroad page or to get in contact with your group leader or volunteer advisor.

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