The Ultimate International Travel Checklist for Indians

Everything you need to take care of before you embark on your International Trip

So you’ve booked your flight tickets and got the visa stuff sorted. Now what? 

Apprehensive about all the planning you need to do? What if you forget something important? 

Worry not. Here is a Travel checklist that will get you sorted for your foreign trip.

This checklist will cover the following:

A. The Big Three - 1. Documents

Tickets, Visa, Passport...Details of what to carry.

A. THE BIG THREE -2. Money

Complete guide to handling your Finances when abroad.

A. THE BIG THREE - 3. connectivity

Your options when it comes to staying connected.

B. The other stuff

20 Other stuff including many you may not have thought of.

A) THE BIG THREE

1) Get your DOCUMENTS in order: Assuming you have got your visa sorted out, recheck the following:
 
a) Is your passport valid for more than 6 months from the date of travel? This is a mandatory requirement for visiting most countries and is usually checked by the authority before granting the visa.
 
Make sure you fulfill this criterion (especially if you are travelling to a country where you will be given a visa on arrival), to avoid unnecessary disappointments like boarding being denied, and denial of entry at foreign immigration.
 
b) Does your passport have enough blank pages (1 or 2 usually) for accommodating immigration stamps? If the number of pages are not sufficient, you may have to apply for a new passport.
 
c) Is your Visa valid for the period of your travel? Recheck this. Incase you are opting for a Visa on arrival, this does not apply to you.

In case you plan to enter the country multiple times during your visit, make sure your visa is a multiple-entry visa.
 
d) Do all the personal details mentioned in the passport and visa (e.g. name, date of birth, passport number etc.) match.
 
e) Take printouts of your entire itinerary. Better yet, also carry an electronic scanned copy of all the documents (pen drive, hard drive etc). 

Here is a comprehensive list of documents you need to carry with you.
 
i) Copy of your passport: This serves 2 purposes:
a) In the unfortunate incident that you lose your passport in a foreign country, a copy of the same will be very handy in proving your identity.
 
b) While travelling within the country for site seeing and other activities, it may not always be a good idea to carry around your original passport due to safety concerns. 

It is always better to leave the original passport in your hotel locker or a locked suitcase and carry a copy to prove your identity.
 
ii) Copy of your visa: For the same reasons as applicable to the passport copy.
 
iii) Copy of all your pre-booked tickets: Return air tickets to India and other Air, Bus, Rail, Ferry tickets etc. for your travels.
 
In case you have done online check-in for any flights, don’t forget to carry a printout of the boarding pass.
 
iv) Proof of accommodation: Copy of your booking confirmation with your name on it (MakeMyTrip, Airbnb, etc.)
 
v) Copy of your travel insurance: It is highly advisable to take travel insurance for your foreign travels. 

It is a very low price to pay for the comfort and protection it will give you against unforeseen medical expenses, lost baggage etc.
 
vi) Your old passports if any: Crucial if your old passport contains a valid visa which you intend to use during your travel. Even otherwise this is an added security.
2) MONEY: Now that you have your documentation sorted, let’s talk about the next important thing to consider; Money.
 
a) Rule number one; If you intend to convert Indian rupee (in cash) to a foreign currency, do it in India before you travel. 

If you try to do this abroad, you will be charged a hefty premium for conversion. Also, some exchanges abroad may not even accept the Indian Rupee.
 
b) Carry a minimum amount of foreign currency when departing India and try to manage other expenses using a credit card or travel card as these is the most secure and convenient mode of transaction.

 Make sure you own a card that doesn’t charge you huge premiums on foreign currency transactions. 2-3% is a good range.
 
c) It is advisable to carry some USD as a buffer as this is one currency that has acceptability all over the world. In case you run into any trouble such as card not working or land at places where cards are not accepted etc., you can always convert your USD to local currency easily. 

Moreover, you can also bring the unused USD back to India and use it for future travels. Rest assured it wont be demonetised.
 
d) Call your bank and inform them that you are travelling abroad and that you will be using your credit/ debit card in a foreign country. 

This is to prevent your bank from blocking your card to suspecting fraudulent transactions. Ask your bank about foreign transaction charges applicable.
 
e) Make sure your credit card has sufficient credit limit. Clear any outstanding or unbilled dues before travel, if required.
 
f) As much as possible, avoid using your debit card abroad. Debit cards usually have hefty charges for foreign transactions and are more riskier with respect to fraud.
 
g) Try not to withdraw cash abroad from an ATM using credit or debit card. These again are accompanied by charges.
 
h) Make sure the Pin option is activated on your card. This will prevent misuse of your card in case of theft.
3) CONNECTIVITY:
 
a) Although most places abroad have free wifi, a mobile connection with data will go a long way considering the following benefits:

i) You are reachable at any time in case of an emergency.
 
ii) You are reachable by your bank for any clarifications regarding transactions. This will prevent banks from blocking your card in case they suspect fraudulent transaction.
 
iii) You can make instant bookings for taxis, buses etc while travelling when wifi is not available.
 
iv) You can do online research on places to visit, logistics etc.
 
v) You can use maps to find your way. Helps a lot if you are lost too.
 
vi) You can contact emergency services such as police, hospital or the Indian Embassy if you get into any sort of trouble.
 
b) One generally has 3 options for staying connected (voice and data) while travelling abroad. Each along with its pros and cons are as below.
 
Option 1: Use your India Sim

Pros:
a) You are available on your India number throughout and you will not miss any calls or messages except when you are in flight mode.

b) No hassle of informing alternate number to people who may try to contact you.
 
Cons
a) The most expensive option especially if you do not subscribe to any country/ region specific international packages.

b) That said, many Indian service providers have come out with attractive packages for International roaming recently. Check them out.
 
Option 2: International sim providers (Matrix, Lyca etc.)

Pros
a) Although you need to use a new sim card with a different number for this option, you will receive your international number before travel and you can share this with your contacts in advance.
 
Cons
a) In case you want your India number to remain active during your travel, you will have to use a different phone/ a dual sim phone.

b) You will have to inform your contacts of the new number.

c) Rates are usually on the expensive side
 
Option 3: Purchase a local sim at your country of visit

Pros
a) The cheapest option.

b) Very easily available. Most countries don’t even ask identification to issue a sim card.
 
Cons
a) In case you want your India number to remain active during your travel, you will have to use a different phone/ a dual sim phone.

b) You will have to inform your contacts of the new number.

” You now have the BIG THREE figured out. If anything else goes wrong, it can be sorted out using the Big Three.

B) THE OTHER STUFF
 
1) Universal Adapter: An essential while travelling abroad. Get a universal one which can be used in any country (helpful in all your travels). 

In case you miss this, a simple hack is to use the USB ports of televisions.
 
2) Luggage Lock: Extremely Important. It is crucial that no-one else other than you and the people you trust have access to your bags when travelling to a foreign country. 

You are responsible for all the goods in your bag no matter how it landed up there. Keep your unlocked bags on you at all times. Always lock your check-in bag and unattended bags (e.g. Bags left in hotel rooms, cloakrooms).
 
3) A Small Back Pack: This is very handy. Leave your big bags at the hotel and carry a small backpack to hold all your bare essentials like Money, Sunscreen, Water, Sweater/ Jacket/ Scarf, Passport/ Visa copies, Sunglasses etc).
 
4) Water Bottle: Ok get this. Bottled water is generally expensive abroad, especially in Europe. However, tap water is safe to drink in most countries. 

Carry a bottle of water with you at all times and keep refilling it at public facilities. This will save you a lot of unnecessary expense.
 
5) Sunscreen: Need we elaborate?
 
6) Moisturising Cream: Essential when travelling to cold/ dry countries.
 
7) Medicines:

a) Most drugs which are available Over the Counter in India may not be so easily abroad. In case you catch a cold during your holiday, you don’t want to waste time visiting the doctor to get a prescription. 

Carry medicines for common issues like a headache, fever, cold, vomiting, sprains, small wounds etc.
 
b) Remember in case you are carrying prescription drugs, check the regulations in the country you are travelling to. 

Some drugs may be regulated in some countries and you may be asked to produce a doctor’s prescription by customs.
 
8) Neck Pillow: Very handy for giving your head a break and getting a good sleep on flights, buses etc. Why spoil your holiday with Neck Pain.
 
9) Ear Phones: Music, Videos, Hands free, protection from the outside world. You get the point.
 
10) Dry Bag: This is basically a watertight bag used to secure your belongings and keep them dry (especially your electronics and valuable). 
It is very useful while spending time on the beach and Essential when travelling by boats or when engaging in water sports like Snorkelling, Rafting etc. Think of this as a lifetime investment.
 
11) Wet Wipes: Ok this is a sensitive topic. Most of you are aware that toilets in the west are usually dry. Meaning no water, just toilet paper. If you can manage with TP alone, kudos to you. That water bottle you are carrying will be very handy too. 

But here is a hack. Use wet wipes. This will finish the job that the toilet paper is unable to and also give a clean feeling. Best of both worlds.
 
12) Sunglasses: For obvious reasons.
 
13) Beach Towel: While most places of stay provide towels, it is smart to have a thin towel with you in your backpack. 

Very useful especially at the beach where you can lay it down to keep your stuff and use it for drying yourself later.
 
14) Hand Sanitizer: Considering you will be out exploring a lot, this will be handy for keeping yourself hygienic.
 
15) Umbrella: An umbrella may not seem like an obvious choice for us tropical people, but in temperate areas (Europe and America mostly), unpredictable showers can catch you unaware. 

A small foldable umbrella in the backpack has saved the day for many travellers.
 
16) Toilet Seat Covers: You won’t have to dread using public toilets anymore.
 
17) Washing Detergent: We know some of you guys own 40 pairs of innerwear, but most people will run out of innerwear after the first 10 days. If your trip is longer than 10 days, consider washing during the trip. 

Carry a small sachet of detergent with you and use the washbasin/ tub (with stopper) to soak your clothes. 

This will lighten your load as well. Why carry all that stuff around and pay extra for that check-in bag if you are flying a budget airline.
 
18) Polythene Laundry Bags: Prevents your used clothes from messing up your fresh clothes in your suitcase. It makes a big difference. Trust us.
 
 
20) Once you have completed reading this Travel Checklist, go to our Latest Updates page to keep up to date on any recent change in regulations to Flights, Visas, Etc. 
BorderTribe wishes you Safe Travels
 
This post took me a while to put together so if you found it useful, please consider giving it a share using one of the social media sharing buttons. I’d really appreciate it.
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