Sunscreen, money belt, travel journal, swimmers, socks. What else? Besides packing, there’s so much more preparation that goes into organizing a vacation or round the world adventure. But, before we dive into what to take we need to go right back to the beginning. Every travel checklist should start with a couple of key action points that are going to make the journey a possibility.
Regardless of what type of trip you are planning, all getaways require a couple of travel essentials. Under the current climate, travel documents play an even more crucial role in planning an overseas adventure. The pandemic means that countries have tightened up their entry regulations and in some cases, additional paperwork is required.
To make your life easier - we’ll show you where you can find quick answers in the same place.
Your Ultimate Travel Checklist
Before the time comes to start rolling trekking pants into space-optimizing balls, let’s talk about that paperwork. Checking visa requirements by country and completing any mandatory health forms - this travel admin is essential to your planning stage. We recommend tackling your travel documents early. This means you have more time to spend researching incredible things to do nearer as the trip gets closer.
Grab your notepad; it’s time to start ticking items off your travel checklist.
Every traveler will at some point experience that heart-pounding moment where they’re convinced they forgot their passport. Like clockwork, it usually happens whilst en route to the airport. Of course, it generally turns up by the time they reach security - panic over. But, imagine - after that fearful five minutes - getting to check-in and discovering your passport has expired?
When you start to plan a trip, check that your passport is still within date. And by that, we mean it should have at least six months until expiry at the time of departure. Immigration in the majority of countries will expect to see a minimum of six months validity before expiry. You can check the specific passport requirements for any destination on iVisa. At the same time, check any other forms of ID, such as a driving license or an international driving permit.
Time to renew? In that case, you’re going to need to source a new photo that meets the criteria. Whilst you’re on iVisa, you can take advantage of our speedy, reliable, and 100% government compliant passport photo service. Simply head over to iVisa Photos and follow the prompts to retrieve a personalized quote for this service.
We also recommend that all travelers carry additional passport photos when overseas. It can come in handy in the case of a lost or stolen passport, or if a visa extension is needed. Sometimes, you need a photo when you buy a local SIM card or when renting long-term accommodation as a digital nomad or travel blogger. Finding a photo booth in a new city is a tedious chore so this can save time, hassle, and money.
Visa requirements by country
Every country has its own rules and regulations; many require a visa, even for short stays. Some have a more complicated application process than others, and governments are known to amend their terms on a regular basis. Because of this, travelers can often find the visa application process overwhelming. Besides, it’s time-consuming and sometimes the individual visa websites are tricky to navigate. Even a seasoned travel blogger can end up scratching their head.
This is exactly why iVisa stepped in and streamlined the process. In fact, we were founded with the intention of saving our fellow travelers from the hassle of multiple trips to embassies. Our co-founders didn’t have the time to go back and forth between the Indian embassy before their backpacking trip, nor do they want anyone else to.
All you need to do is punch your nationality and destination into the iVisa Online Visa Checker, and you’ll find your answer. You can check the visa requirements by country and find the latest conditions. It’s user-friendly, transparent, and (human) customer service agents are available 24/7. Quotes even include a letter of invitation if required for the visa.
If a visa is required, iVisa will advise the next steps in acquiring the visa. We also advise the cost before you proceed. Our service may be used by independent travelers and travel agents alike.
Before heading to an international destination, you will need to familiarize yourself with the health requirements of that country. Under the current circumstances, many governments have implemented new regulations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This means that checking whether a country (or airline) requires a Health Declaration is now one of the top travel essentials.
If a Health Declaration is mandatory, this should be completed prior to travel. Queues at the airport are often lengthy and eat into valuable vacation time. Plus, it’s easier to make a mistake under pressure. Travelers may also need to take vaccinations and in some places, proof of these is needed. For example, in countries where Yellow Fever is endemic, a vaccination certificate is expected.
You can check the current travel advice on reputable sites such as Travel Health Pro and CDC. After this, you can easily complete a Health Declaration Form on iVisa. Our team will take care of processing your request and simplifying the process
Travel safety recommendations
This isn’t always necessary. However, one thing that should be on any travel checklist is the consideration of registering with an embassy. It’s completely voluntary but adds an extra level of security to your trip, particularly if your destination is subject to political turbulence or natural disasters.
Don’t worry, there’s no need to visit an embassy to do this. You can simply register your details using the iVisa Embassy Registration service (a travel agent can do this on behalf of a traveler). It takes less than 10 minutes and a quote is advised before you complete the registration process. The fee of this service depends on your origin country, destination, and how many travelers you wish to register.
Once registered, iVisa will notify the relevant embassy. You will then receive any important updates about events and security changes in the country you intend to visit. Additionally, you will receive instructions on how to proceed in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, it makes it easier for governments to provide support if they are aware of which of their citizens are in a specific country.
There are some countries where this will feel more necessary. But, as events can happen without warning - we urge all travelers to consider the benefits of registering with their embassy. Even if you’re traveling to somewhere deemed as safe. As the pandemic has shown, travel rules and regulations can take a drastic turn of events.
Purchase travel insurance
We hope nobody needs reminding about the importance of taking out a travel insurance policy, but sometimes - they do. This is a travel essential for all tourists. In fact, if you book an organized tour - the CEO has the right to turn away travelers who turn up without insurance.
Travel insurance protects against a number of unforeseen events, including:
- Travel disruption or cancellation
- Airline closure
- Emergency medical and dental care
- Theft, damage, or loss of luggage and personal belongings
- Emergency rescue
You should check which travel insurance providers will cover you for COVID-19. At the same time, look closely at the fine print because not all policies automatically include cover for valuables. So if you’re planning on documenting your trip on your travel blog, ensure your camera gear is protected. Additionally, some activities require that a surplus is added to the cover, such as winter sports or driving a motorbike.
For the most comprehensive coverage, book your travel insurance at the same time you book your trip. This means that you are covered for cancellation in the duration leading up to departure.
Keep travel documents safe
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary travel documents we’ve detailed above, now what? We recommend keeping all documents together in a travel organizer. Print hard copies of all items listed above as well as any hotel and transport bookings. It is best to store them in a secure part of carry-on luggage that is accessible in a hurry.
For peace of mind, make photocopies too. Keep a set inside your daypack and keep one in your main luggage/accommodation. If you’re traveling with others, you can keep a set of each other's documents as well. And finally, keep photos or PDFs of all documents stored on your smartphone.
Making travel easy
And that concludes the ultimate travel checklist for any type of holiday or weekend getaway. You can take care of most of the points on this list in one place, at iVisa. Our visa application, health declaration, passport photos, and embassy registration services take mere moments to use and take the stress out of the process.
“We love to travel, but we can't afford to waste time.” This is the motto of iVisa, after all!
If you are a travel agent or tour operator, or run a travel blog, you may benefit from using iVisa affiliates’ resources.