Savvy Travel & Family Time

The Unfun Paperwork That Needs to Get Organized Before Your Big International Vacation

Planning for a vacation can be a lot of fun! You get to decide what hotel you’re going to stay in and what activities you’re going to plan. Even deciding what to wear can be a lot of fun! Unfortunately, not everything about vacation planning is so enjoyable.

There are a lot of things you need to do before your vacation to ensure everything goes smoothly. That includes a lot of paperwork, whether online or printed from your computer.

Here are a few of the most important paperwork chores you need to do before you leave, even if they aren’t very much fun.

Get a Visa, If You Need One

Visas are easy to overlook when you’re traveling, but if you need one and you don’t have it, you may be turned away when you arrive at your destination. Make sure you do the research ahead of time to determine if a visa is something you need.

For example, if you’re traveling to India, you’ll need to apply for an Indian visa. The process can be surprisingly complex when visiting this country and some others, so make sure you look into getting a visa early. Fortunately, many countries allow you to apply online, which can streamline the process. Just make sure you bring proof of your visa with you when you go on vacation!

Make Sure Your Passport Is Up-To-Date

If you’re traveling internationally, you’re going to need a passport. In every case, you’ll also need an up-to-date passport to apply for a visa.

Getting a passport isn’t difficult, as long as you follow the recommended steps. Renewing a passport includes looking to see when your passport expires. If it will expire soon, or if it has already expired, it needs to be renewed. Fortunately, it can easily be renewed online if it has only recently expired.

As is the case with getting a visa, you should get or renew your passport ASAP. Some countries may require you to have a valid passport for a few months before you will be allowed in the country.

Travel Insurance

There are two different types of travel insurance. They include:

  • Cancellation Protection: This type of insurance allows you to cancel your trip without penalties. It can cover lost bags and ensure you are reimbursed or refunded if you have to cancel your trip, or if you miss a connection. With the right policy, you can cancel your trip for any reason and still be reimbursed.
  • Comprehensive Protection: This type of insurance usually includes cancellation protection, but it also includes protection in case of medical or dental emergencies. It also covers disaster evacuations, and it can even help with the costs associated with an accidental death.

Think over whether or not you need travel insurance carefully. You may not need it for a short impromptu trip, but it may be a good idea for a longer trip, or one that you plan months in advance.

Medical Needs and Medications

Fortunately, traveling with medication isn’t quite as complicated as it sounds. Most medications can be packed in a carry-on bag in any quantity, even liquids. However, traveling with your medication means more than just planning for the airport.

If you have a serious medical condition or require certain medications, you should carry a piece of paper with you at all times that contains directions for care. That way, if you experience an emergency at the pool or you need to go to the ER, you have a list of your medications and medical care requirements handy.

Make Copies of Important Documents

Traveling to another country is a lot of fun, but it can be scary too. You never know what might happen, which is why it’s a good idea to be prepared by making copies of important documents.

That includes making multiple copies of your passport and any travel visas. Place one copy in your luggage and give another copy to a trusted friend or family member, either back home or someone you’re traveling with. That way, if you lose your passport or visa, you can still prove who you are and that you’re in the country legally.

Going on an international vacation can be a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean it all is. There are some things you have to do to protect yourself before you leave that aren’t so fun, but they will ensure you’re safe and healthy, no matter where in the world you travel.


  • Christina Gould

    I used to have to arrange all this stuff for my boss when he traveled, and this was before the days of Internet. It’s a good thing we had travel agents back then who knew the ropes. Thanks for posting!

  • Sandy Klocinski

    My daughter and I have travelled to the Riviera Maya for the last two years. I always have trouble keeping track of the passport, customs papers, boarding passes etc.

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