Documents And Essentials You Do Not Want To Forget When Traveling

February 11, 2021

You have been planning to get away for months. You have chosen a destination, booked your airline tickets, reserved a hotel room, and decided on an itinerary. You pack your bags, secure your home, and head to the airport. You try to get through security, check your wallet, purse, or carry-on, only to realize you have left some essential documents behind. Realizing that you will not get very far without them, you have no choice but to turn around. 

Believe it or not, lots of travelers have found themselves in this predicament. They were meticulous in planning every detail of the trip, but overlooked a few essentials. While leaving your favorite bathing suit or shampoo home is no big deal, forgetting these documents during your travel can stop your trip in its tracks. 

Driver’s License Or State ID

Your driver’s license or state ID is the most basic form of identification. Whether you are traveling by car, bus, train, or plane, you will often need to show this to verify your identity. Without a driver’s license or id, you will also have a hard time renting a car, checking into your hotel, or making purchases with a credit card. Ensure that your license is up-to-date and in your wallet before leaving home. 


If you plan on traveling internationally, you will need your passport. Most countries will not allow entry without one. If this is your first time traveling outside of the country, chances are you do not have a passport. As such, you will want to apply for one in advance. Acquiring a passport does take several weeks, so you do not want to wait until the last minute. 


Some countries require tourists to have visas. This requirement depends on your citizenship and destination. Therefore, you will want to do research and complete the necessary paperwork to retrieve your travel visa before your trip. 

Health Insurance, Prescriptions, And Vaccination Card

No one plans to get sick or injured while traveling, but anything could happen. When you are not feeling well, you want to ensure you can get quality medical treatment no matter where you are. With adequate health insurance, you can receive affordable services from medical professionals in your network without an issue. 

For travelers with existing health conditions that require medication, ensure that you have had your prescriptions filled in advance. If you are traveling internationally, you may also be required to have a letter from your doctor listing your medications and explanations for use. 

Finally, vaccination cards are necessary for international travelers. This document provides proof that you are protected against common viral diseases. 

Life Insurance

While you do not need to bring your life insurance policy with you on vacation, you do want to ensure you have it. Again, the hope is that you have a safe trip, but you never know what could go wrong. If, for some reason, you pass away while traveling, you want to know that your family is protected. Before your vacation, do some research to learn things like, “Is life insurance taxable?”, “Which type of policy is best for me?” and “How much life insurance do I need?”

Credit Cards And Cash

Imagine getting to your travel destination to discover that you do not have any money? While it might seem pretty obvious to bring credit cards and cash, there have been instances when tourists forgot. Credit cards are the most convenient means of paying for things. However, everyone should travel with a few bucks just in case.

There is always so much to remember when you are planning to travel. While overlooking certain items might not be a big deal, others will ruin your trip before it starts. Whether you are traveling to California or Columbia, add these documents and essentials to your checklist. If you are missing any of these items, ensure that you follow the process to acquire them well in advance so they will arrive in time for your trip. Lastly, make copies of each of these documents just in case they get lost or stolen.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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