There is always so much to arrange and pack before you go on vacation. Keep reading to see the vacation checklist that guarantees stress-free travel for all.

We all know the feeling of counting down the days to a holiday. Studies show that vacations are a boon to your physical health, mental well-being, and relationships. But as we spend so much time looking forward to our vacations we often forget just how hectic a vacation checklist can get.

Between visa applications, vaccinations, and figuring out what to pack, it can be difficult keeping everything straight and all too easy to miss a crucial step.

Not to worry.

Here is the ultimate vacation checklist that’ll guarantee stress-free travel for all.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance can mean the difference between an inconvenience and a very, very expensive inconvenience. For just a few dollars a day you can be covered for missed flights, stolen property, and unexpected sickness or injury.

Travel Documents

Vacation ChecklistThis includes your passport and any applicable visas and entry condition paperwork.

As a rule of thumb, your passport should be valid for at least six months after your final day of travel when vacationing internationally. It’s also important you have any necessary travel visas completed and up to date.

Keep physical and digital copies of all travel documents and associated paperwork in case anything is lost. A trusted family member or friend should also have access to these copies as well as your itinerary and contact numbers in case of emergency.

Medication

If you’re traveling with prescription medication, it’s a good idea to carry a letter from your prescribing doctor. Also, make sure all medication is in its original packaging with the prescription sticker clearly visible.

Also note that some countries don’t allow certain medications within their borders at all, even if they’re available over-the-counter at home.

The regulations for codeine, pseudoephedrine, morphine or dexamphetamine, in particular, vary from region to region. If in doubt, check with your embassy or a licensed travel doctor before you depart.

Vaccinations

Required vaccinations should be high up on your vacation checklist. They will depend on your destination as different countries carry different risk factors. Some countries also require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry so it’s important you research your destination’s vaccination requirements.

Some vaccines must be administered six to eight weeks prior to travel, so making an appointment with a travel health professional well in advance of your travel date is essential.

Banking and Money

Many banks have measures in place that will treat international transactions on your account as fraudulent. Notifying your banks and credit card companies of your travel dates in advance will save on confusion and ensure you don’t get cut off from your funds.

It’s also a good idea to ask about ATM and international transaction fees so you can budget accordingly.

While bank cards and credit cards are now fairly wide-spread, there are some areas where cash will be needed. Keeping some change in the local currency on you at all times will save you getting stranded.

Connectivity

A smartphone is a traveler’s best friend. It gives you access to maps, translation services, and, of course, a method of communication.

Buying an international phone plan ahead of time will ensure you’re switched on the moment you land. Most phone companies also offer roaming services, which can be the best solution if you need to keep your current phone number.

If you do choose to go with an international phone plan with a new SIM card, just make sure your phone is unlocked. Some carriers will “lock” the phones to one country.

Do Your Research

Reading up on your destination is essential for ensuring your trip remains safe and stress-free. Currency, tipping culture, and appropriate clothing are all elements you should have a sturdy knowledge of before you land.

It’s also a good idea to read up on the regions cultural and legal customs. Did you know that bringing chewing gum into Singapore is against the law? How about wearing camouflage in the Caribbean?

When you’re visiting a country, you’re also immersing yourself in their culture, so brushing up on the dos and don’ts will not only keep you from offending anyone, it could also keep you out of jail.

Plan Your First Day/Night in Advance

Even if you like to travel by the seat of your pants, make sure you have accommodation booked and ready to receive you the moment reach your destination. This will save you the hassle of organizing your stay in the throes of jetlag and will keep you from being an easy target for hustlers at the airport.

It’s also a good idea to have secure transport from the airport booked in advance. Many cities are rife with unlicensed taxi services that rely on travelers not knowing the difference when they touch down.

Pack the Essentials

Packing: the cornerstone of any vacation checklist.

Your checked luggage requirements will vary depending on your destination but there are a few universal pieces you should include for any trip.

Checked Luggage Essentials

  • Lightweight clothing that can be layered
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Windbreaker or rain jacket
  • Sunglasses and case
  • Hat or visor
  • Scarf or bandana
  • Electric converters and adapters

Your carry-on bag is another animal entirely and is generally used to pack anything you may want on the plane with you or anything you don’t feel comfortable checking.

Carry-on Essentials

  • A change of clothes (in case your luggage is lost)
  • Sweater and scarf for the cold plane
  • Laptop, iPad, or E-reader and charger(s)
  • Headphones (noise-canceling headphones are a boon during flight travel)
  • Electronics you want to keep close at hand (GoPro, video camera, etc)
  • Travel pillow
  • Pen
  • Travel documents including passport and visa(s)
  • Medications with documentation
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Reservations and itineraries
  • Transportation tickets
  • Emergency contacts
  • Guidebooks and maps

Complete Your Vacation Checklist for a Stress-Free Holiday

Planning a vacation isn’t just about brainstorming what to pack, it’s also about ensuring your health, safety, and financial necessities are covered. Checking off each point above will go a long way to ensuring your vacation is a smooth and enjoyable one for everyone involved. A stress-free vacation makes for the best experience and the best memories.

Looking to put safety above all else? Here are the top 5 safest places to travel for your next luxury vacation