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Figuring out what to pack for your overseas trip can be daunting – especially if you don’t realise you’ve forgotten something until after you’ve left.

That’s why we’ve compiled an international travel checklist with everything you may need!

Things to do before traveling overseas

  • Research your destination. If you’re wondering what to wear when travelling abroad, research your destination to know what to expect from the weather, and keep in mind certain destinations might have cultural considerations.
  • Check Smartraveller. It’s important to stay aware of any travel alerts, weather warnings and any travel requirements your destination might have.
  • Consider any medical needs. Depending on your destination, you should check your vaccinations are up-to-date and if there are any laws or regulations about bringing in any necessary medications if you have any pre-existing conditions.
  • Manage your travel documents. Check your passport is up-to-date, apply for any visas and ensure you have your emergency contacts’ details.

The must-haves

These are your travel documents and other items that may be essential to your travel packing list:

  • Passport
  • Visa (if needed)
  • Plane tickets
  • Transport tickets (airport shuttle, bus, train, ferry, etc.)
  • Cash in the local currency
  • Credit/debit cards
  • Valid license or ID
  • Your travel insurance policy
  • Photocopies of all your identification and travel documents in case they are lost or stolen

Your carry-on bag travel essentials

Smart packing can help a long flight pass by more comfortably. For your carry-on bag, consider including your:

  • Your wallet, passport and travel documents
  • Phone and charger, a power bank and an adapter
  • Travel pillow, ear plugs and eye mask
  • Headphones
  • Your laptop
  • Essential medications
  • A change of clothes
  • Hand sanitiser
  • An empty water bottle

Your checked luggage

This will be the bulk of the belongings you’re taking with you. Consider using packing cubes which can help save space and organise your belongings.


Appropriate clothing means different things to different cultures. Pack clothing items that work for multiple outfits – and choose items you can layer. Rolling your clothes when packing can help with wrinkles and save space too.

  • T-shirts and blouses
  • Pants, shorts or skirts
  • Swimsuit
  • Waterproof jacket
  • A warm jumper or jacket
  • Pyjamas
  • Underwear and socks


Comfortable, sturdy pairs of shoes are crucial for sightseeing, and a pair of heels or dress shoes can be handy for evening or more upmarket events.

  • Walking shoes
  • Thongs or flip-flops
  • Formal shoes
  • Plastic bags (to keep your dirty shoes in)


Some basic toiletries, such as shampoo and conditioner, may be bought after arriving at your destination, so try to pack only the essentials.

  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/floss
  • Deodorant
  • Lip balm
  • Nail clippers
  • Sanitary products

First aid kit

While everyone’s packing list for overseas travel will look slightly different, having some basic first-aid essentials on your trip in case of minor injuries or illnesses can be handy.

  • Insect repellent
  • Tweezers
  • Band-Aids
  • Anti-bacterial cream
  • Painkillers

Man packing for an overseas trip

What not to bring when travelling internationally

While it’s important to know what to pack, it’s also important to understand what not to pack. Some things to avoid might include:

  • Too many electronics. Not only does this take up unnecessary space, but it also puts you at greater risk of theft. Stick to your phone and maybe a laptop, plus a Kindle, e-reader or tablet if you enjoy reading on holiday.
  • Jewellery or valuables. These items can be a target for thieves and if they’re of sentimental value, it may be upsetting if they’re stolen or lost.
  • Unnecessary toiletries. Most of the time, you can purchase essential items (e.g. soap, shampoo, conditioner) at your destination or they may be provided at your hotel.
  • Food or drink. Countries might have rules about what food can be brought in, and if it spills in your bag, it could create a mess.
  • Forbidden items. Some countries might have rules around what is allowed in. For example, e-cigarettes are prohibited in Thailand. Check the list of prohibited items for your destination before packing.

Travel tips for packing your suitcase

Don’t overpack! Overpacking will limit the space you have to bring back souvenirs, and the extra weight will only make your trip between your accommodations more difficult.

Many travellers overestimate the number of things they need to travel overseas – particularly with clothing. Here are a few packing tips for things to consider and what clothing you should bring:

  • Versatile basics you can layer to stay warm and create different looks
  • Clothes that don’t wrinkle easily
  • Wet weather gear – just in case
  • Consider how long you’ll be travelling and in what season
  • Laundering your clothes regularly can reduce your packing list

Can travel insurance cover my belongings on my trip?

A comprehensive travel insurance policy may cover the replacement costs of your luggage and personal effects if they are lost, damaged or stolen while travelling. Not only could some of your valuables and electronics be covered, but also credit cards and cash and some fees for replacing travel documents. So, when ticking off your packing checklist, travel insurance should be at the top of the list.

Your policy will likely have certain exclusions, limits and sub-limits, so be sure to read your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before purchasing to be sure you have the level of cover you want.

Adrian Taylor, General Manager

Top travel insurance tips on protecting your belongings overseas from our travel expert, Adrian Taylor

  • Always keep on eye on your belongings. If you leave any possessions in a public space and they’re stolen, any theft claims may not be met.
  • Keep copies of your travel documents. It can be useful to have a copy in a separate bag to the originals, and leave an additional copy with someone back at home, just in case.
  • If you’re taking a family holiday, ensure your benefits limits – particularly for electronics and jewellery – are high enough to cover the whole family. You may be able to take out extra cover to increase your limits, if needed.

Have you considered travel insurance?

One of the most important things on your packing list for overseas travel is a travel insurance policy.

If you haven’t already purchased international travel insurance, now is a great time to consider how it can protect you against the unexpected. Use our online travel insurance comparison service to compare premiums, inclusions, exclusions and more! Get free quotes from insurers in Australia!

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