Jetting off on an overseas trip is both exciting and possibly also a little stressful when you think about all the preparation. From planning activities for your international adventure to packing your bag, there’s a lot to think about. Let us save you the trouble of researching an international travel checklist and give you ten tips to help you prepare for your overseas trip.

1. Verify travel documents and entry requirements

Before you start booking flights or planning activities, the most vital thing to check is your passport. Without it, there’s no chance of leaving Australia! Check that your passport is current and is at least 6 months away from expiring (including the time you plan to be travelling for)1. Some countries have conditions where they do not allow travellers to enter if their passport is too close to expiring – you don’t want to make it all the way to your destination only to be turned away1. It’s also a good idea to check whether there are any other entry requirements for your intended destination. For example, you may need to purchase a travel visa or prove you’ve had certain vaccinations1. The entry requirements change depending on the country, so it always pays to check before you depart Australia.

2. Purchase travel insurance

If you’re a seasoned traveller, you’ll know that travel insurance is very important when it comes to overseas travel. You never know what could happen on your trip – flights may be delayed or cancelled, your luggage may get lost, you may experience a medical emergency, or you could find yourself in a dangerous situation calling for evacuation1. This could all sound quite scary, but keep in mind these are worst case scenarios that may not happen, so being prepared just in case can help put your mind at ease1. Consider looking into CGU Travel Insurance* for your next international trip.

3. Research your destination

Now for the exciting part of preparing for your overseas trip – researching your destination! Learn as much as possible about where you plan to travel to, so you can ensure you’re visiting all the best places and seeing everything you planned to see1. You may even like to consider consulting online travel blogs or locals’ guides – they could have some secret places to share that tourists don’t know about. It’s also a good idea to familiarise yourself with local laws, medical systems and emergency phone numbers to keep yourself prepared and safe1.

4. What to pack in your carry-on luggage

Unlike domestic travel, it almost seems like a rite of passage to endure a long-haul flight for the sake of venturing to a country halfway across the world – so it pays to ensure you’ve prepared your carry-on luggage accordingly. Make sure you carry all important documentation on board your flight, such as your passport and travel visa (if applicable)1. It’s also a good idea to pack any essential medications, valuable electronics, and foreign currency in your carry-on luggage1. Unfortunately, airlines can be unpredictable, so you want to ensure you’re as prepared as possible if the worst case scenario occurs and your luggage doesn’t arrive1. That’s why it’s also worth packing a spare change of clothes, a travel toothbrush and any other small items (that airlines permit) that could make your long flight more comfortable1.

5. Plan mobile and internet access

As you prepare for your overseas trip, start researching whether it’s more worth your while to purchase a temporary international sim card for your phone or pay for global roaming. Prices can fluctuate for global roaming depending on your mobile provider, so if you feel this option isn’t for you, make sure you’ve done extensive research on where you can purchase a sim card once you land1. When booking your accommodation, you may also like to consider staying somewhere that offers free internet access, as data options for global roaming and international sim cards can be limited1. Regardless of what you choose, make sure you have some way to keep in contact with friends and family back home.

6. Determine your essential luggage items

Packing your main luggage is a little different to your carry-on as you have a bit more room to wiggle with weight and consider which items are essential2. Don’t forget, you’ll likely want to purchase overseas souvenirs, so it’s always better to under-pack than over-pack2. After all, you can always buy things like clothes and some toiletries at your destination. If you’re having a hard time deciding, you could always research shopping outlets in your intended destination.

7. Preparing your spending money

Before you jet off, start researching travel cards you can pre-load with the foreign currency of your intended destination1. One option you may like to consider is a Cash Passport Platinum Mastercard^, which allows you to choose from 11 currencies to pre-load. In addition to a travel card, purchasing foreign cash is also a good idea so you have a few options to choose from and use1.

8. Let your bank know

If you do plan to take and use your Australian debit or credit card overseas, make sure you call your bank to let them know when, where and how long you plan to be away for2. You may even be able to inform your bank via internet banking or mobile app functions. This ensures that if foreign transactions start appearing on your account, your bank won’t cut your card off thinking these are fraudulent transactions2. A quick phone call could save you the awkwardness of having your card declined as you try to buy souvenirs!

9. Arrive at the airport early

So, you’ve gone through every other step and now you’re finally gearing up for your trip! Now is the time to start making plans for how you will get to the airport, as well as how you will get home when you return from your overseas trip2. Make sure you arrange to arrive at the airport early enough that you can take your time checking in and aren’t rushing to catch your flight2. Running late only makes the experience more stressful and that’s not what you want as you’re embarking on your international adventure!

10. Prepare your home

Lastly, don’t get too excited that you completely forget about making sure your home is prepared for your departure. Consider hiding your valuables out of sight (or even in a safe), turning off appliances to save electricity, and turning off water taps to avoid any possible leaks while you’re away1. Don’t forget to do a final check of your fridge and throw out any food that could go off while you’re away1. Finally, you may like to let a neighbour know you’ll be away for some time so they can keep an eye on your house1. As you leave for your flight, ensure all windows are securely shut and all doors are locked1. Now you can enjoy your adventure!


*CGU Travel Insurance is issued by Zurich Australian Insurance Limited (ABN 13 000 296 640, AFSL 232507) (ZAIL). Cover-More Insurance Services Pty Ltd (ABN 95 003 114 145, AFSL 241713) acts under a binder authority from ZAIL. Cover-More will administer the policies and arrange for the issue of insurance on behalf of ZAIL. Cover-More has authorised Insurance Australia Limited (ABN 11 000 016 722; AFSL 227681) trading as CGU Insurance to distribute the product. Queensland Country Bank Limited ABN 77 087 651 027 AFSL 244 533 distributes the product under a contract with CGU. 

^Mastercard Prepaid Management Services Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 47 145 452 044, AFSL 386 837) arranges for the issue of the Cash Passport™ Platinum Mastercard® (“Cash Passport”) in conjunction with the issuer, EML Payment Solutions Limited (“EML”) (ABN 30 131 436 532, AFSL 404131).  Mastercard and the circles design are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated. 

General Advice Warning: This information is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article, you should consider the appropriateness of the information provided. In particular, you should seek independent financial advice.


1Rachel Thompson, 2023, The only checklist you need before flying overseas, Travel Insider – Qantas,

2Raychelle Heath, 2023, 8 tips for first-time international travellers, Bank Rate,