Documents Packing List Items & Tips

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Big brother is not perfect yet, so we constantly have to prove who we are with documents. Forgetting some of these items can end your holiday before it even begins.

"Documents create a paper reality we call proof." - Mason Cooley

Even if you have nothing else, some identification and finances will get you far on your travels.

Books and travel are both powerful ways to learn, combine them to enhance your travel and journey through life.

Packing Items

Item Type


Government document that certifies your identity and citizenship. Essential for any travel outside your country and can be used for identify checks in your own country.

Driver's License

Make sure you have the right type of license for what you will be driving to make sure you are covered by insurance. You may need an international license, in addition to your home licence to legally drive. Often usable in an ID check. Be careful using it as a safety deposit.

International Driver's License

Some countries will let you use your domestic license in another country without further testing or applications if you arrange an international driver's permit.

Birth Certificate

Generally not required, but in some cases you may need a copy or a certified version of a birth certificate.

Passport Visa

Visas work differently depending on the country. In some cases it can be quite difficult, may cost money, have strict requirements and take a long time. Always check the latest information regarding any visa you might need and apply for them as soon as possibly to reduce the chance of something going wrong or being changed.

Document Copy

Sometimes you don't need the original version of a document and it can be safer to use a copy. The copy can also be useful if the original document is lost, or you need to supply a copy. It can be good to have more than one copy and keep them in separate places to reduce the risk of losing them at the same time.

Vaccination History

Sometimes you may require proof you have the required vaccinations. It can also be useful to check what vaccinations you have received and if you need revaccination.

Medication Prescription

Always check what requirements are needed to bring any drugs into places you visit. Be careful as some places may differ from your home and require a prescription for medication, or be illegal altogether. You may not be able to get prescriptions filled on your travels, so it is a good idea to bring enough supply for the entire length of your travels.

Doctor's Certificate

People with special conditions may need a certificate as proof, eg, it can be useful if you have a pacemaker to show airport screening.

Accommodation Confirmation

Sometimes required to get into your accommodation and also useful to prove you have a place to stay if challenged by immigration or applying for a visa. Make sure you have the required information on the confirmation and it is a good idea to have directions and a plan on how to get there.

Car Rental Confirmation

A car can give you plenty of flexibility when you travel. Make sure you know how to get to the pickup point and what is involved in dropping off the car. It may take longer than you expect and hard to find if the location is different to where you started.

Cruise Confirmation

Useful to prove your booking and what details you have paid for. Can be used at immigration to prove transport.

Flight Confirmation

Sometimes you will need to prove ongoing flights at the airport before you board the plan, or in immigration when entering a country, so have copies of all your flights.

Bus Confirmation

Take proof of your purchase and can also be used to prove intent to travel if asked at the airport.

Train Confirmation

Generally you want to book early to ensure you can get a spot and reserve a seat if possible or desired. Sometimes at the airport they will want proof of your travels.

Travel Insurance Information

You may want to keep a more detailed copy of your insurance information and contact information on your person in case of an emergency. Don't travel without travel insurance, or you may end up at the mercy of others. Thoroughly read your policy to make sure you are covered for what you need and know what you can claim.

Credit Card Contact Information

If you lose or have an issue with your card, it can be good to have the contact information available to sort it out quickly.


People find a lot of information online these days, but some prefer a book detailing places to go and things to see and do. If you can't find in a physical book, there are digital guide books available.

Bird Identification Book

Useful if you are fitting some birdwatching into your trip.


You can get pretty far with online maps and navigation devices. Something though you want a physical map or a local map that shows details you cannot otherwise get hold of.


It can be useful to research and plan directions and note them down, especially if you are going to be tight on time.

Car Registration

Make sure you have the proper registration required and it has not expired.

Airport Lounge ID

An Airport lounge can be a great place to relax, be pampered, eat some food, or clean up and have a shower. But it isn't much use being a member if you can't get in. Some credit cards even have free airport lounge membership, so check out if you have any entitlements.

Frequent Flier ID

Often you can sort your frequent flier information out before travelling, but if you need to book more options, or want to purchase upgrades have these details with you.

Nightclub ID

If you have any memberships to establishments where you can get into the venue or entry to a VIP area.

Accommodation ID

Do you have a card or some form of ID to get into your accommodation?

Vehicle Assistance ID

Take contact details and ID, so you can get in contact if you have some trouble and need assistance with your car, boat etc.

Health Club ID

If you are travelling and planning on using your health club membership. Check out what will be available where you are travelling.

Business Cards

Even if you aren't on a business trip, you may still want to hand out your information.

Phrase Book

Learn some local language can allow communication and promote good will for making an effort.


Can be useful to learn other languages or reference words hear or read and don't understand.


A ticket can provide you proof of entry or a purchase and can often be gained in advance.

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