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Use This Template to Create a COVID International Travel Checklist
International travel has always had its challenges, but in the era of COVID, planning an overseas trip can seem overwhelming. With countries often changing their entry requirements, keeping up with the latest information can be difficult. Travel restrictions are just the beginning, as vaccination requirements, testing requirements, and mask mandates must be considered during trip planning. This is why having a checklist can help you organize your travel plans.
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International Travel Checklist During COVID
Having an international travel checklist during COVID feels like a necessity now more than ever. While not impossible, traveling to another country during COVID-19 is not without its challenges. Different countries have different rules regarding travel restrictions and requirements. Let’s break down those two types of rules first:
- Travel restrictions are rules that determine who is allowed to enter a country. For example, some countries may only allow visitors to enter for essential travel or may restrict those coming from certain regions.
- Travel requirements include the documentation that is required to enter a country. For example, your destination country may require a passport or visa, completed health forms and/or proof of travel health insurance, proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 test results, quarantining upon arrival, compliance of mask and social distancing guidelines, or other documentation to enter the country. Travelers returning to their home country often face fewer travel requirements, but they may still need to provide some documentation (like a proof of a negative COVID test).
Technology can help keep you organized regarding these restrictions and requirements. Interactive maps that present current information regarding entry requirements by country and region are a huge asset.
So too are checklist apps that help us stay on top of the new essentials that COVID has deemed necessary (i.e., masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, etc.), as well as the usual items needed for international travel. This page will help you formulate a travel checklist unique to your travel needs to ensure you don’t forget anything on your international trip.
Requirements to Travel Abroad During COVID
Worrying about travel restrictions and the constantly changing landscape of entry requirements is completely understandable when planning a trip during a pandemic. While travelers typically need to present a valid passport and sometimes a visa to enter another country, there may also be essential travel documents COVID-19 has made necessary for entry.
New requirements like proof of an approved COVID vaccine required for international travel is now a necessity for many travelers who want to travel abroad. Below are just a few of the requirements to travel abroad during COVID. Most countries currently require some combination of these:
- Proof of vaccination (not all vaccines are considered acceptable by all countries)
- Documentation of a negative COVID test taken within a specified timeframe (not all test types are considered acceptable by all countries)
- Completed health forms (some countries require health forms to be submitted via the country’s tourism website and/or health app—often within a specified timeframe)
- Travel health insurance (some countries require tourists to purchase travel health insurance that meets certain requirements; others may require you to purchase their own health insurance for visiting tourists)
- Quarantine requirements
- Mask and social distancing requirements
Some countries may also require you to present a pass prior to entering certain public spaces. For example, foreign visitors to France must apply for and obtain a Pass Sanitaire*. This document is required for entry into many public spaces in France, such as restaurants and museums. Currently, the Pass Sanitaire is required through July 31, 2022, but many are already suspecting that this deadline will be extended.
*Information accurate as of publishing date (01/25/2022).
How to Determine International Travel Restrictions & Requirements
Many countries, including the U.S., continue to adjust their travel restriction policies in response to increased risk regarding COVID-19. That’s why it’s essential to check your intended destination’s international travel restrictions and documents required for air travel during COVID before your trip and repeatedly leading up to your international departure.
Use this interactive Travel Restrictions Map from WorldTrips and our partners at Sherpa to easily access the information you need to be a prepared traveler. Simply select the country that issued your passport, your departure country, your destination country, and whether you are vaccinated against COVID-19. Then view current travel restrictions, testing requirements, quarantine mandates, and more for your destination.
Be sure to click “See details” beside each type of restriction to get the full picture. Scroll down in the box to see additional details regarding visas, required documents, and any additional information.
United States Travel Restrictions
Whether you are a foreign visitor to the United States or a returning citizen, you will need to be aware of the current United States travel restrictions and document requirements. Like other countries, the U.S. periodically adjusts its international travel restrictions based on COVID activity throughout the world and other potential risks.
Current U.S. international travel restrictions include, as of November 8th, 2021, that all foreign national air travelers (non-immigrants and non-citizens) must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the U.S. Exceptions are rare and may only apply to children under 18, medically exempt travelers, and emergency travelers who do not have timely access to a vaccine.
And as of December 6th, 2021, all inbound international air travelers to the U.S. who are two years or older must provide their airline with proof of a negative viral antigen or NAAT test taken within one day of their departure to the United States—regardless of vaccination status or citizenship.
Travelers who recently recovered from COVID-19 may instead provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. According to the CDC, required documentation is a “positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country AND a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel.”
President Joe Biden also extended the federal mask mandate through March 18th, 2022. This means all travelers are still required to wear masks in airports, on planes, and on other modes of public transportation.
Current U.S. travel restrictions can change quite quickly, and it is important to stay up to date. That's why it is advisable to keep a close eye on the Travel Restrictions Map webpage. This interactive map allows travelers to stay on track with the constantly changing U.S. travel restrictions as well as those for countries around the world.
Also be sure to stay on top of updates via the U.S. Department of State.
International Travel Packing List
A travel checklist pdf is an efficient way to keep track of items that you need to pack. A travel packing checklist is also a great way to keep an up-to-date list of items that still need to be purchased.
Below is a summary international travel packing list that may prove helpful when preparing for your next overseas trip. Feel free to use it as a travel packing list template when preparing for your trip.
- All required international travel documents with backup copies (see specific items below)
- N95 or KN95 mask (bring enough to change your mask frequently)
- Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
- Travel Restrictions Map bookmarked on your phone, tablet, or laptop
- Outlet converters
- Chargers for all devices
- Portable Wi-Fi hotspot
- All medication (prescription and over the counter)
- Translation app
- Tour books and guides
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Jackets or sweaters that can be worn day or night
- At least one hat
- Glasses and/or contact lenses (with spares)
- Backpack or another small bag suitable for day trips
- Clothes that perform double duty
- Socks and undergarments
- At least one "dressy" outfit suitable for dinner or other evening entertainment
There are numerous packing lists and checklists available online. We recommend creating a template that can be used for multiple trips. A customizable checklist based on destination type, or season of travel, can help make packing a breeze no matter where you are headed.
International Travel Documents Checklist
Creating an international travel documents checklist is an effective way to keep track of all the paperwork that you will need for your trip. (We also advise keeping a copy of all documents, whether digitally, in a separate location, or both.)
If you are asking yourself, "What documents do I need to travel?" you can see specifics for your destination here and use this information to modify your checklist.
In the meantime, here is a list of travel documents that are commonly required for international travel:
- Passport – Some countries require passports to be valid for several months past your travel date. Check your destination’s embassy or consulate website for more information.
- Visa – Some countries require you to apply for a visa to enter the country as well.
- Vaccine Card – A vaccine card may be required to enter a country and to visit places like restaurants, museums, and event spaces within the country.
- Proof of a Negative COVID-19 Test – Verify which COVID-19 tests are permitted if required. Also note the specified time frame in which you must take the test prior to departure.
- Proof of Travel Medical Insurance – Some countries require tourists to purchase travel health insurance that meets certain requirements. (Your insurance policy may provide you with a visa letter that highlights specific parts of your coverage to use as proof of coverage.) Other countries, like Aruba, require you to purchase their own tourist health insurance.
- Health Pass – Some countries require you to fill out an online health pass in addition to providing other travel documents. This may be required to enter the country or it may be required to enter certain public spaces, like museums.
- International Driver's License – If you plan to rent a car, make sure you are familiar with your destination’s driving rules and that you have the proper license.
This list is by no means exhaustive but is a starting point for creating your checklist. Be sure to do your research, as requirements may differ based on destination.
Travel Checklist App
A travel checklist app can take a lot of the guesswork out of packing for an international trip.
Check out these apps to help in your packing process:
- Pack – This app offers users the ability to make lists of things to pack and things to do. It is very customizable and allows you to categorize lists, such as designating a "Camping Trip" list. This template-based interface saves a lot of time and effort when it comes to getting organized for a trip.
- PackPoint - One of the best features of this app is how user-friendly the interface is. You need only enter a few details for your trip and the app does the rest! It even checks the weather at your destination.
- Packr - This responsive app uses artificial intelligence to learn your packing habits. Organize your packing based on your destination, the time of year, and the activities you’ve planned for your trip. We love that you can prepare for multiple destinations in one trip checklist.
Travel Checklist for International Students
If you are preparing for a semester abroad, it's important to have a travel checklist for international students ready too. You may need to update such a checklist for travel during COVID.
- Be sure that your passport is up to date and valid for an adequate length of time based on your travel plans (note that some countries require your passport validity to extend beyond your intended travel plans).
- Apply for and obtain any necessary visas.
- Obtain international student health insurance if it is required by your school, program, or visa or if your regular health insurance lacks adequate coverage for international travel.
- Schedule a physical exam prior to departure and complete all health-related documents required by your school.
- Get all required vaccinations, including a COVID vaccination.
- Have all prescriptions filled.
- Complete any waivers or other required paperwork.
- Determine the best option for phone data usage in the country you are going. This will include ensuring that your devices needed for schoolwork are compatible.
- Pack all necessary chargers and adapters.
- If you are a U.S. resident, don't forget to register with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan (STEP).
- Create copies of all important documents.
Research the entry requirements for the country you are studying in as well as your home country prior to your return. Also, be sure to know all the COVID-related requirements for the country in which you will be studying. Ignorance is no defense, and you may disrupt your education due to consequences related to non-compliance.
Be Sure to Explore These Related Resources:
- Create Your International Travel Packing List
- 11-Step Planning Guide to Traveling Internationally
- Top 50 Travel Sites to Prepare for Your Dream Trip
- What Countries Require Travel Insurance for Entry?
- Cancel for Any Reason Travel Insurance for COVID
- Here’s What Travel Advisories Mean for Your International Trip
- How to Pack a Suitcase More Efficiently
- Tips for Traveling Without Knowing the Language
- 21 Tips for Staying Safe While Traveling
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WorldTrips’ Atlas Travel Series and StudentSecure international travel medical insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd's. WorldTrips has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency, Ltd.
WorldTrips' Atlas Journey, Atlas Cruiser, and Atlas On-The-Go trip protection insurance products are underwritten by Tokio Marine HCC's U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC). USSIC is a Texas-domiciled insurance company operating on an admitted basis throughout the United States. Coverage is available to U.S. residents of the U.S. states and District of Columbia only. This plan provides insurance coverage that only applies during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home, and automobile insurance policies. Coverage may not be available in all states.
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