First of all (and perhaps most importantly, because you're probably not going anywhere without it!) is your valid passport. Passports are required in order to fly internationally, for guests of all ages. This also means a passport BOOK - not a passport card, which will not allow you to fly internationally. Also keep in mind that your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months after your return date for most destinations, so always check the expiration date on your passport well ahead of time so you can renew if necessary. Some destinations may also require additional documentation, so be sure to consult the State Department for more information.
Emergency and Insurance Contact Info
We don't like to think about things going wrong while we're on vacation, but it does sometimes happen, so it's best to be prepared. Have the contact for emergency services in the country you'll be visiting, and the contact information for the nearest U.S. Embassy.
For any trip, but especially those out of the country, you should also purchase travel insurance. Insurance can help protect against unexpected circumstances and out-of-network medical costs in case of an emergency, but most insurance policies also have a support line that you can contact for help in case of an emergency. Be sure to have your insurance company's contact information and your policy number with you.
Make sure that you have any needed medications or prescriptions with you, and be sure to have them in your carry-on bag for easy access if you'll need them during your flight. Make sure to have enough to cover your trip, as some over-the-counter medications may not be as easily accessible, depending on where you're going.
Depending on where you're traveling, you may need an adapter in order to plug in any devices or appliances. Most U.S. guests won't need adapters for cruises or many all-inclusives such as Sandals Resorts, but for many other destinations such as Europe you'll want to get an adapter. There are many compact travel adapters available, with many now including USB slots on them.
Staying Comfortable While Flying
If you're taking an international flight, which can be 7-14 hours if you're going to an overseas destination, you'll want to take what you need to be entertained and comfortable. This can vary from person to person, but here are a few items to think about. Longer flights will have a selection of shows and movies to watch, but you may also want to bring other entertainment such as a handheld game, an e-reader, or games on your mobile phone - to keep these charged, you'll also want to have your charger and an external battery pack. For sleeping on the flight, consider an eye mask or noise-cancelling headphones if you're bothered by light or noise, and a travel pillow (the pillows provided usually aren't very substantial).
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