Important travel documents to have
Passport: A passport is an official government issued document that certifies your identity and citizenship. It allows you to travel to and from foreign countries and is required for international travel.
Photo Identification: Although your passport does include a photo, it's still a good idea to travel with your government issued photo identification as well. This could be a license, or if you don't have one, a regular photo identification card. You shouldn't use your passport as an ID unless you have to, as it increases the chances of it becoming lost or stolen.
Travel Visa: A travel visa is a document issued by the country you wish to travel to. Different countries have different requirements for travel visas. It may only be required if you plan to stay in a foreign country for more than six months, or it might be required if you plan to work there, even temporarily. You may not need a visa to travel, but it's something that you should research before planning your trip.
Proof of Relationship: When traveling internationally with children, it's important to ensure that you have proof of your relationship to the child, especially if you are not related or have a different family name than the minor. This could be in the form of a long-form birth certificate, adoption certificate, or a Child Travel Consent letter.
Child Travel Consent
: If you are traveling with a child, and you are not their primary guardian, or you share joint custody with another parent, you will need proof that you are allowed to travel with that child. This is especially important with international travel. A properly executed Child Travel Consent letter can be used to prove that you are permitted to travel with the minor in your care.
Child Medical Consent
: If you are traveling with a minor child who you are not a parent of or share joint custody of, not only will you need an executed Child Travel Consent letter, but you will also need a Child Medical Consent as well. This is a document that allows you to make medical decisions for the minor on the behalf of the parent or primary guardian in the event of an emergency.
Power of Attorney
: A Power of Attorney document is what allows an agent, or personal representative, to make financial, legal, business, and real estate decisions on your behalf while you are away. If you are traveling for an extended period of time, name someone who you trust to pay your bills, handle your business, and collect any rent on your behalf. If there is a possibility that your trip may be extended, or you may face delays in your return, an agent will be able to make sure that you don't come home to unpaid bills and uncashed checks.
Health Care Directive
: A Health Care Directive is a document that outlines your personal medical care preferences in the event that you become incapacitated. This includes situations such as terminal illness, serious injury, a vegetative state, and permanent or temporary comas. You can name a representative to execute your preferences for you, in the event that you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
Last Will and Testament
: A Last Will and Testament is a document that allows you to allocate your assets to beneficiaries in the event that you pass away. Many people create one prior to traveling in case something happens while they are abroad, especially if they are traveling to a dangerous or unstable destination. Preparing your Last Will before you travel can help to give you, and your family, peace of mind.
: An End-of-Life Plan is a document that lets you detail your wishes regarding your remains, funeral, obituary or death notice, and more. Like a Last Will, creating an End-of-Life Plan when traveling ensures your relatives and family know how you would like to be laid to rest and remembered, in case anything doesn't go as planned on your trip.
Travel Documents for Pets: If you are traveling with an animal, such as a support dog or a family pet, you will need to ensure that you have the proper documentation to bring the animal into the country you are traveling to. Different countries have different requirements, but examples would be a rabies vaccination certificate and proof of ownership.
You may require other documents, depending on where you are traveling to and the purpose of your visit. Check with a local embassy to confirm what paperwork you will need.
Scan and email copies of all important documents to yourself in case you lose the originals. This way, you will always have a digital copy to use.