Packing for round the world trip is difficult enough - but it is documentation I have always feared of. The thought of multiple scans, statements and proofs almost made me reconsider the whole trip altogether. In reality, the list of travel documents to have is not too long, and getting it properly will save you loads of time and nerves in your trip.
The single most important document in your trip. Unfortunately has a tendency to expire or run out of space. So if your country allows to have two passports – definitively apply for a second one. It will give you a chance to travel for longer and also assist in visa applications (for example you cannot a get a visa to Iran if you have an Israeli one in your passport).
Insurance is critical as it can cover your medical expenses as well as reimburse for stolen possessions. It is also an important document when applying for visas many countries, including popular destinations of USA, Australia and many European states. One of the best you can find here – World Nomads, but there are quite a few other providers worth exploring.
A standard bundle of documents include recent bank statement, proof from work or university, copies of all documents (including passports and insurance). It won’t hurt to also have a copy of your birth certificate, driving license and marriage certificate (handy in some Muslim countries). All documentation should be in English, or otherwise translated by a certified agency. Make sure to have an extra copy of insurance policy and a copy of your passport – those should always be in your wallet.
Have a few passport photos of various sizes. They will be needed for visa applications and in some countries even for the simple procedure of phone card purchase. Scan some of the photos too as they might come in handy for electronic visa applications.
Certificate of vaccination
A must when going to a number of countries. You can check a full list of necessary vaccinations on The Center for Disease Control website.
Important as a proof of identity and your getaway to road trips abroad.
As a general rule PDF all of the important documents and send them to yourself before leaving. Passport scans, flight details, hotels bookings – useful to keep everything in one place. Apps like Tripcase or Tripit might help you to centralize your documentation. In some countries you can be easily stopped and asked for a proof of stay – so having electronic copies with you will help.
If you are a student – make sure to arrange an international identity card before departure. You will then be able to get a significant discount for museums, cinemas and many sightseeing spots. It can also serve as a proof of your student status and get you some discounts on trains and buses. If you have an opportunity, get a journalist pass too – it allows to enter many cultural places for free and can help you to get into many places otherwise closed for general public.
Your home currency
Not a document as such – but still important to have in your wallet. People love to have those as small gifts. In our journey we met a dozen of keen collectors of foreign notes – and once we even managed to trade a 5-value gryvna for free wifi in Mumbai’s most luxurious hotel.
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