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What travel documents do you need?

What documents will you or might you need? (By the way, what you need for a country varies with your citizenship and where you’re traveling. Instead of listing links on this page, the Google-powered search box on this site will help you find what you need for your nationality.)

  • Passport. If you don’t have this, you ain’t going anywhere out of the country. Passports take a few weeks to process, so apply early. Once you have your passport, scan the ID page and email the scan to your inbox; if your passport is lost or stolen, printing out the copy can help you get a new one. Also bring a copy of your birth certificate, for the same reason.
  • Visas (where needed). This varies by where you’re going, and what nations you’re a citizen of. Checking with embassies and consulates (most of which will have some sort of website) for the destination country will tell you what you need to do.
  • Tickets. Most your tickets will be paper: bus, train, some air (e-tickets are widely, but not universally used). Be sure to have a paper copy of your itinerary, where applicable; usually if you reserve your ticket online an itinerary will be emailed to you, and you can keep that in your inbox and print it out from cybercafes as you go.

  • Passes. These are anything from Eurail passes to any other documentation you need for foreign travel.

Seem like a fair bit of paper? Yep, but you will use it on the way, therefore lightening your load as you go. Some things, like an itinerary, you only need on the day; chuck it once the flight’s over. Keeping digital copies in your email inbox also means you less to carry.