SD travels regularly, and she’s learnt [the hard way!], that you can’t always rely on your memory when packing for travel.  Being an entrepreneur, busy mum and caregiver, she depends on quick checklists she stores on her phone to ensure she takes what she needs to travel hassle-free.  
Here’s her travel checklist, handily divided into the 3 key phases of her travel needs – booking, packing and on-board needs. And she’s included some of her travel tips for each of the items as well, based on her many travel experiences.

BOOK

Airline ticket: Date, airline options, price comparisons, connections, arrival / departure time, seats, meals, luggage allowance.
Tips: Travel booking sites are very handy for comparisons. You can buy through them, or jump over to the airline site to check promotions and make the actual purchase. Don’t forget to check your airline loyalty to programme to see if you’re entitled to a miles redemption or promo.
Travel insurance: Up to date? Enough coverage?
Tips: If you travel often, buy an annual plan – it’s cheaper and easier to manage. You can buy travel insurance per trip for family members who rarely travel. Or buy a family plan if all of you travel often. Check online financial management or travel sites for price comparisons from different providers. Keep a copy of your travel insurance with your passport at all times. Save a copy on your phone for easy access.
Visas: Required? Application process? Lead time for application? Online or via embassy/agent? Payment? Photos? Accompanying letters?
Tips: Most countries offer online applications now, but some sites can still be quite tedious to navigate, or eventually require you to visit an embassy for an interview or to make payment. If you feel you don’t have the time to do this, most travel agents offer visa application services for a fee, and are adept at navigating the process. It may be worth to get them to do it if you have multiple applications to make, or are simply pressed for time.
Online check-in:  48 hours before flight
Tip: Use a travel app. It keeps all your travel information and bookings in one handy site, notifies you in the event of changes to your itinerary, informs you when check in is open, flight status updates, boarding gate information, luggage carousel information, as well as tracks all ground arrangements like hotel and appointments. Super handy!
Hotels:  Book! 
Tips on booking: Use a hotel booking site to compare options and read traveller reviews. Nothing like a fellow traveller to give you the real insights beyond the pretty pictures on hotel websites. Some sites and loyalty programmes allow cancellations up to days before the actual stay date, which is handy if your schedule needs to be flexible. And you can accumulate loyalty points for future redemption. If you’re a premier member of a hotel programme, you may also enjoy some flexibility on check-in and check-out times, which is great if you’re arriving or departing very early or late i.e. outside of normal check-in / check-out periods.
Tips on selecting rooms: If you’re travelling in a group or with children, check hotel policies on the number of pax per room versus room size. Countries like Australia have very strict fire regulations that specify how many people can be housed in hotel rooms of different sizes. You don’t want to arrive at a destination, only to find that you have to pay heavily for an upgrade to a bigger room, or worse, that a suitable room isn’t available.
Transportation: Airport transfers? Local commute? Out of town travel? Car rental? GPS and car charger?
Tips on airport transfers: Most international airports have multiple public transportation systems that connect you to the city, or major hotel / tourist districts. These, and ride-sharing apps, usually offer much cheaper connections compared to cabs and taxis. And remember that travelling in a group can get you savings compared to individual purchases. For example, 3 people sharing a cab may be cheaper than buying 3 tickets on a commuter train. Some airport transportation companies also have promotional coupons for return journeys, so it may make sense to buy a round trip rather than a single trip. All this info in available online, and you can usually also make a purchase, which reduces your waiting time in airport queues!
Tips on local commutes: Nothing beats public transport in most world cities these days, so check that out first. There are usually good options for multiple journeys, as well as a 3-day, 5-day, or weekly passes. And almost always, special fares for children and the elderly. Check all these out before you travel. At a pinch, your hotel concierge can fill you in on the info.
Tips on out of town travel: These can be a bit trickier if where you want to go isn’t served by regular public transport, or you need / want to stay in control of your schedule. Information on connections to major business and tourist destinations are easily available on country tourism sites, or crowd-sharing travel information sites. And you can always post a question for a fellow traveller to answer.
Tips on car rental: Different countries have different rules for international drivers, so always check online first. Car rental sites will state what kind of documentation they need, and the terms and conditions of booking. Once you’re up to date on this, check your airline or hotel booking site – they often have special rates for car rental services made along with an airline or hotel booking.

 

If you’re travelling with children, always remember to check what the rules are for children in cars. Some countries have very strict rules on the use of car seats and boosters, as well as the number of passengers in the car. If you need a GPS, car seats or a booster seat, check online for rental sites, or ask the car rental company – they can sometimes help out.
.
Entertainment: Pre-book restaurants? Shows? Sports? Activities? Tours? Fast-track access? Classes?
Tips: The best way to make the most out of your travel is to pre-plan.  Popular eateries and tourist spots are often crowded year-round, so making a reservation beforehand can make all the difference between standing outside looking in, or being one of the lucky few enjoying a scrumptious meal.  Likewise, many popular tourist sites offer fast-track tickets to beat long queues, or limit the number of visitors a day. If you check out your destination before you travel, you could also identify one-off or special events that may be happening while you’re there, or take advantage of special tours and shows.  Or even a special cooking class!
Mobile & Data Roaming: Partner? Package? Terms?
Tips:  Getting the right roaming partner can make all the difference between a four-digit phone bill at the end of your holiday, or a more reasonable one.  All mobile service providers offer special rates and packages for international roaming. These can be call & sms-only or data-only packages, or a combination of both.  There are also daily and weekly roaming rates to choose from. Most importantly, find out your telco’s roaming partner is, and make sure you set your provider setting to “manual” before you leave, so that you can select the right one when you arrive.  Since most of these data packages can be pretty expensive if you go beyond the daily usage rate, it’s always good to make the most of wifi services wherever you go.
.
Gifts: For whom? Receipts?
Tips: We often have to travel with gifts, either for the business partners we meet, or family. But they can be bulky and messy to travel with. Try and keep gifts to small and personal items, perhaps something with a national flavour, that can’t be easily found at your destination. Food items are popular with Asians, but bear in mind some countries, like Australia that have very rigid rules about food imports.

BRING

Documents! Passport? Visa? Print outs?
Tips: Some airlines allow you to check-in at the desk with just the booking reference number. Check ahead if you prefer to travel with soft copies, but remember, different airlines and immigration authorities have different requirements, so you may not experience the same convenience on your return journey. When in doubt, carry a printed copy with you. And always have a copy handy on your phone or travel app. Make sure your passport has at least 6 months left before expiry – most countries won’t allow you to enter if you don’t.
.
Currency: How much? Exchange rate? Credit cards?
Tips: If you’re going somewhere for the first time, do a quick check online to get a handle of how much daily needs, like transport, a simple meal, etc., will cost. And also check the prevalent credit card fees, or if surcharges are applied. You can then work out what you need each day, and if you don’t want to carry too much, then carry just enough. Get your currency at money changers near where you live or in your local city; rates at airports are generally less advantageous to you. Carry at least two credit cards, in the event you have problems with one. And make sure you know your PIN!
Luggage: Check-in? Other items eg meds, work stuff?
Tips for check-in luggage: Packing smart starts with two key bits of information – destination weather and meeting schedule. Packing for the cold can involve bulky items – use packing cases to maximise space. For a schedule full of meetings, pack items that require minimal ironing and which match easily. It’s easier to dress up classic clothing with interesting accessories then it is to carry a whole host of different outfits. Keep make up items to travel sizes, and the minimum. Roll up clothing items and stuff shoes with small items to maximise space. Or invest in a couple of elegant butterfly flats that fold into their own pouches – they are perfect for travel! Leave those bulky handbags at home! A classic tote and a small clutch for evenings will carry you through most of your engagements. Always throw in an extra bag that folds flat and an extra bag lock, in the event you suddenly have more items to carry home [or to keep dirty laundry separate from the rest of your items!]. And remember to remove previous bag tags and code stickers.
.

BOARD

Carry ons : Passport, ticket, travel, phone charger, e-reader, make up kit, emergency meds, a quick change, a jacket.
Tips for carry-ons: Trolley bags aren’t the handiest during a flight, as you have to keep jumping up and getting it out of the overhead storage compartment every time you need something. A soft and roomy tote that zips shut or a backpack [if possible, with a built-in lock], which you can tuck under your chair or feet is more accessible. Store your passport, travel documents and currency in a smaller handbag, or even your evening clutch, and make sure it’s in a secure compartment.
Try and minimise other items. If you’re a regular traveller and love to read, invest in an e-reader, a multi-port charger, and shorter charging cords that don’t take up so much space. If you have to go to a meeting directly upon arrival, keep a no-iron shift dress, or a jacket that isn’t easily crumpled with you to spruce up your look. Wet wipes, a toothbrush travel set and simple makeup for a quick refresh before you head out.
If you need to eat more often for medical reasons or are travelling with kids, take some individually-packed snacks with you, but remember to finish them or dispose them before you arrive if the destination country doesn’t permit travellers to bring in such items. A small refillable water bottle is useful to stay hydrated. Fill it up when the flight has taken off and the crew settled, and you don’t have to keep calling them for refills.
Work items should be kept in a separate bag if possible, ideally something that you can attach to or drop into your carry on.
SD travels regularly, and she’s learnt [the hard way!], that you can’t always rely on your memory when packing for travel.  Being an entrepreneur, busy mum and caregiver, she depends on quick checklists she stores on her phone to ensure she takes what she needs to travel hassle-free.  
Here’s her travel checklist, handily divided into the 3 key phases of her travel needs – booking, packing and on-board needs. And she’s included some of her travel tips for each of the items as well, based on her many travel experiences.

BOOK

Airline ticket: Date, airline options, price comparisons, connections, arrival / departure time, seats, meals, luggage allowance.
Tips: Travel booking sites are very handy for comparisons. You can buy through them, or jump over to the airline site to check promotions and make the actual purchase. Don’t forget to check your airline loyalty to programme to see if you’re entitled to a miles redemption or promo.
Travel insurance: Up to date? Enough coverage?
Tips: If you travel often, buy an annual plan – it’s cheaper and easier to manage. You can buy travel insurance per trip for family members who rarely travel. Or buy a family plan if all of you travel often. Check online financial management or travel sites for price comparisons from different providers. Keep a copy of your travel insurance with your passport at all times. Save a copy on your phone for easy access.
Visas: Required? Application process? Lead time for application? Online or via embassy/agent? Payment? Photos? Accompanying letters?
Tips: Most countries offer online applications now, but some sites can still be quite tedious to navigate, or eventually require you to visit an embassy for an interview or to make payment. If you feel you don’t have the time to do this, most travel agents offer visa application services for a fee, and are adept at navigating the process. It may be worth to get them to do it if you have multiple applications to make, or are simply pressed for time.
Online check-in:  48 hours before flight
Tip: Use a travel app. It keeps all your travel information and bookings in one handy site, notifies you in the event of changes to your itinerary, informs you when check in is open, flight status updates, boarding gate information, luggage carousel information, as well as tracks all ground arrangements like hotel and appointments. Super handy!
Hotels:  Book! 
Tips on booking: Use a hotel booking site to compare options and read traveller reviews. Nothing like a fellow traveller to give you the real insights beyond the pretty pictures on hotel websites. Some sites and loyalty programmes allow cancellations up to days before the actual stay date, which is handy if your schedule needs to be flexible. And you can accumulate loyalty points for future redemption. If you’re a premier member of a hotel programme, you may also enjoy some flexibility on check-in and check-out times, which is great if you’re arriving or departing very early or late i.e. outside of normal check-in / check-out periods.
Tips on selecting rooms: If you’re travelling in a group or with children, check hotel policies on the number of pax per room versus room size. Countries like Australia have very strict fire regulations that specify how many people can be housed in hotel rooms of different sizes. You don’t want to arrive at a destination, only to find that you have to pay heavily for an upgrade to a bigger room, or worse, that a suitable room isn’t available.
Transportation: Airport transfers? Local commute? Out of town travel? Car rental? GPS and car charger?
Tips on airport transfers: Most international airports have multiple public transportation systems that connect you to the city, or major hotel / tourist districts. These, and ride-sharing apps, usually offer much cheaper connections compared to cabs and taxis. And remember that travelling in a group can get you savings compared to individual purchases. For example, 3 people sharing a cab may be cheaper than buying 3 tickets on a commuter train. Some airport transportation companies also have promotional coupons for return journeys, so it may make sense to buy a round trip rather than a single trip. All this info in available online, and you can usually also make a purchase, which reduces your waiting time in airport queues!
Tips on local commutes: Nothing beats public transport in most world cities these days, so check that out first. There are usually good options for multiple journeys, as well as a 3-day, 5-day, or weekly passes. And almost always, special fares for children and the elderly. Check all these out before you travel. At a pinch, your hotel concierge can fill you in on the info.
Tips on out of town travel: These can be a bit trickier if where you want to go isn’t served by regular public transport, or you need / want to stay in control of your schedule. Information on connections to major business and tourist destinations are easily available on country tourism sites, or crowd-sharing travel information sites. And you can always post a question for a fellow traveller to answer.
Tips on car rental: Different countries have different rules for international drivers, so always check online first. Car rental sites will state what kind of documentation they need, and the terms and conditions of booking. Once you’re up to date on this, check your airline or hotel booking site – they often have special rates for car rental services made along with an airline or hotel booking.

 

If you’re travelling with children, always remember to check what the rules are for children in cars. Some countries have very strict rules on the use of car seats and boosters, as well as the number of passengers in the car. If you need a GPS, car seats or a booster seat, check online for rental sites, or ask the car rental company – they can sometimes help out.
.
Entertainment: Pre-book restaurants? Shows? Sports? Activities? Tours? Fast-track access? Classes?
Tips: The best way to make the most out of your travel is to pre-plan.  Popular eateries and tourist spots are often crowded year-round, so making a reservation beforehand can make all the difference between standing outside looking in, or being one of the lucky few enjoying a scrumptious meal.  Likewise, many popular tourist sites offer fast-track tickets to beat long queues, or limit the number of visitors a day. If you check out your destination before you travel, you could also identify one-off or special events that may be happening while you’re there, or take advantage of special tours and shows.  Or even a special cooking class!
Mobile & Data Roaming: Partner? Package? Terms?
Tips:  Getting the right roaming partner can make all the difference between a four-digit phone bill at the end of your holiday, or a more reasonable one.  All mobile service providers offer special rates and packages for international roaming. These can be call & sms-only or data-only packages, or a combination of both.  There are also daily and weekly roaming rates to choose from. Most importantly, find out your telco’s roaming partner is, and make sure you set your provider setting to “manual” before you leave, so that you can select the right one when you arrive.  Since most of these data packages can be pretty expensive if you go beyond the daily usage rate, it’s always good to make the most of wifi services wherever you go.
.
Gifts: For whom? Receipts?
Tips: We often have to travel with gifts, either for the business partners we meet, or family. But they can be bulky and messy to travel with. Try and keep gifts to small and personal items, perhaps something with a national flavour, that can’t be easily found at your destination. Food items are popular with Asians, but bear in mind some countries, like Australia that have very rigid rules about food imports.

BRING

Documents! Passport? Visa? Print outs?
Tips: Some airlines allow you to check-in at the desk with just the booking reference number. Check ahead if you prefer to travel with soft copies, but remember, different airlines and immigration authorities have different requirements, so you may not experience the same convenience on your return journey. When in doubt, carry a printed copy with you. And always have a copy handy on your phone or travel app. Make sure your passport has at least 6 months left before expiry – most countries won’t allow you to enter if you don’t.
.
Luggage: Check-in? Other items eg meds, work stuff?
Tips for check-in luggage: Packing smart starts with two key bits of information – destination weather and meeting schedule. Packing for the cold can involve bulky items – use packing cases to maximise space. For a schedule full of meetings, pack items that require minimal ironing and which match easily. It’s easier to dress up classic clothing with interesting accessories then it is to carry a whole host of different outfits. Keep make up items to travel sizes, and the minimum. Roll up clothing items and stuff shoes with small items to maximise space. Or invest in a couple of elegant butterfly flats that fold into their own pouches – they are perfect for travel! Leave those bulky handbags at home! A classic tote and a small clutch for evenings will carry you through most of your engagements. Always throw in an extra bag that folds flat and an extra bag lock, in the event you suddenly have more items to carry home [or to keep dirty laundry separate from the rest of your items!]. And remember to remove previous bag tags and code stickers.
.

BOARD

Carry ons : Passport, ticket, travel, phone charger, e-reader, make up kit, emergency meds, a quick change, a jacket.
Tips for carry-ons: Trolley bags aren’t the handiest during a flight, as you have to keep jumping up and getting it out of the overhead storage compartment every time you need something. A soft and roomy tote that zips shut or a backpack [if possible, with a built-in lock], which you can tuck under your chair or feet is more accessible. Store your passport, travel documents and currency in a smaller handbag, or even your evening clutch, and make sure it’s in a secure compartment.
Try and minimise other items. If you’re a regular traveller and love to read, invest in an e-reader, a multi-port charger, and shorter charging cords that don’t take up so much space. If you have to go to a meeting directly upon arrival, keep a no-iron shift dress, or a jacket that isn’t easily crumpled with you to spruce up your look. Wet wipes, a toothbrush travel set and simple makeup for a quick refresh before you head out.
If you need to eat more often for medical reasons or are travelling with kids, take some individually-packed snacks with you, but remember to finish them or dispose them before you arrive if the destination country doesn’t permit travellers to bring in such items. A small refillable water bottle is useful to stay hydrated. Fill it up when the flight has taken off and the crew settled, and you don’t have to keep calling them for refills.
Work items should be kept in a separate bag if possible, ideally something that you can attach to or drop into your carry on.
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