Here’s the travel checklist that I use before traveling, whether for business or pleasure. These are things that I’ve been prone to forget when traveling in the past.

Travel Documents and Money

  • Driver’s License
  • Itineraries, plane tickets
  • Frequent flyer cards / hotel membership cards
  • Credit Cards
    Bring a spare in case your main one is denied! You may also want to inform your credit card companies that you will be traveling.
  • Cash
    Don’t forget small bills for tips!

International Travel

If you’re going on an International trip, make sure your passport is current and has plenty of time left before expiration. Check if a visa is necessary to travel to the country you’re going to. These things take weeks to get or renew, so start early.

  • Passport
    Even when I’m flying domestically, I carry my passport as a backup.
  • Hotel addresses
    On international trips, you often have to write down the address of your destination on your entry forms, so have this handy.

Personal Items

  • Toiletries
    It’s best to have a travel bag of toiletries always ready to go.  In the past, some personal items that I’ve forgotten include contact lenses, saline solution, shampoo, and dental floss.
  • Fingernail clippers
    These are now allowed on carry-on by the TSA. I always seem to forget them and end up buying them on my trip.
  • Sunglasses
  • Glasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Vitamins
  • Medications
  • Plastic bag for dirty clothes
    This is something I like to bring so my dirty clothes don’t touch my clean ones.
  • Shoes for other activites


  • Business cards
    Actually, I always bring business cards whether traveling for business or pleasure. You never know who you’ll meet!
  • Your laptop
  • Whatever you need for your mission!
    This could be a Power Point presentation, spreadsheets, physical samples, etc.


Powering your electronics can be a challenge when you are traveling. If you’re driving in an unfamiliar area, for example, you’re likely to be using your phone’s GPS which drains the battery quickly. Before you know it, you’re left with a dead phone in an unfamiliar area!

  • Laptop power cable
    I’d say that laptop power cables are one of the most frequently forgotten items when traveling.
  • Phone/tablet charging cables
  • Phone charging cable adapter for your car
    If you’re driving, remember to bring a car charger cable or adapter that works with your car, as nothing drains a cell phone battery faster than using it to navigate.
  • Spare batteries / battery packs
    On my last trip to Yellowstone, we were constantly trying to find ways to charge our phones, because we were using them to figure out which attractions to go to.  An external battery pack would have been super useful!
  • Travel outlet strip
    I always bring a small outlet strip when I travel, and it’s always super useful! Sometimes I use it to share power with other travelers at the airport or at a conference.  I almost always I use it in my hotel room.
  • Foreign power adapters (if needed) 

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For Cold Climates

I live in a warm climate so it’s easy for me to forget to pack for colder weather. Here are some items to remember.

  • Jacket
  • Gloves! – I forgot mine the last time I went to Mammoth in winter!
  • Hat
  • Thermal underwear
  • Scarf

For the Plane

  • Light jacket or sweater
  • Ginger Gum
    If you are prone to mild motion-sickness, ginger can really help without the side-effects of hard drugs.
  • Pen (to fill out customs forms for international flights.)
  • Headphones
  • Airplane Pillow (for long flights)


You should try to have fun even on the most hard-core business trip!

  • Swimsuit & Goggles
    I always bring my swimsuit, even if I’m going to New England in the dead of winter.  You never know when someone will want to hit the indoor jacuzzi. Plus, it takes hardly any space, so why not?
  • Workout clothing
    Every hotel has a gym, so why not at least try to stay in shape.

Right Before You Leave

Here are some things to remember to do before you leave:

  • Check your airplane seats at SeatGuru
    If you are flying, enter your airline and seat number at to get the scoop on your seats (i.e., whether it reclines, is near a window, etc.)
  • Exercise
    I try to exercise right before I leave for a trip. If I’m flying, it helps me sleep on the plane. And, when I travel it’s hard to get regular exercise, so it’s good to do it while you can.
  • Power down your home
    Remember to turn off your air conditioner and other high-power appliances. If you’re going on a longer trip, you might want to power off things like your cable TV box, Internet modem, Wi-Fi router, and so forth.
  • Set up light timers
    If you want to have a few lights go on automatically while you’re gone to make it look like you’re home, set up these timers.
  • Take out the trash
    Avoid a smelly surprise when you return from your trip.
  • Water your plants
  • Check your credit cards for rewards and benefits
    See which ones earn travel points, offer rental car insurance, and so on.
  • Inform your credit card company of your trip
    On my last two trips my main card was denied because I was using it away from home.You may want to call your credit card company to tell them you’ll be using it away from home.
  • Charge electronic devices
  • Lock up your home

What Else?

What’s on your travel checklist that I missed?  Please comment below! – Brian

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