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Your Essential Pre-Flight Travel Checklist

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Take the stress out of travel with our pre-flight travel checklist, ticking off all the essentials you need before you travel, from confirming your airport transfer to remembering to pack your phone charger.

Crowded check-in and baggage counters at the airport, impromptu trips, the craziness of chaotic crowds getting to the airport to get on a flight or find your luggage and leave the airport. Everything seems unfamiliar now as coronavirus has prompted all of us to find the ‘new normal’ of travel.

Travel Documents

If you’re travelling domestically, you will need to take care of the following checklist:

  1. Travel PermitIf you’re travelling to a state that doesn’t permit non-essential travel due to the coronavirus, you will most likely need to get a travel permit from the border control to enter the state, regardless of the nature of your travel. Make sure to check the border restrictions of both your own state and your destination state before you start planning your trip and in the lead up to your departure date. 
  2. Negative COVID-19 TestAlthough not required in all cases, some states require you to provide a negative COVID-19 test before you can enter their state. This test cannot be older than 72 hours. They might also require you to quarantine for 7-14 days on arrival. Make sure you check the requirements of both your own state and the destination state when booking your flights and in the lead up to your departure date. 
  3. Travel InsuranceWhether you’re travelling domestically or internationally, travel insurance is essential for many travellers. Some credit cards come with travel insurance, but it’s always worth doing some research into what you are and aren’t covered for; medical costs overseas can be sky-high, and travel insurance will usually also cover loss and theft of personal items. There are many different types of travel insurance, so do some research to find the one that suits you the best.  Handy hint: Our friends over at allow you to compare travel insurance policies to find the best one for you.

If you’re travelling internationally, you will have to arrange the following documents in addition to the above documents:

  1. Visa and PassportsIf you are travelling internationally, you are required to hold a valid passport and visa. Some countries won’t let you in without a valid visa, so double-check any visa requirements before you leave to avoid an awkward conversation at border security. It can take a number of days to organise a visa, so make sure to check this well in advance. A lot of countries have put in place strict new visa regulations due to COVID-19. Make sure you check with your own country as well as the destination country what the updated visa rules are – Is non-essential travel permitted? Are tourists allowed to enter the country? Can you travel on a student visa?
  2. Negative COVID-19 TestIf you’re travelling internationally, this is something to keep in mind during COVID-19. Several countries require you to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before you can board a flight, which cannot be older than 72 hours. Some countries will also require you to take another test when you arrive, followed by a mandatory quarantine. Some countries will also allow you to bypass quarantine if you provide a negative COVID-19 test result less than 96 hours old. Make sure you check the requirements of both your own country and the destination country when booking your flights. 
  3. Health Declaration FormA health declaration form asks you to provide your travel history, travel destination, and particulars about your health. It is a declaration that you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 to the best of your knowledge. Based on the requirements of your destination country’s government, most airlines will ask you to fill in and submit this form online. You should also carry a hard copy of the document and submit it at the immigration counter. If you are unable to carry a hard copy, you can fill in the form at the checkpoint itself in the airport.

Download the COVID tracing app

A number of countries have developed apps to help manage and reduce the spread of coronavirus. Australia has the COVID Safe app, India has Aarogya Setu, Singapore has developed Trace Together, Dubai has COVID-19 DXB Smart app, and there are many others. Most countries will advise you to download the app on your mobile device on arrival and keep your details up-to-date. However, in some countries, it may be mandatory to keep the app downloaded on your phone. Make sure you check with your destination country for any COVID tracing app you could use.

Carry-on Essentials

To help you keep safe from the virus, make sure to carry these carry-on essentials when you travel.

  1. Keep a face mask … or twoYou’ll need to wear a face mask in all public spaces throughout your journey. You can opt for more comfortable, adjustable face masks, especially if you need to keep them on for a long period of time. Make sure that your face masks satisfy the requirements as laid out by the World Health OrganisationCDC to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. To be more environmentally friendly, opt for a reusable face mask rather than a one-time use mask (let’s not forget about pollution and global warming while worrying about the coronavirus).
  2. Carry disinfectant wipesWhen you’re flying or taking the train or eating out at a restaurant, make sure that they’re following the recommended COVID-19 health and safety measures in your destination. Additionally, you should inspect your seat before sitting down. If possible, use your disinfectant wipes to clean your seat, armrests, tabletops, etc.
  3. Pack an alcohol-based hand sanitiserMaintain your hand hygiene by regularly sanitizing your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Make sure that you’re carrying a travel-sized sanitizer as there are limits on the amount of liquid you can pack in your carry-on luggage. 

Other than the above mentioned COVID-19 essentials, make sure you pack the following items in your carry-on to keep your journey comfortable and entertaining. 

  1. Lip balmAeroplane cabins are pressurised which means your lips are likely to dry out – this is unpleasant at the best of times but especially if you’re travelling a long distance. Pack some balm to keep your lips hydrated.
  2. Shawl of scarfAeroplane cabins often cool down on a flight, so to stay warm it’s worth packing a shawl or light scarf to wrap around yourself.
  3. HeadphonesMajor airlines often offer these on your flight, but it’s always good to pack your own pair just in case. Noise-cancelling headphones are a big plus on busy flights and if you’re a light sleeper. If your headphones are Bluetooth, don’t forget your charger!
  4. Book, Kindle or EntertainmentGet some reading done and pack a book in your carry-on. It’s a great way to kill time on the plane, in the departure lounge or in an airport lounge. If TV series and movies are your love, be sure to load up your tablet or laptop with some a season’s worth of new shows!
  5. Menthol InhalerRelieve any nasal congestion by packing an inhaler in your hand luggage. They’re so small that they won’t weigh you down, and will offer relief if you’re feeling blocked up from the plane.
  6. Toothbrush and pasteSome airlines will provide a travel toothbrush and paste, but pack them in case – you’ll thank us if you’re on a long-haul flight!
  7. Essential medicationsMake sure you have any medication you’ll need in your hand luggage, as well as any prescriptions in case you need to show security. Depending on the length of your journey, be sure to pack enough medication that will suffice for your duration, as well as prescriptions or medical history documentation if you need to get more mediation overseas. Asthmatics, don’t forget your inhaler!
  8. Spare change of clothesIn case of flight delays or lost or delayed luggage, it’s not a bad idea to have a spare change of clothes or underwear handy in your carry-on baggage.
Make sure you double-check your airline’s carry on restrictions before you pack your bags

Check your carry-on and checked luggage

Will your carry-on bag fit the requirements and restrictions of your airline? Always double-check the weight and size of your bag, and if it’s too big or heavy, you may be requested to check it in instead, which can incur extra baggage fees. A good rule of thumb is to wear any heavy items of clothing on the plane (you can always take them off once onboard) and pack lighter items in your carry-on or checked baggage. There are also limits as to what liquids you’re able to bring on board in your carry-on and what quantity. Usually, small amounts in a sealed bag are fine, but it’s always best to double-check your airline’s policy on what is and isn’t allowed, or you may end up having to throw away toiletries and other products at security. While you’re checking your carry-on luggage, it’s also worth making sure that your checked luggage is within the weight and dimension requirements so that you can avoid any nasty last-minute charges.

Handy hint: If you’re travelling to the USA, you will need to lock your bag with a TSA-approved lock. Read our 8 Things You Should Know Before Travelling To The USA for more helpful pre-travel tips.

Confirm your airport transfer

To ensure a stress-free, seamless and a safe trip, make sure you’ve confirmed your pick-up time and the meeting point of your airport transfer with your transfer company and driver 48 hours before you’re due to depart. Double-check that all of your booking details are correct and before you leave to check your email and phone for any correspondence from either or your transfer company.


Make sure you’ve charged your phone

You’ll need a phone when you travel as your driver and/or transfer company may need to contact you. If you’re travelling overseas, check with your phone provider if you can use your phone to make and receive calls and SMS messages overseas. Don’t forget to make the most of the free WiFi that is available in many international airports, too (check our airport pages for more information on this). Don’t forget to pack your phone charger as well – these are one of the most common items left in hotels. Handy hint: Remember to buy an international travel adapter for your electronics if you’re going overseas.

Check-in online

Avoid contact and save time at the airport by checking in online, if your airline allows it. You’re usually able to print or download your boarding pass, meaning that if you’re travelling with just carry-on luggage, you can skip the lines and head straight for security.

Make copies of your travel documents

It’s always good practice to make copies of all your important travel documents, like your passport and driving licence, just in case your passport is lost on your travels. Keep a copy in your luggage separate to your passport, and leave a copy with a trusted friend or family member back home.

Pack your passport and any tickets!

It’s the most obvious thing to pack, but so often people arrive at the airport only to have left their passport on the kitchen bench (or in the photocopier!). Don’t walk out the door without double-checking your passport and any travel tickets or boarding passes are in your bag. Last but not least, remember to set your alarm if you have an early airport transfer!

Haven’t booked your airport transfer yet? Head over to to search and compare thousands of airport transfer options and find the one that’s right for you. Transfer companies who have COVID-19 hygiene procedures in place are now listed with a “COVID-19 Prepared” icon on our product. Keep an eye out for the “Covid-prepared icon” when choosing your airport transfer

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