Do you know which documents you need for travelling? This post will go over the 5 essential types of documents for travelling, as well as some other paperwork that you might want to take when you travel.

So you’ve planned a trip, booked your accommodation, maybe even packed and now you’re ready to go!

But wait!

Do you have all of the necessary documents for travelling?

Before you head out on your trip, there are several documents that you will need to take with you. We’ll go over the different ones that you will need to take, plus some other paperwork that is good to have.

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So what are the essential types of documents for travelling?


Whether you are driving, flying or taking another form of transportation, you will need some sort of identification. If you are driving within your own country, you will need your driver’s license but if you are renting a car in a foreign country, you may need an international driver’s license, as well as your driver’s license from home.

With other types of transportation, for example if you are travelling by train or bus, you may or may not need identification to purchase your ticket, but it’s always best to have some sort of photo identification anyways. We have been asked on occasion to show identification, along with our tickets, in order to board.

If you are flying, you will need identification to check in and board. If you are flying domestically, a driver’s license or some sort of photo identification will work, but if you are flying internationally, you will need a passport as well.


As mentioned above, if you are flying or travelling internationally, you will need a passport. It’s the most common form of documentation for travelling, but saying that, it’s easy to forget to pack it when you’re thinking about all of the other things you need for your trip. So add it to your packing list (or print out our travel packing list here) and then you won’t be scrambling at the last minute to try and remember it!

Health Insurance

Health insurance is necessary! You probably already have some sort of regular, day-to-day health insurance and it’s a good idea to bring a card with that information on it. In addition to your current health insurance, you may need to purchase additional travel insurance. Often this can be added on to your regular health insurance or even covered through your credit card, but you will need to let them know and add in the dates. My credit card covers out-of-country health insurance for a week or two, but if we are travelling for longer, we need to purchase additional travel insurance.  

Letter of Consent

If you are travelling internationally with children by yourself, you may need a letter of consent. This applies to any parent who is travelling alone with children, even if you have the child’s passport. If you are not a single parent, but are travelling alone without the other parent, you may still need a letter of consent to travel.   Some countries require a notarized letter, so it’s best to check with your government or embassy first. You can find a template for the letter of consent here and either have it notarized, or just signed by a witness.

If you are the only parent listed on the birth certificate, a letter of consent is not necessary but you will need to bring a copy of the birth certificate showing that you are the only parent.

Emergency Contact Card

While this isn’t a necessary document to travel with, it’s a good idea to carry an emergency contact card when travelling! While we don’t like to think of worst-case scenarios, it is a good idea to be prepared. You can find a printable template here or create your own. Make sure to have the name, phone number or email or someone who can be reached in an emergency. If possible, have a second and third contact, just in case the first person cannot be reached. Keep this information in your travel wallet or wherever you keep your other travel documents and identification. If you have kids, it’s a good idea for them to have a copy as well.

Trip Reference Card

Similar to a contact card, this isn’t necessary but is very helpful to have! A trip reference card can include any information that you may need, such as accommodation information, trip dates, flight and transport information, itinerary details, car rental details, etc. You can download a trip reference card here and then add your specific details before you travel.

**It’s a good idea to make a copy of your documents, just in case!**

While you will need to bring the original ID with you, take a photocopy and leave one copy at home or with your emergency contact and keep another copy with you (in a different spot than your travel wallet, just to be safe).

My kids also carry a copy of the emergency contact card in their backpacks, just in case something ever happens and they need to contact someone at home and I’m not able to do it. (Not that I want to ever think about that kind of situation, but as a single mom, it’s something to be prepared for!)

>> Click the images below to download a copy <<

An emergency contact card is one of the suggested documents for travelling

A trip reference card is one of the suggested documents for travelling

If you are travelling solo with children, a letter of consent may be a necessary documents for travel

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