Checklist for the Planning Parent

Monika Sundem


  • Check your passports – are they valid for 6 months after your trip date? Begin the process of renewing them or filing for a new passport for your children if necessary. You need to begin this process at least 6 weeks prior to traveling to give ample time. For more information, visit the State Department Passport Website.

  • Make sure you have any necessary vaccinations for the country and regions you will be visiting. For more information on recommended and required vaccinations, visit the Centers for Disease Control Website.

  • Double check that you do not need to obtain a tourist visa prior to your arrival in the country. Call the local consulate office for the destination you will be visiting to inquire. Note: US, Canadian, and Western European citizens do not normally need to apply for a visa in advance.

  • If another legal guardian for your child is staying in the US, you should obtain a notarized letter from that parent granting permission for you to leave the country with the child. The other guardian may have this notarized with their signature at a local bank before mailing it to you. Bring this with you on your trip.

  • Make sure you will have medical insurance coverage. Contact your medical insurance provider to see what your coverage will be out of country. Consider purchasing traveler's insurance for out of country coverage as well as other coverage for things such as trip delays or lost or stolen luggage. Call us for more details.

  • Review the packing list information. Make sure to purchase or obtain any items that you do not already have at least a week in advance. Ensure as well that all new clothing fits and that shoes are worked in! See our Adventure Gear page.

  • If you have chosen an active trip – begin to practice the activities before your trip. If you are doing a trek, go for an overnight hike on a previous weekend. Example: if you are kayaking, go out in a canoe or kayak on a lake to get the feel for balancing and paddling.

  • Read up on the destinations you will be visiting with the whole family. Pick one or two local attractions that you would like to include during any free time in each area. The easiest way to do this is to purchase a guidebook. We most recommend Lonely Planet and Insight Guidebooks.

  • Read your Adventure Life trip planning information packet that will arrive in the mail to you! This will have more particulars specific to your trip!

  • Compile your own packing list of essentials for your family. Follow one recommendation: if your kids can live without it, then leave it off the list! You’ll likely be grateful for the lighter bag as well the opportunity to try new things. See our tips for family packing additions.