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  • TheWayToItaly

International travel documents: what to bring and how to keep them safe

Planning for your Italy dream vacation can be so exciting — where you’re going to stay, what you’ll see, the shows you’ll take in, all the amazing food you’ll eat.

But what about all your travel documents? Are they all in order? What new documents do I need for post-pandemic travel?

Here’s a list of everything you currently need to travel to Italy (from the United States or Canada), plus practical tips on how to keep everything organized, safe, and accessible.

  • Your passport. This is the big one. Make sure it hasn't expired and is within six months of being expired. And don’t forget passports for your kid(s)! Yes, children need passports as well.

  • The passenger locator form. If you have ever flown internationally, this locator form is similar to the Customs card we used to fill out on the plane and had to submit to the Customs Control Agent on arrival. Due to COVID, it is all digital. You go online, fill out the information like where you are from, where you are going, passport number, etc. This is done 24 hours before you depart. Here is the link for that document:

  • Your vaccination card. It must have your full vaccination shots documented by the CDC (the last shot being at least 14 days prior to arrival)

  • Negative COVID test. Ask at any pharmacy (appointments usually required) for an “antigenic or molecular swab.” It has to be taken within 48-72 hours prior to ARRIVAL in Italy.

Here are other items that aren't mandatory to get into Italy, but helpful to have whenever you travel abroad.

  • Originals and paper copies of your tickets (plane, train, bus, etc.) and confirmation numbers (hotel reservations, car rental, etc.), and all contact info for these companies. If you use a travel agent/agency they provide all of these in the itinerary document they provide to you. *Almost everything these days can be stored digitally on your phone. I always make copies as a back to when my phone dies or gets hung up, loses its charge, gets lost or stolen, etc.

  • Travel insurance policy number and accompanying information. My favorite (and highly recommended worldwide) travel insurance.

  • A copy of your travel itinerary.

  • Your international driver’s license if you plan to drive.

  • Contact info for all the people you would want/need to contact in case of an emergency (including me if I booked for you!). Don’t forget the numbers of the consulates where you’ll be staying. All these numbers can be stored in your phone, as well — simply designate a consistent label for them (like “Italy 2022”) for easy access, and they can be easily deleted when your trip is done.

  • Copies — front and back — of any credit cards you’ll be taking with you.

  • Copy of your passport. I keep the paper copy with me at all times and a photo of my passport on my phone. I keep my original passport secured safely in my accommodations (hotel, b&b, apartment, etc.).

When you’ve assembled all the essential documents/copies, the first thing you should do is check to make sure your name appears the same on all documents. This may seem like a small thing, but it can be a big hassle during travel if your names don’t match.

Next, scan the papers and send them in an email to yourself and to your emergency contact(s).

Choose a family member or close friend who will be your representative while you’re away and who can have access to major accounts if needed. This way, you have a trustworthy contact available any time, and there is someone who always knows where you are.

Store copies of your major travel documents (passports, tickets, reservations, etc.) in a waterproof plastic zip bag and in a separate piece of luggage from the originals. It’s stressful enough to have your passport stolen — but having it stolen from the same bag where all the copies are is even worse. When you’re out sightseeing, always carry the essential documents on your person, ideally in a waterproof carrier that can be worn under your clothing.

Once you get all this info in order, you can travel with confidence, knowing you’re covered in the event of the unexpected. And — bonus! — you’ll have laid the groundwork for future trips.

To start planning your trip today, contact me by clicking here. I look forward to hearing from you!

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