Preparation is an important part of any trip, and packing can be stressful for some travelers. While the contents of your suitcase may change depending on the unique purpose and destination, there are a few key travel documents you’ll want to ensure are always with you, no matter where your travels take you.
What travel documents do you need for a trip?
Driver’s license, passport, and travel visa
These documents are required for most forms of travel. While passports and travel visas are commonly associated with international travel, domestic travelers may want to consider packing a passport even while traveling within the U.S. Learn how passports and passport cards work.
Beginning in May 2025, domestic travelers must have a Real ID, an identification card that meets the standards laid out by the U.S. government in the Real ID Act of 2005. The Real ID driver’s license looks very similar to your current driver’s license, except it includes a new star icon on the top right corner. For travelers without a Real ID, a valid passport or TSA-approved ID is an acceptable alternative for domestic travel.
Copies of all identification documents for travel
Having photocopies of your important travel documents can save you a headache if you lose your important travel documents. Keep your original documents in your carry-on or personal item. You can store one copy of these identification documents in each checked bag.
These copies can help you in multiple situations. Did you lose your original identification? You’ve got copies to get you new ones—or get you home. Did you lose a bag? The airline or tour group has extra identification to prove that it is your luggage. It’s also recommended to make digital copies of your travel documents. Leave the copies at home with a trusted loved one who can help if you need access while away.
Travel itinerary details
Whether you have only one reservation or several, you’ll want to keep copies of your itinerary with all your other documents for travel. Keeping a copy of your itinerary with your travel documents can help in myriad ways. We particularly recommend having digital and hard copies as proof that you already paid for a flight or hotel to avoid any questions if you arrive and there’s a problem with your reservation.
If you purchased tickets for an event or tour, if you pick up your tickets at will call, you’ll want documentation showing that you already paid for the event. If you’re traveling with the actual tickets, you can also bring proof of purchase as a backup. If you need to call your travel insurance company for any reason, you’ll have all the details to explain the situation without hesitation.
Travel insurance plan details
While a hard copy of your travel insurance certificate can often be very long (30-60 pages depending on the plan), you may be glad to have a copy if you need to refer to the fine print of your policy due to a stressful situation. Most travel insurance companies have a mobile app that can hold your travel insurance plan information. So, you’ll have all the information you need to call them and start the claims process. Many companies will email your certificate to you.
You can keep this file handy in your email or download the PDF to your smartphone. If you download the file before you leave home, you won’t need a data plan or wireless internet to access it. Learn more about how travel insurance works.