Travelling to a New Country Checklist

Travelling to a new Country Checklist
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I’m finding it hard to believe the words I am about to type, because this destination has been on my radar for, oh, you know, FOREVER. Many of you will already know (I’ve never been good at keeping secrets) that the newest country I have checked off my travel list is Norway – the land of fjords, cute little cabins and really lovely people.

It has been a while since I’ve approached a new country (having ticked off about 70 so far in my 25 years of living), so I’ve reverted back to old habits and wound up overly prepared for this trip. Which, might I add, is never a bad thing.

Thus I’ve teamed up with Australia Post to show you how easy it can be to travel to a new country – so long as you know what you’re up for! Below you’ll find a mega travelling to a new country checklist to ensure your trip kicks off with ease!

Travelling to a new Country Checklist

Do your research

First things first: passport, visas, vaccinations. You can’t go anywhere without checking these requirements first, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve slipped up once or twice on these bare necessities. Be sure to check the validity of your passport (each country has different requirements regarding expiry date and empty pages), whether or not your Nationality requires a visa, and whether or not you require any vaccinations. I find the best tool to cover all three in Australia is

If you’re completely new to travel or (like my travel companion – my mum) haven’t travelled in a while, applying for a passport should be the starting point of any traveller’s checklist. But don’t be scared off the process of filling out forms and (not) smiling for the camera – in Australia we’re lucky to have a super easy application process! All you gotta do is head in to Australia Post to pick up the forms, submit them in person and grab a photo while you’re there. I have found the staff at any Australia Post office really helpful in making sure you only have to submit your forms + photos once and you’re good to go!

  Travelling to a new Country Checklist

Register on smart traveller for travel alerts

While you’re there, if you’re a first time traveller, nervous traveller, or just like being extra cautious, I would suggest you sign up for email alerts on world happenings and changes to the safety status of a country you intend to visit. While this isn’t mandatory or always necessary, it is a great way to have piece of mind as following world events whilst travelling is often one of your last priorities!
  Travelling to a new Country Checklist

Australia Post foreign cash services

Now that you’ve got all of the paperwork out of the way, its time for the fun stuff! One of my favourite things in the lead up to travelling to a new country is to see a new currency for the first time (I know I know, I’m a bit of a geek!) Ever since I can remember my mum and I have purchased currency in advance from Australia Post, who have just launched WAY more currencies on offer to pre-order online and pick up in store. Years ago I couldn’t get Polish zloty this way; now I can. Perfect timing in the lead up to my trip to Norway!

After a bit of a facelift, the Australia Post Foreign Cash services now offer more than 60 currencies online with a $0 commission to purchase foreign cash. This means you can arrive in a new country cashed up and ready to go, without paying any commissions or being ripped off when you’re overseas. I would also recommend familiarising yourself with the exchange rate so that when you land, you know exactly how much you’re paying before you hand over your cash.


Bookings: book tickets, accommodation & day tours 

If you haven’t already purchased your plane tickets, accommodation and day tours, now is the time to do so. This is especially important if you are travelling in peak times as accommodation prices hike and if you get in early, you can get a good deal.

The Finer Details 

What camera is best for travel? Should I use wi-fi or a sim? How do you deal with language barriers? Are all questions I am very used to answering and very used to dealing with. Let all be revealed!

For my travel camera I use two: an Olympus PEN E-PL7 for short clip videos and an Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II for all photography.

For connecting overseas I’m a sucked for free wi-fi, though in this day and age you can get some really good deals on phone connection.

My best packing tip is to pack your bags and then take half out. You’ll only wear one pair of jeans each day, so why do you need three pairs!?

The best way to beat jet lag is to switch to your new time zone as early as possible. Thus if you’re flying to Europe from Australia, don’t sleep on the plane until it is nighttime in your new destination.

The best way to beat a language barrier is to hit it head on: using a few key words and phrases before you switch to English with a nervous laugh!

If you are travelling with dietary requirements, fear not. Research restaurants and cafes in advance and make them a destination to visit on your itinerary!

Brooke Saward in Stockholm


Last but never least — start planning, pinning, researching and mapping out all the fun things you will do – half the fun in travel is planning the whole thing!




Thanks to Australia Post for inspiring this “Traveller’s Checklist” in light of their expanded foreign cash services! I am finding it more and more easy to travel to new countries and hope this helps you to, too!

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    September 29, 2016 at 1:44 am

    Great Checklist! Love it

    Stephanie Craig
    September 20, 2016 at 1:50 am

    Great tips!

    I find melatonin is a godsend for Jetlag!

    Happy Travels

    September 15, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Love this one. Didn’t realise that about avoiding jet lag because I haven’t been far enough to really feel the effects. A 3.5 hour difference was the most I had to endure. Will keep it in mind for when I go to Canada!

    September 14, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    My favourite part – get excited! I always find it so hard to get excited in the lead up to an overseas jaunt, because there always seems like there is so much to do! (Both at work and at home) But once I get to the airport and check in, that big smile creeps over my face and I can finally relax and get excited for what’s to come, haha.

    September 14, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Great checklist!

    I’m looking to travel solo by the end of 2017 for a year, I can’t wait! Do you travel solo much, how do you find it?

    Liam 🙂

    September 14, 2016 at 1:35 am

    very nice and inspiring post..

    Gracious Store
    September 13, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Great travel checklist. very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    September 13, 2016 at 2:15 am

    This post is very helpful, thank you! 🙂

    the adventurer
    September 12, 2016 at 12:14 am

    I love planning new adventures! It’s definitely half the fun, planning and organizing where you are going =o) Great post!

    September 11, 2016 at 1:12 am

    Omgosh this is so handy!
    So many new places i want to visit- including Norway!
    Jabeen x

    Randell Green
    September 10, 2016 at 1:33 am

    “Half the fun of traveling is the planning” – I totally agree, I love researching places, and even reading historical facts about each place I go.

    Jayne Clymer
    September 9, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Brooke I can’t wait to read your book! Our friend that we went to visit in Melbourne and Lili Pilli our coming to Cali to visit us next month and they are bringing your book to me! Soooo excited!!

    • Brooke Saward
      September 9, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Aww Jayne! <3 you may just be the first in the US to see it then! I'm not sure when it will be available there - so far just know when it arrives in Aus 😀 so excited!!!! xxx

    September 8, 2016 at 5:35 am

    Really good list ! Of course my favorite one is the last part ! 😉

    Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Kenza from

    September 7, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Another fab article Brooke! Dying to get m hands on yo book!! EEEP!
    xx Hayley

    September 7, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Thank you for sharing. Great tips!

    September 7, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Researching is probably my favorite part! I love looking at the photos and imagining how I am going to take photos when I get there haha. Thanks for sharing some great tips:)

    September 7, 2016 at 5:14 am

    Love reading your posts, they inspire me so much!
    Sam from

    September 7, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Good ideas. Thanks! Norway is also on my bucket list!

    • Brooke Saward
      September 7, 2016 at 7:09 am

      It was SO incredible!!

    Katie @ the tea break project
    September 7, 2016 at 2:09 am

    Good tips! I love the excitement of visiting a new country, and I’m always tempted to get caught up in the fun parts of planning (the maps and pins and photos etc) rather than doing the necessary logistical stuff. Then again, there’s always a great feeling of satisfaction once you’ve managed to navigate all the logistics successfully – without booking accommodation for the wrong night (guilty!) or forgetting to change your currency (also guilty)!

    September 7, 2016 at 1:31 am

    Great all-inclusive post. I would include something about preparing yourself culturally. Learn a lil about the history and culture, it will help you a lot to make friends and enjoy a deep experience when you get there. And if you are going to a place that speaks a language that is new to you, buy a notebook and keep track of the most important everyday phrases you may need when you get there. Even in countries with a big tourism industry and a lot of English speakers, people really respond when you make the effort to speak their native tongue.

    September 7, 2016 at 12:53 am

    I love reading your adventures! I hope one day soon to have one of my own (Iceland, South Africa, Thailand to name a few!). Thank you for the inspiration!
    P.S. What kind of headphones are those pictured above? So cute!


    September 6, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    I just realized I have to take some serious notes from this article. Great job btw! I did not know any of this stuff except for checking time zone, country security, metros and currency. Thanks!

    Enchi from

    Gaven Ollington
    September 6, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Hey Brooke, love your travel ideas and experiences. Mum and I are going to England next year and visiting a few other countries. Must run in the family. Gaven Ollington

    September 6, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Nice list, I have a tendency to be overly prepared as well..:)

    I see you have a citymap of my hometown, Stavanger! Did you get to visit during your stay in Norway?

    Greetings from Norway!

    Taste of France
    September 6, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Rather than a coffee cup, I would take a big plastic water bottle with a sports top. You take it EMPTY through security and fill it in a restroom or drinking fountain before boarding. You have plenty of water during your flight, in a container that won’t spill on you (or more importantly your laptop). Also useful during your travels–nobody wants to pay $4 for a little bottle of water in some tourist trap.
    Other tip: if you want to see a popular sight–the Statue of Liberty, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower–buy tickets online before you leave. Some of these things have limited capacity and you don’t want to find out once you’re there that they’re sold out (the Louvre doesn’t sell out but you reduce the time to stand in line).

    Yun Zhang
    September 6, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    “My best packing tip is to pack your bags and then take half out. You’ll only wear one pair of jeans each day, so why do you need three pairs!?” So true!! Thanks for sharing the great tips!

    • Brooke Saward
      September 6, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      So true though hey! Thanks Yun 🙂

    September 6, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks a lot for sharing this helpful checklist!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena