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Overseas Travel Checklist 2024: Essentials & Tips

As world-renowned celebrities like Coldplay, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran are making waves in the travel industry with their concert tours around the world, many of us are packing our luggages to catch these magnificent music shows and explore different travel destinations at the same time.


Whether you’re joining the fandoms of notable musicians or just travelling for leisure and business, you’ve got to make sure that you don’t miss out on your travel essentials as you book your flights in a whirl of excitement. Here’s a quick checklist to help you get ready for your vacations and business trips.

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7 Must-Have Travel Essentials Items List

  1. Travel insurance
  2. Approved passport and visa
  3. Credit cards and multi-currency wallets
  4. Accommodation and flight documents
  5. Connectivity gadgets and apps
  6. Travel-sized toiletries
  7. Travel-friendly First-Aid kit

Travel insurance

Although travel insurance is mostly not required to travel to many countries now, it is still strongly recommended. Having a travel insurance plan with adequate coverage will allow you claim for in-patient hospitalisation expenses overseas including medical, surgical, nursing or hospital charges, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage, so it’ll definitely prepare you better for such unexpected situations. If you have any pre-existing conditions or if you’re doing any extreme sports, make sure that your travel insurance covers those as well.

Approved passport and visa

Unless you’re from one of the countries which are on a visa-free entry agreement with that particular country you’re travelling to, you’ll have to apply for an e-visa or other types of relevant visa to travel to your preferred destination as a tourist or for business. The most common types of tourist visa are usually single entry visa, multiple entry visa and transit visa.


You’ll also need to remember to check the validity status of your passport to avoid being turned away at the airport and having to postpone or cancel your flight and accommodation bookings. The general rule of thumb is that your passport needs to have at least 6-months of validity before your date of departure. If it doesn’t you’ll need to renew your passport. You may want to refer to our guide on applying and renewing your passport here.

Credit cards and multi-currency wallets

Your go-to travel credit cards are definitely one of the things that you’ll pack in your travel wallet, because there's just many reasons to use your credit card overseas, whether it's clocking air miles, getting free flights, hotel stays, dining rewards, cashback, lowest fees, frequent flyer programme benefits or other benefits.


If you're shopping around for better travel credit cards, you may find MoneySmart's Best Credit Card for Overseas Spending page helpful for you to compare different credit cards and their perks. Do bear in mind the credit card foreign transaction fees and other administrative charges that you may have to pay for different cards, but many banks do offer discounts or waivers for foreign transaction fees, or you can compare multi-currency wallets and pick one that can help you avoid foreign currency transaction fees.

Accommodation and flight documents

You'll definitely need your personal identification cards such as your passport and driver's licence, whether it's for clearing immigration or for verification purposes at the accommodation you've booked.


Remember to print hard copies of the airline reservations, hotel confirmations and rental car details, just in case the soft copies in your phone can't be accessed due to a flat battery or connection issues.

Connectivity gadgets and apps

Power adaptors, Wi-Fi devices, translation and offline maps may be small stuff and can get easy to forget about, but you'll need them all the time when you travel as your mobile devices, cameras, and other electronic gadgets will probably need the extra energy for all the photography and videos taken, and you may need some guidance for navigation during your trip.


Note that different regions have different types of adaptors, do check international standards before your trip so that you'll know which device you should purchase to fit your charging cords


As for portable Wi-Fi, some rentable options include Yogofi by Travelwifi, Changi Wi-Fi, Y5buddy and Traveler-Wifi. These can help you stay connected as it is especially important in situations of emergencies, such as unexpected terrorist attacks or natural disasters.

Travel-sized toiletries

Travel-sized toiletries are convenient and help you adhere to airline regulations for liquids. Don't forget essentials like toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, and sunscreen.

Travel-friendly First-Aid kit

A compact first aid kit with band-aids, pain relievers, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary medications can be a lifesaver in unexpected situations.

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Travelling in 2024: What To Expect

Increase in travel airfare and airport fees

As demand for travel surges after the COVID-19 pandemic, we can expect airfares to soar to more than 8% by 2023 as per a recent report by the Global Business Travel Association.


Besides airfares, other fees like airport fees and levies (which we probably didn't really notice during the pre-pandemic period) will also increase.

Flight delays and lost baggage

Over the past months, airports in many countries have encountered flight disruptions and baggage issues which are caused by a manpower shortage worldwide.


With such situations becoming increasingly common, getting travel insurance plans which include flight disruption compensation when your flights get delayed, postponed or cancelled is especially important to prevent unnecessary costs.

Overcrowding and long queues

You can expect to queue for hours at check-in counters and immigration at airports around the world as overcrowding at airports is not an unusual sight nowadays.


The staff shortage at airports worldwide is one of the key reasons for this overcrowding problem as the demand for travel has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Mask-wearing as a norm

Wearing masks has become an option for travellers on many flights. However, depending on your destination and airline you’re flying with, it may or may not be mandatory to put on your masks throughout the flight and upon arrival at the airport. Do check with your airline on these mask requirements to avoid any penalties.

Higher demand for travel insurance

Whether it is single-trip travel insurance or annual multi-trip travel insurance plans, the demand for travel insurance has been increasing ever since COVID-19 pandemic period, with the global travel insurance market expected to reach USD 61.9 billion by 2030 as highlighted in this recent Global Travel Insurance Market 2023 research results featured on LinkedIn.

Rise of bleisure

According to new research and surveys by Booking.com for Business, more travellers are incorporating pockets of personal leisure time into their business trips. One of the ways which business travellers maximise their business trips is by extending their trips for leisure purposes like sightseeing, shopping, etc., as a tourist in that particular foreign country. Such flexibility has ​​been increasingly popular and could even result increase employee productivity and job satisfaction.

Compare The Best Travel Insurance In Singapore

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Bubblegum Travel Insurance

Med. Coverage (Overseas)
S$150,000
Trip Cancellation
S$5,000
Loss/Damage of Personal Baggage
S$3,000
Total Premium
Total PremiumS$30.3210% Off
S$27.29

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Providing affordable plans from as little as $4 a day for travel insurance, MoneySmart’s Bubblegum insurance mobile app enables you to get your travel insurance on the go wherever you are. You’ll also enjoy great flexibility by customising your plan with any optional add-ons, and get a quote in minutes.

For those who are into adventurous activities like scuba diving and hot air ballooning, such aspects are covered in Bubblegum’s travel insurance with no limit on depth or height.

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Starr TraveLead Comprehensive Silver

Med. Coverage (Overseas)
S$500,000
Trip Cancellation
S$10,000
Loss/Damage of Baggage
S$5,000
Total Premium
Total PremiumS$37.245% Off
S$20.46

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Highly customisable with 4 optional riders available, Starr TraveLead Travel’s range of travel insurance plans gives you great flexibility to choose the type of coverage that suits you best.

You’ll be able to personalise either its Bronze, Silver or Gold plan that includes coverage for in and outpatient treatments abroad, personal accident benefit of up to $500,000 for accidental death and disablement, COVID-19 medical expenses, and many more. 

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FWD Business

Med. Coverage (Overseas)
S$500,000
Trip Cancellation
S$10,000
Loss/Damage of Baggage
S$5,000
Total Premium
Total PremiumS$27.7335% Off
S$18.02

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FWD has been providing some of the most affordable travel insurance plans with low premiums in Singapore. You can look forward to FWD’s cashless medical claim service, 180-day advance purchase, emergency medical evacuation and many other benefits which are included in their Premium, Business and First travel insurance plans.

Moreover, each plan comes with an optional COVID-19 Enhanced Travel Benefits add-on that covers up to $100,000 in COVID-19 medical expenses incurred during/after the trip.

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Allianz Travel Silver

Med. Coverage (Overseas)
S$500,000
Trip Cancellation
S$5,000
Loss/Damage of Baggage
S$3,000
Total Premium
Total PremiumS$4656% Off
S$20.24

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Valid until 27 Feb 2024

With one of the best medical coverage of up to $1,000,000 in the market, Allianz Travel Insurance’s plans consist of 3 tiers, namely the Allianz TravelBronze, Allianz Travel Silver and Allianz Travel Platinum.

Besides being able to claim for medical expenses incurred during/after your trip, you can opt for coverage of sporting activities that include search and rescue coverage of up to $10,000 for activities like trekking and diving (exclusively for Allianz’s Silver and Platinum plans), and other aspects like Passport and ID card protection and money cover.

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MSIG TravelEasy Elite

Med. Coverage (Overseas)
S$500,000
Trip Cancellation
S$10,000
Loss/Damage of Baggage
S$5,000
Total Premium
Total PremiumS$52.540% Off
S$31.50

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 Eskimo Global 1GB eSIM worth USD7 with every policy purchased. T&Cs apply.
 
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Being the few insurers in Singapore that provides travel insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, MSIG has the TravelEasy Pre-Ex® add-on that can supplement its TravelEasy® Standard, Elite, and Premier plans.

All their plans include overseas and post-trip medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, replacement of traveller coverage, coverage for insolvency of licensed travel operator, extreme sports coverage, delayed departure and more.

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AIG Travel Guard® Direct - Basic

Overseas Medical Expenses
S$100,000
Travel Cancelation / Postponement
S$5,000
Loss/Damage of Personal Baggage
S$3,000
Premium
S$30

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Bonus Travel Tips

Get a multi-currency account

When you use a multi-currency account, you’ll be able to convert your currency without having to pay dynamic currency conversion fees.

For example, you can exchange SGD with certain currencies that you want when the exchange rates are favourable, deposit that money into your account and use your debit card for your shopping overseas. This will help you save some money on currency conversion and foreign exchange fees.

Pay in overseas currency when abroad

Dynamic currency conversion fees may increase your credit card bills if you choose to pay in SGD for anything that you buy overseas.


So you’d rather pay in overseas currency to avoid any currency conversion fees and at the same time gain potential cashback, rewards or miles if that particular credit card you own offers any of such benefits.

Tap on useful travel apps

If you don’t speak the native language at the destination you’re visiting, Google Translate is a must-have in your library of apps as it will help you communicate with locals who aren't proficient in English.


Besides Google Maps, Maps.me is another great alternative to have as it allows you to download area maps that you can access without Wi-Fi or data.

Flexible “pay later” option for accommodations

Some hotel booking sites provide a "book now, pay later" option, but the mechanics may vary from website to website, or from hotel to hotel.


Some charge your credit card at a later date (but before your stay begins), while others require you to make payment to the hotel directly when you check in.

Rent a car

When you use a multi-currency account, you’ll be able to convert your currency without having to pay dynamic currency conversion fees.

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is usually required for Singaporeans to drive in certain countries. It is considered illegal to drive without an original IDP, so if you forget to apply for one, car rental companies won’t rent cars to you.


Also, if you are going to a rural part of a country and will be renting a car, ensure that your travel insurance provides rental car excess cover.

Avoid credit card fraud

When you use a multi-currency account, you’ll be able to convert your currency without having to pay dynamic currency conversion fees.


In some destinations, although crime rates may be low, there could be occasional reports of foreigners being targeted for credit card fraud and extortion in popular tourist districts. So stay alert and keep yourself updated with the latest news on the situation in the country you’re flying to.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I claim for flight delays with my travel insurance?

Yes, only if you have purchased a travel insurance plan which includes flight disruption compensation when your flights get delayed, postponed or cancelled.

Is travel insurance necessary for travel now?

Although travel insurance is mostly not required to travel to many countries now, it is still strongly recommended. Having a travel insurance plan with adequate coverage will allow you to claim for medical and hospitalisation expenses, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation and more, so it’ll definitely prepare you better for such unexpected situations.

Do I need an IDP when driving overseas?

This depends on the driving regulations of the country you’re travelling to. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is usually required for foreigners to drive in certain countries. In these countries, it is considered illegal to drive without an original IDP, so if you forget to apply for one, car rental companies there won’t rent cars to you.

What are credit card foreign transaction fees?

Each foreign transaction fee is made of 3 parts - a fee that is charged by a credit card network i.e. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay, etc, and another fee that is charged by your card issuer company i.e. DBS, UOB, Citibank, OCBC, etc, and the third component which is the dynamic currency conversion fee (only if you pay in SGD instead of overseas currency).

Can I get waivers for credit card foreign transaction fees?

Yes, there are many credit cards that offer discounts or waivers of foreign transaction fees, but you’ll have to call in or email or log into your account with your credit card issuing bank to request for it.

Should I pay in full upon my hotel booking or pay later?

It depends on what discounts are available for different timing of payment. To enjoy certain hotel booking discounts, you may be required to make payment in full at the point of booking. Certain hotel booking sites do offer a "book now, pay later" option, but the mechanics may vary from website to website, even from hotel to hotel.

Some charge your credit card at a later date (but before your stay begins), while others require you to make payment to the hotel directly when you check in. Check the T&Cs of the promotion to be sure.

What is a multi-currency account?

A multi-currency account is one of the many types of accounts that banks offer. With a multi-currency account, you’ll be able to convert your currency without having to pay dynamic currency conversion fees.