Quick Travel Tip: Print Out Your Itinerary for International Trips

In January, I went to The Philippines. I printed out my hotel information, but not my flight itinerary. What was the point? I thought. I know when I’m leaving, what my flight number is, and there’s only one airport in Manila. However, when I got to the door of the airport, there were two things that were unusual. First of all, they scanned our luggage literally as we were walking in the door. It’s good that they do that, but it’s a slightly uncomfortable reminder of the violence that sometimes plagues that part of the world. The second unusual thing was that they asked for my itinerary. Well, I did not have it. I didn’t have a ticket printed out. I had no way of proving that I had business being in that airport. The guard really did not want to let me in at first, but after some fast talking and showing him my passport, he decided I wasn’t too much of a risk.

My friend Grace from Fly Gracefully told me a similar story about a different part of the world. One time, she was driving into Canada from New York. Because she was driving, she hadn’t thought to print out her itinerary. The Canadian border guards were very suspicious of Grace, driving into Canada with no proof that she intended to leave. For the future she had to get letters signed by her Canadian co-worker, stating what her business was. Crazy.

The moral of the story is that you need to print out your itinerary when traveling internationally, even if you never do it otherwise. Even if you are going to Canada. It’s just better to be safe than sorry.


  1. We flew from BKK-NRT last October as part of a trip around Asia over 2 weeks. When we checked in for the flight they asked to see our itinerary to ensure we had a flight booked out of the country.

    We were also told we would need that when we landed at NRT but were never asked.

  2. That happened to me a lot when I was traveling from France to the US (I have a French passport!). The immigration officers wanted to make sure I had a return ticket…

    I now use tripit to consolidate my itineraries and have the app installed on my blackberry. I wonder if that would be enough?

  3. Had to do this when I traveled in Delhi, India! Gandhi Airport requires you to present a printed itinerary and your passport– once at security outside the door of the airport, and once right inside. When traveling to/from foreign airports, better to be safe and bring extra information!

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