Packing can be one of the most frustrating elements of traveling. It doesn’t seem to matter if it is your first trip or your 10th, you always seem to miss something. We put together this ultimate packing list to help you avoid those packing mistakes on your next trip.
The Perfect Packing Checklist
It is important to note that we compiled this ultimate travel packing list from 10 years of being professional travelers and bloggers. The goal of this packing list is to provide you with packing tips that will allow you to travel as efficiently and as comfortably as possible.
Travel Packing List for Luggage
Choosing what type of luggage you are going to use is a personal choice. We have used everything from hi-tech wheeled luggage to the latest backpacks. These are our top recommendations for checked luggage and carry-on luggage that is durable and lightweight.
Aluminum Roller – Known as the Rolls Royce of Luggage, Sterling Pacific is the top choice for luxury travelers, frequent fliers, and pilots. Its aluminum body is lightweight and the Italian leather handles give it extra points for style. Plus it has a lifetime warranty.
4 Wheeled Roller: Our yellow Voyageur Check-In 28 turned heads. We didn’t worry about anyone mixing up our bags on the conveyor belt with our unique color and design. We found the 28-inch a bit too large, but you can order 24? or 26?. But with the large handle and ultra-quite 360° spinner wheels it was super easy to navigate through the airport
Carry-on Roller: Pro Carry-on with Laptop Pocket by Level8. We felt so chic going through the airport with these hard cases and modern design and it was easy to pop out my laptop and documents right from the front hard case pocket when going through security.
Travel Backpack: If you are heading to destinations that are less developed, you are going to want a reliable backpack. You will want something in the 55L size and it should be comfortable on your back. We recommend the Osprey Fairpoint for men and the Osprey Fairview for women.
Rolling Duffel Bag Eagle Creek Rolling Duffel – Duffel bags are lightweight and durable for rough terrain. We like the separate compartments for hiking boots and how it can still look elegant when going into higher-end hotels.
Messenger Bag Travelon Antitheft Messenger Bag – Deb carries an over-the-shoulder bag that crosses over her body. It keeps valuables secure from any snatch and grabs and the RFID component helps with any cyber security.
Carry-on Backpack – We’ve recently started using this carry-on backpack by Standard Luggage. The 3 in 1 bag turns into a backpack, suitcase, and shoulder bag to suit your needs. It meets all airline cabin rules which is a bonus and expand from 35 – 45 L. Plus, it’s water resistant to help keep valuable electronics and camera gear safe.
In addition to your luggage, you are going to want to keep everything organized.
Organizing Your Luggage
The first thing you will want to purchase will be packing cubes. These are lightweight compression bags that can help you separate your different types of clothes and keep your bag organized.
- Other recommendations are:
Pro Tip: When checking in at the airport, take your computers out of your carry-on bag and put them in a collapsible tote bag (we fold it in the front pocket of our carry-on.) That way it lightens your load should you be weighed, but it doesn’t look like an extra piece of luggage.
Travel Packing Lists for Clothes
Packing clothes can be the most confusing and frustrating experiences of all. What we have learned over the past 10 years fo traveling is to have a base set of close, or capsule wardrobe, consisting of pieces that can be mixed and matched. We then add on from there depending on the length of the trip, the weather at the destination, and if we are going carry-on only or not.
Capsule Wardrobe for Women
- 1x Travel Skirt
- 1x Convertible Pants
- 2x Casual Pants (Usually 1 pair of leggings and 1 pair of pants that can be dressed up or down)
- 1x Long-Sleeved Shirt (I may add one depending on the cultural norms of the country I am visiting.)
- 4x Short-Sleeved Shirts or Blouses
- 2x Shorts
- 1x Bathing Suit
- 1x Merino Wool Sweater or Fleece
- 4-6x Sports Bras and Underwear
- 1- Dress/Sundress
- 2 Pairs of Shoes (1 casual pair and 1 hiking pair)
- 4x Pairs of Socks (At least 2 are Merino Wool Hiking Socks)
Travel Accessories for Her
Capsule Wardrobe for Men
- 1x Long Sleeve Shirt
- 3x Short Sleeve Shirts
- 2x Convertable Pants
- 1x Lightweight pant or jeans
- 2x Shorts (1 doubles as a bathing suit)
- 4-6 Exofficio Underwear
- 4x Pairs of Socks (At least 2 are Merino Wool)
- 1x Merino Wool Sweater
- 2x Pairs of Shoes (1 casual and 1 for hiking)
Travel Accessories for Him
Pro Tip: If you are looking for a winter vacation planning list make sure to check out our How to Dress for Cold Weather article.
Checklist for Packing Toiletries
No travel packing list worth its weight would be complete without a comprehensive checklist for packing your toiletries. The first step is to make sure you have a good toiletry bag. We use this one as it is spacious, light, and hangs on the back of any door. To make it easier for you we have broken down to the travel essentials and the extras.
What to pack in your Toiletry Kit – Toiletry Essential Checklist
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shampoo and Conditioner (We transfer ours in GoToobes for easier storage)
- Tweezers and Nail Clippers
- Hand Sanitizer
- Gold Bond Medicated Powder (for hot climates)
- Face/Body Moisturizer
- Chapstick/Lip Balm
- Prescription Medication
Toiletry Extras Checklist
- Hair products like hairspray and hair gel
- Travel Mirror
- Shaving Kit and razors
- Pegless Clothesline
- Travel Towel
- Hairbrush or Tangle Teezer
- Toothbrush Sanitizer
Read: 7 Tips for Stress-Free Travel – here you will find a travel packing list of what we take in our care package on
Packing Checklist for Electronics
When it comes to electronics there are a lot of variables that will determine what you take and what you leave at home. In today’s day and age, there are certain things that everyone will want to take with them, and most of them will fit easily into your carry-on luggage. This checklist for packing electronics will give you the tools to bring back great memories and pack as light as possible.
- World Travel Adaptor: Each country that you visit may have a different plug configuration. This adaptor has you covered for every country.
- Belkin Mini Surge Protector: This is one piece of electronics we don’t leave home without. It protects your electronics against surges, has 3 plugs and 2 USB outlets for charging.
- iPhone/Smartphone: We use the iPhone 11 Pro.: Almost a necessity in today’s world, a smartphone can come in handy in so many ways. You can use it as a camera, a place to store your itineraries and keep friends and family up to date on Social Media.
- Travel Camera: Our recommendation would be the Sony RX100 VII: A good camera that fits in your pocket should be on everyone’s travel checklist. We recommend one that is small, lightweight, and can fit in your pocket.
- Noise Cancelling Headphones: If you want to get any sleep on a plane or bus ride these are essential. We use Beats Studio 3 but some people prefer earbuds. Whichever you choose make sure they are good quality to drown out all that noise.
- Portable Power Bank: The last thing you want to do is run out of power for your electronics when you are on the road. We carry a portable power back that keeps all of our electronics charged.
- Memory Cards: Always pack spare memory cards so you don’t run out of space when you want to capture that perfect shot.
- E-Reader or Kindle: If you are into books this is something you will want to add to your packing list.
- Laptop (This is for extended trips): We carry one everywhere as that is our business. We recommend you pack one for longer trips or if you are into taking a lot of photos and videos like us. We recommend the MacBook Air for most people.
- External Hard Drive: Plan on taking a lot of videos and photos? Make sure you back them up so if something happens you don’t lose all your precious memories.
- Drone: We use the Mavic Pro 2: Add a whole new element to your memories with a drone. We have been using one for years and love it.
- Portable Bluetooth Speaker: If you love music as much as we do you have to pack one of these for some tunes in your hotel room.
- Travel Tripod: Whether it be for selfies or night photography you will be glad you have on in your bag for those unique situations.
Are you into Travel Photography? Make sure to check out my Travel Photography Gear Guide and find out what is in my camera bag.
Packing List for Comfort
If there is one thing we have learned after all of these years is that a little comfort goes a long way. Especially when you are traveling on airplanes and busses. By adding these travel accessories to your packing list you can rest assured you will be comfortable. All of these have been tested on long plane, train and bus rides so you know that they work.
- Travel Pillow: After flying over 500,000 miles we have found the Trtl Neck travel pillow to be the best travel pillow out there. It is comfortable, gives great supports, and takes up almost no room in your bag.
- Eye Mask and Ear Plugs: No plane flight would be complete without these. The Pretty Care Eye mask is what we recommend. IT doesn’t rest on your eyes, is padded, and blocks out all light.
- Foldable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated on the plane is paramount to feeling refreshed when you arrive at your destination. WE fill this up after security so we always have water on the plane with us.
- Sarong: We have found that plane blankets just don’t cut it. That is why we always have a sarong with us on the plane if the air is a little too cold and you want to bundle up.
- Chapstick and hand moisturizer: WE all know how dry the plane gets. I pack this moisturizing kit so that my hands and face stay moisturized throughout the flight.
- Flight Flap Phone and Tablet Holder: WE discovered this last year and fell in love with it. No more sore necks from watching movies on your phone and tablet. This hangs on the back of the seat so you can watch in comfort.
- Travel Socks: I started using compression socks because they prevent DVT. I know more than a few people who have gotten DVT and this can be very serious. Compression socks help prevent blood clots and are highly recommended.
Packing List for First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is an essential piece of travel gear. We have an extensive first aid kit as we do a lot of adventures, but most people can get by with the essentials. You can buy pre-made first aid kits. This compact first aid kit is a good start but it is just as easy to make one at home from your medicine cabinet. That way you only pack what you need.
- Prescription Medication – with a photocopy of our prescriptions
- Insect repellent
- Advil or Tylenol for pain relief
- Gravol – for nausea
- Benadryl and Claritin – For allergic reactions
- Allergy Eyedrops
- Imodium – for mild diarrhea
- Rehydration tablets and electrolyte tables – in case of dehydration or severe diarrhea.
- Topical Ointment like Polysporin or prescription Fucidin Cream – For cuts and scrapes
- Antiseptic spray – it’s important to clean cuts quickly, especially in tropical climates.
- Moleskin – protects your skin from blisters.
- Do you want to be prepared for every travel emergency? Check out our Ultimate First Aid Kit Packing List.
Keeping your essential travel documents in order and organized can really take the stress out of travel. Using a travel organizer allows you to all the things you need in one convenient place.
- Passport and Visas- Make sure to have an electronic copy of both in case yours gets lost.
- Personal ID like a drivers license
- Bank cards, Credit Cards. Keep a contact number for your bank and credit card companies in your phone for emergencies.
- Emergency cash: We suggest 1 days worth of USD.
- Frequent Flier cards
- Travel Insurance documents, policy number, and contact information.
- Immunization records if needed.
- Itineraries or reservations- either printed out or stored in an app like Tripit.
- Boarding passes
- Emergency contact information.
- Guide book or maps- in either hard copy or digital copy.
Travel security is something we should all take seriously. Most problems tend to occur in bigger cities and in the form of pickpockets or petty theft. If you add these items to the travel packing list it might help deter would-be thieves.
- RFID Wallet: Protects against RFID Skimming, which is a form of theft using wireless transmitters to gain information to your credit and debit card identification chips. They can do it just by walking by.
- Money belt or neck wallet: We used these in the early days and they can be useful in the big cities where there are a lot of pickpockets.
- PacSafe Luggage Lock: This is perfect if you are staying in hostels or guesthouses.
- Luggage tracker: Give you peace of mind and lets you track your luggage if it gets lost.
More Anti-Theft Suggestions: If you want to get more in-depth about protecting your valuables when you travel check out THE BEST ANTI THEFT TRAVEL BAGS AND ACCESSORIES
Regardless of whether you are going on an extended trip or just a 2 week vacation there are a few things you are going to want to do before you board the plane. We have a complete pre-travel checklist that you can see here.
- Call your banks and credit card companies to tell them of your travel plans. This will avoid cards being flagged for purchases in another country.
- Check baggage restrictions
- Check to see if there are any Visa requirements
- Check Immunization requirements
- Leave flight and travel itineraries with a friend or relative.
- Check-in online or check flight information before leaving for the airport.
And there you have it. Our complete international travel packing list. We have done our best to answer all your travel packing questions and give you some packing tips that you can use on your next vacation. After years of traveling around the world, we hope that our extensive experience helps you when you are deciding what to pack for your next big adventure.
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Looking for more packing tips?
If you liked our ultimate travel packing list, why not check out some other great packing lists and travel tips travel that will be sure to help you out on your next trip.
- The Ultimate Camping Packing List: All the essentials you will need for your next camping trip.
- The Ultimate European Vacation Packing List: Great packing tips for your next trip to Europe.
- The Only Pre-Travel Checklist You Will Ever Need Everything you will need to do before you head to the airport for your next vacation.
- The Best Anti Theft Travel Bags and Accessories: Tips and recommendations on what you need to stay organized while traveling.
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What else would you add to our travel packing list? Add them in the comments below.
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