If you’re anything like me, you probably d r e a d packing for a trip. I always put it off until the last minute, and then, unfortunately, I forget essentials because of my procrastination (oops). Because of this, I wanted to put together a generalized, but detailed, packing list so we can all step up our packing game together. The lists I’ve put together will help you survive local or international trips that are 1-3 weeks in length. Print this out and put check marks by things while you’re packing so you can stay super organized!
Also, one of my biggest tips is to remember to try to cut down as much as possible. Leave the blow-dryer and the extra pair of wedges at home- you’ll thank me when you have room for all of the wonderful souvenirs!
- Passport– Gotta stay stylish while traveling, ya know? I keep my passport in this beautiful, personalized, leather passport holder while traveling. (Featured in above photo courtesy of Always Rooney)
- Another form of ID– -I recommend bringing along your driver’s license as a backup.
- Train, plane, cruise tickets– This is an obvious one, but probably one of the most important things to not forget.
- Small amount of cash– Usually, $20 US dollars will work. If you can easily get your hands on some local currency of the place you’re traveling to, that’s even better!
- Vaccine Documents– Bring these with you to prevent confusion if you need a doctor’s visit while abroad. Some countries also require these in order to enter. I just tuck my records away in my passport cover.
- Journal– Even if you’re not the journaling type, you should bring one!
- Emergency phone numbers– Whether you store these in your phone or write them down, I recommend keeping track of embassy contacts in each country you’re visiting, emergency family contacts, the number of your hotel or hostel, and the contacts of any locals you may know.
- Paper and email copies of important documents– In case you lose your passport, vaccine records, or anything else, you’ll definitely want to have copies of them. I usually just take pictures of everything and email it to myself with the subject line, “TRAVEL DOCUMENTS”. This way, it is all digital and cannot be lost.
- Travel money belt– This one is just a preference, but I love having this under my clothes in certain countries so I won’t lose anything important.
Picking out which clothing items you’re going to want and need for a long trip is always the HARDEST. If you’re like me, it is always an internal debate of “What if?”, “I need options!”, and “I can’t leave behind this”. One tip I have for packing less is to stick to plain, neutral clothing that can be matched with anything. My boyfriend gives me the hardest time for owning so many plain v-necks, but heck, they go with jeans, skirts, and under sweaters! So pack your essentials that can be paired with different garments to look like completely new outfits. Try bringing a scarf or funky necklaces if this feels too plain for you.
Also, keep in mind that if you’re going on an outdoorsy trip or a lengthy trip, you may want to bring items you’d be okay throwing away/ donating at some point of the trip. This clears up your luggage for more souvenirs, and you’ll probably be sick of wearing the same worn down shirts for weeks anyway. So, just make sure you don’t bring your favorite sweater. ;)
- Multitude of underwear– When I backpacked around Europe, the best decision I made was to pack like 30 pairs of underwear (don’t judge). When you can’t be frequently washing clothes, having an excess of underwear helps SO MUCH — trust me.
- Sneakers for walking around town– I just ordered these Navy New Balances, and I’m pumped to pair them with jeans, shorts, or a casual dress! I love wearing sneakers for comfort, but they’re also trendy now (luckily).
- 1-2 sports bras and 2 regular, comfy bras– I usually pack a normal padded bra and one bralette for comfort.
- Workout clothing– Always a good idea because it can be used for hiking, working out, active activities.
- Shoes that could pass for everyday wear or a night out– For me, these shoes are usually leather booties.
- Long maxi skirt– They’re always comfy, culturally appropriate, and can be dressed up or dressed down.
- 2 pairs of jeans, jeggings, or khakis– Whatever you feel most comfortable in!
- 2-3 pairs of socks– I always pack my light Smartwool socks
- Headband– I love my world map headband from @sugarskyshop. (Also perfect for those days you don’t have enough time to wash your hair.)
- Large scarf– This is perfect for using as a pillow, staying warm, or as a makeshift eye mask.
- Cheap flip flops for showers– Preventing athlete’s foot is probably worth packing these.
- Cheap tank tops– Great for layering or sleeping in.
- Yoga pants– These are wonderful for sleeping, riding on the train/bus/plane, or exercising!
- 2 pairs of shorts– You can use one for everyday use around town and one for active activities.
- Versatile dress– I usually pack a cotton black dress that could be worn around town or paired with a necklace for a night out.
- 2 sweaters
- Rain jacket or poncho
- Appropriate cold weather gear (if applicable)
- Bathing suit (if applicable)
- Wipes– These are wonderful for a variety of uses!
- Travel microfiber towel– Most hostels don’t provide towels, so you definitely want to pack this if you’re not staying at a hotel.
- Tampons or a Diva Cup– This is probably one of the most important things you do not want to forget. Other countries have different standards for feminine products, so when I lived in Europe, I packed 3 months worth of tampons, because I’m not about to go the cardboard route. #ouch— A lot of my friends have also recommended using a Diva Cup, which provides 12 hours of protection, and you can reuse it! I haven’t gotten brave enough yet, but it sounds super efficient.
- Deodorant– I’m ALL about my organic deodorant by Kaia Naturals.
- Dry shampoo– For those days you don’t have time (or access) for a shower.
- Bug repellant– REALLY good idea for basically any country
- Birth control for the length of your trip (if you take it)– Make sure you talk to your doctor about this so she can write a larger prescription (Also, keep in mind the difference of time zones if you’re on a more rigid schedule.)
- Makeup– I only have a few essentials for makeup, but I have my cult favorites I could never leave behind or replace. In other countries, they may not have your favorite liquid eyeliner, foundation, or lipstick, so I highly recommend packing the right amount of makeup for your trip. When I lived in Vienna, I brought over 2 eyeliners and 2 mascaras to last me three months. I’m so glad I did because, to me, they’re irreplaceable and Europe’s makeup was pretty pricey to buy in Euros.
- Nail clippers
- Lotion/ moisturizer
- Toothbrush/ toothpaste
- Travel sized shampoo and body wash
- Hair ties and bobby pins
- Headphones– ESSENTIAL for planes/trains/buses and hostels
- Camera memory cards– I’d bring 2-5 of these depending on the length of your trip.
- Phone charger
- Laptop charger
- Camera charger
- Adapter and converter
- Eye mask– These are lifesavers when you’re in a hostel or on a plane/train/bus
- Ear plugs– Six words: drunk neighbors in your hostel room
- Cheap sunglasses– Not an essential, but they’re always good to have around.
- First Aid– Advil, Pepto Bismol, motion sickness medicine, any prescriptions you may have, a general antibiotic from your doctor, bandaids for blisters
- Headlamp– I usually use my iPhone for a flashlight, but these can be handy at a campsite or when you’re trying to find something in your bag at nighttime.
- Padlock– I highly recommend bringing one of these. If you’re staying in a hostel with lockers, you’ll usually be held responsible for locking your own locker.
- Crossbody Purse– Put a star by this one because you’ll never want to travel differently once you switch to a crossbody purse! The first perk is that it is so much easier to keep an eye on to prevent being pickpocketed. I wear mine with it zipped facing front so that I can keep my hand resting on the zipper at all times. I also will pull the purse to my front or hug it if I am on public transportation. I used a medium-sized one that fit my wallet, passport, and Canon 60D camera. It was perfect for walking around town with!
If you’re looking for more details and advice on packing, I highly recommend checking out my friend Peter’s blog! He wrote an awesome post detailing the best products to take with you on each trip. Check it out here.