Travel Packing List
Whether you’re going on a short trip or an around the world adventure, it’s important to know what to pack. Forgetting an important document can be costly. Maybe you’re an experienced traveller visiting a new climate? Or taking part in new activities? Or maybe it’s your first ever trip away. Whatever trip you have planned, keep reading for our travel packing list essentials.
To ensure you don't miss anything from the list, bookmark this page so you can keep referring back to it. Make a note of any additional essentials you will need. It may not be possible to purchase certain toiletries and medications in the country you are travelling to, so it is important not to forget them. For a yoga or fitness holiday, read the yoga and fitness holiday packing list.
First of all, no trip can begin without the most important documents.
- Passport – Make sure you have plenty of months remaining before the expiration date. Some countries will not allow you to enter unless you have 6 months remaining.
- Other ID - If you have a Student card this can save you a lot of money. Some countries offer student discount on main attractions, particularly in China. It is also important to have additional ID as a back up. For example, if your passport is lost, additional ID will be useful whilst trying to obtain a replacement or booking into hotels.
- Cash and credit cards – As well as packing a small amount of local currency, your bank card and an emergency credit card, take a photo of the front and back of your credit card and save the image into One Drive, iCloud, Dropbox or other secure storage site. This way, if you lose your cards or have them stolen, you can use your saved credit card images to book a flight or accommodation online.
- Travel insurance – Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance and check you are covered for any activity or sport you will be taking part in.
- Reservations and itineraries - It is useful to have a screen shot of your reservations on your smart phone plus a hard copy for if your phone loses it's charge.
- Hotel contact information – Make sure you have a hard copy of your hotel address and a telephone number.
- Transportation tickets - Plane, bus, train, car, etc.
- Emergency contacts - Save the contact details of a close family member or friend in your phone and keep a hard copy.
Next Prepare Your Carry On Items / Hand Luggage
- Mobile / iPad / Kindle / iPod
- Laptop - If you plan on working during your trip.
- Headphones – To listen to music or language apps.
- Charger – For all devices
- Camera / video camera / GoPro, memory card and charger
- Electrical adapter plugs
- Padlock – These are important for night buses, trains and shared accommodation. A master lock with a rectractable cable will provide added security because the cable can be tied around your entire bag.
- Eye Mask and Ear Plugs - For night trains, buses, flights and shared accommodation. This will minimise the risk of being woken during the night by your room mates. Earplugs are easily lost so pack some spares.
- Warm Jumper - A travel blanket, poncho, hoodie or anything light enough to carry daily that will keep you warm – Air conditioned night buses and trains can be cold.
- Pen and paper or travel journal.
- Entertainment - Books / magazines / travel games / cards / Uno.
- Guide books – Lonely Planet, maps, language guides, etc.
- Hand sanitizer
- Travel Money Belt – Keep your passport and money safe on you at all times, especially on night buses and trains. Having money stolen during night transportation is a common scam in many countries. Protect your valuables with a travel money belt.
- Prescriptions in original packaging – Some counties, such as the UAE, require a letter from your doctor for certain prescriped medication. Even if the medication is prescribed and legal in your home country, it does not mean the medication is legal in another country. Be sure to check this information before you fly.
- Glasses - And contact lenses.
- Make Up – Keep in minimal. Toiletteries and make up take up a lot of unecessary room in your bag so only bring the essentials.
- Transparent resealable bag for your liquids - For passport control.
Backpack VS Suitcase
If you are planning a short holiday (1,2 or 3 weeks) and have no intention of travelling to other areas during your stay then a suitcase is adequate.
- Travel Holiday - Warm Climate
If you are planning a travel holiday (1-3 weeks) and will be moving regularly to different areas, using local transportation or Island hopping, then take a backpack. This is much easier to manoeuvre than a suitcase.
If you pack light, take a backpack which meets carry on luggage requirements. Baggage fees can add a lot to the total cost of your flight so this will save you time and money. If you are travelling to a warm climate and require light clothing for your trip, see how much you can fit into a hand luggage sized backpack before investing in something larger.
I took a hand luggage sized backpack on my first ever trip to Thailand which was for 4 weeks. I carried toileteries in a 100ml bottle and packed clothes which I could mix-and-match. However, this didn't leave any room for souvenirs.
- Around the world trip or backpacking for a longer period (6 months or more)
If you are backpacking for a long period or visiting various climates you will need a larger backpack to cater for heavier clothing and possibly hiking shoes and equipment. The size on the backpack will vary considerably on how light you can pack (this is easier for some than others) and so many people have different opinions on this. I would personally recommend a minimum of 65L, possibly larger.
When I set out on a 12 month around the world trip (extending to 2 years), I took a 60L backpack which could be extended to 70L if required. I personally wouldn't want anything bigger than 70L because it would be very heavy to carry when full.
What essentials do you always travel with?