Ultimate Travel Packing List – Travel Essentials Checklist

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Whether you like to travel light, or are more likely to be found sitting on your suitcase before running for the taxi, the art of packing is an acquired skill. If you are thinking about backpacking around the globe, packing the right things in the right way is essential for your success.

What Luggage Should You Take Travelling?

Depending on where you going and how long you intend to stay for, the best receptacle for your belongings will vary. Most travellers will stick with a traditional rucksack, but carefully choosing your main piece of luggage will help to pack perfectly for maximum efficiency.

Choose from:

Suitcases and travel bags that wheel with you Everyone loves the convenience of rolling luggage, but be aware that huge cases on wheels will be heavy to lift when you are unable to roll them. Not suitable for cabin use, your suitcase on wheels will need to be checked into the hold when you fly.

4 wheels or 2 – cases or bags on 4 wheels are much more useful than their 2-wheeled counterparts. They are able to remain more stable and will put less strain on your arms and wrists as you pull them along.

Grips and Duffel Bags – simple and lightweight bags that are as useful for accommodating a weeks worth of holiday clothing as they are for a session at the gym. Beware of over stuffing them though, as straps can give way under the strain.

Rucksacks – these little beauties come in all shapes and sizes and are the preferred option for independent travellers everywhere. The humble rucksack has evolved and now comes with a variety of options. Take your pick from:

Lightweight Rucksacks and Daypacks – perfect for weekends away with minimal changes of clothing, active excursion or everyday use.

Travel Packs – available with all kinds of fancy extras, these are your standard fare for travellers, and come complete with lots of extra pockets and compartments for additional storage. Some even open like a suitcase for easy access upon arrival.

Wheeled Backpacks – great for lugging heavy rucksacks around on smooth terrain, but a useless feature if you are roughing it off road.

Cabin Bags – Cabin bags, also known as carry on bags, are increasingly popular as a result of cut price airlines charging extras fees for hold luggage. If you pack well, you can get pretty much everything you need for a week away into one of these. You will also benefit from not having to wait around at baggage reclaim when you land.

How To Pack a Suitcase or Backpack

When it comes to cramming as much stuff into your luggage as possible, organisation really is the key. First off, only take what you really need. Wear you heaviest and bulkiest items of clothing and shoes to travel in, and try to pack a capsule wardrobe and only the bare essentials for toiletries and cosmetics.

It’s not just what you take, it is literally how you pack it all in that makes the difference. You can easily pick up packing cubes and fancy organisers that will make light work of your luggage for you.

Suitcase organisers and packing cubes are usually just snazzy inner bags that help you to separate your luggage into categories. They will then sit flat together to maximise space in your suitcase or rucksack. Roll clothes and fill the cube, or use smaller ones for shoes or toiletries. They are also great for keeping clean and dirty clothes separate whilst you are on your travels.

What Clothes Should You Take Travelling?

Unless you are hopping off on a Club 18-30 clubathon, you won’t need to bring your entire wardrobe with you when you travel. In fact, if you are going to Asia or India you can pick up clothing super cheap which means you will need to take even less.

Clothes Packing List For Women

As a basic guideline, here is what we would suggest you pack for an adventure in sunnier climbs:

  • At least 5 lightweightvest tops or sleeveless tops that can be worn with shorts, or used underneath easier items if the weather is cooler.
  • A couple of pairs of thin cotton or linen shorts. Try to take varying lengths as you may want to cover up more from time to time. Don’t bother with denim, too heavy and takes too long to dry.
  • At least one long dress or skirt for environments that require modesty. Also these are nice should you decide to go out for the evening and make an effort to dress up.
  • At least a couple of pairs of linen or light cotton trousers, perfect for excursions and general day to day wear.
  • Enough cotton undies to last you a week and a couple of days spare.
  • At least a couple of pair of thin socks. People often forget these, but you will be grateful for them if you are want to avoid mozzy bites on your feet, or plan on going climbing or trekking.
  • A pair of flip flops for the beach and day to day wear
  • A pair of hiking or running shoes, preferably comfortable ones. Wear these on the journey as they will be the bulkiest item you take with you.
  • A hat to protect you from hot sun, and a couple of thin scarves to do the same.
  • If the weather is expected to be cooler, add a few long sleeve tops and jumpers for layering, as well as more socks, heavier trousers and maybe even a jacket and warm shoes.
  • The colder the climate, the more you will need to take with you. So if you are expecting snow you will need ensure that you have plenty of thermal undergarments, thick socks, warm hats and some gloves to keep you toasty on your travels.

Clothes Packing List For Men

For men, here’s what you should look to pack:

  • At least 5 lightweightvest tops or thin t-shirts tops that can be worn with shorts, or used underneath heavier items if the weather is cooler.
  • At least one thin, but long sleeved shirt. These are good for covering up in the hot sun, and also excellent for nights out should you need them.
  • A couple of pairs of thin cotton or linen shorts.
  • At least a couple of pairs of linen or light cotton trousers. Take jeans if you must, but remember that they will take longer to dry.
  • Enough cotton undies to last you a week and a couple of days spare.
  • At least a couple of pair of thin socks
  • A pair of flip flops for the beach and day to day wear
  • A pair of hiking or running shoes that you can wear on the journey as they will be the bulkiest item you take with you.
  • A hat to protect you from hot sun.
  • The same rules apply should you be travelling to somewhere cooler. Add lightweight long sleeved tops and jumpers for layering, and more socks to keep your feet warm.
  • If you are hitting the slopes, you will need to add thermal undergarments, fleeces and thick socks, as well as warm gloves, hats and scarves.

How to Pack Toiletries For Travel

This is where many travellers come unstuck. Unless you really are visiting the middle of nowhere, you will be able to buy most essentials anywhere in the world. Basics like soap, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner for both men and women can be found pretty much everywhere, but you may still want to take a basic selection of products with you when you first leave home.

Everyone will need to take cleaning products with them for their body, hair and teeth. So pack small containers of your favourites when you leave, and be prepared to re-fill or purchase more as and when you need to. Re-fillable containers and great for this purpose if you have room to carry them.

Toiletries Packing List For Women

Basics you could take would include:

  • A toiletry bag – hanging ones are very useful for showering in basic bathrooms.
  • A small container of body wash or shower gel
  • Face wash
  • A lightweight moisturiser
  • Disposable razors
  • Medical essentials like contact lenses if you wear them, birth control pills if you use them, paracetamol, ibuprofen and basic first aid kit with antiseptic wipes or cream, and plasters and gauze.
  • Your toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Nail clippers
  • Lip balm
  • Basic make up like mascara, eyeliner and a lip gloss
  • Condoms

Toiletries Packing List For Men

Gents don’t usually need to take quite as much as the ladies, but you should still consider the following as a basic guide:

  • A toiletry bag – hanging ones are very useful for showering in basic bathrooms.
  • A small container of body wash or shower gel
  • Disposable razors
  • Medical essentials like contact lenses if you wear them, paracetamol, ibuprofen and basic first aid kit with antiseptic wipes or cream, and plasters and gauze.
  • Your toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Nail clippers
  • Condoms

How to Pack Makeup For Travel

Cosmetics and make up are a divisive topic when it comes to travelling. You certainly won’t need to take your entire kit, but you might want something to freshen you up.

Makeup Packing List

Some of the products that will help you to look and feel glamorous again may be as simple as a facial oil or a light moisturiser. The hot sun, salty sea and sweaty conditions of warmer weather can all have an effect on our skin. To stay young and beautiful while you are away consider the following as a basic guide:

  • Find products that can multi-task, for example use an eyeliner as a brow pencil, a lipstick as a blusher and even loose powder as dry shampoo on the go.
  • Use products that have more than one function like foundations that also container sunscreen and a light moisturiser.
  • Don’t take any cosmetics that are likely to melt. For example, a lip stain is preferable to a solid lipstick, and powders are better than creams.
  • When it comes to hair care, you should also travel light. To be honest, many of us suffer at the hands of the hot weather, and a global adventure of a lifetime should not be spent trying to keep your hair straight. Embrace the frizz, and take plenty of hair bands to keep hot hair away from your face and neck.
  • You may not be able to style your hair perfectly while you are away, but you can still protect it from damage. Use a protective spray that will limit damage from UVA rays, and take care of split ends using a leave in conditioner or split end cream.

Travel Vaccinations and Travel Health

Before you travel, make sure that have had all of the relevant inoculations required for entry to the countries you are planning to visit. To give you a rough idea, these are the some of the kinds of vaccinations you can expect to have before you go:

  • Hepatitis A.
  • Hepatitis B.
  • Typhoid and paratyphoid fever.
  • Meningococcal disease.
  • Yellow Fever.
  • Rabies.
  • Japanese Encephalitis

You should also take the time to learn about your destinations and any potential health issues that can occur there.

Sometimes accidents happen when you are abroad, or people fall poorly. Take medications like mild painkillers, plasters and antiseptic creams with you, and make sure that your travel insurance covers you for hospital stays or even emergency transport home.

Stay protected by making sure you are careful about the food you eat, drink plenty of water and always wear a high factor sunscreen. Don’t go mad with alcohol in hot countries and always follow local laws.

If you feel unwell when you return from your travels, be sure to see your doctor to ensure that you haven’t brought any tropical diseases home with you.

What to Put in Your Travel First Aid Kit?

Also, you should include a basic first aid kit in your toiletry bag. This should include:

  • Personal medicines such as inhalers
  • Paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Mosquito repellent (at least 40% deet)
  • Antihistamines
  • Bandages and gauze
  • Plasters in various sizes
  • Throat lozenges
  • Condoms
  • Imodium
  • Malaria pills if applicable

How To Pack Your Carry On Bag

Other than that, don’t burden your bag with too many extra items. A book, your mobile phone and a few other essentials should be more than enough to see you through your flight.

Your carry on bag, or hand luggage, will be with you wherever you go so make sure that it is well packed and only contains the essentials. There are restrictions on what you can take on UK flights, and other countries around the world may have similar restrictions in place.

When you are flying from the UK, you can only carry certain amounts of liquids within your carry on bag. These rules apply to:

  • All drinks, including water
  • All of your cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss
  • All sprays, including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants
  • Toothpaste
  • Hair and shower gel
  • Contact lens solution
  • There are also strict rules about the containers you can carry them in:
  • You can only take containers holding no more than 100ml
  • All containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm
  • All contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed
  • The bag can’t be knotted or tied at the top
  • There is a limit of 1 plastic bag per person
  • The bag must be shown at the airport security point

What Electronics Should You Take Or Leave At Home?

Back in the day, going travelling meant leaving everything behind and only making contact from a payphone in a foreign country. These days we are all attached to our mobile phones and devices, and rely more on electronics than ever before.

When you do go travelling you don’t really need to take a ton of electronics with you. But, if you are going to take some, try and limit it to the following:

  • Your mobile phone and charger, with travel adapter for plug sockets
  • An inexpensive digital camera
  • An electronic reader or iPad
  • An iPod or other electronic music player
  • Battery operated small portable speakers
  • A torch

Some travellers do take their laptops with them and successfully work their way around the world, whereas others take expensive camera equipment and shoot stunning images as they go. This, of course, is up to you. But every expensive piece of electronic equipment you take needs to be looked after wherever you go.  Breakages can happen anywhere, but thefts are common in some countries, especially if you look like you are not local.

Whatever you do take, find out about getting extra insurance to cover it. If your premiums are very expensive then you may just take a view on replacing it if it does get lost, broken or stolen.

Keep Safe – Be Aware Of Your Security Wherever Your Are

Anywhere in the world can be unsafe if you don’t keep your wits about you. But when you are a long way from home, it is particularly important to keep your own safety in mind.

Backpacking in itself is no more dangerous than any other kind of travel, and in some ways it is safer because you tend to travel in groups. But in order to ensure that you are as safe as possible, wherever you may be, follow these guidelines and keep safe:

  • Always research your destination and any foreign office guidance in respect of safety in the region before you go. Travels warnings don’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t travel, but that you should be aware of emerging situations in the area. If the country you are travelling to is deemed to be unsafe while you are there, as a result of a military coup or terrorism, liaise with the British Embassy to help get you home or to a place of safety.
  • If you are travelling as a lone female do take advice on local dress codes and do not put yourself at risk. When you are out and about stay in the main public areas and don’t walk alone at night.
  • Never travel with large amounts of cash on you and keep valuables like jewellery or electronics out of sight.
  • To keep your valuables and belongings safe in hostels make sure you use a padlock with a code not a key, and never leave your phone on charge in a shared area.
  • Watch out for scam artists all over the world. Remember, if it sounds to good to be true, it is!

There are a whole host of other security measures that you can take before you travel and while you are there. Researching the countries you are visiting is vital to staying safe as you go.

Get Your Travel Admin In Order

Going travelling usually involves a lot of preparation and paperwork before you leave, and you will have some travel admin to attend to before you set off. A good idea of the kind of documents you will need to take with you would include:

  • All of your flight, train and bus tickets
  • The address of your first hotel or hostel
  • A Valid Passport
  • A Laminated copy of your passport
  • Debit or Credit Card
  • Dollars or Euros
  • Your Driver’s licence
  • Your Student ID
  • Extra passport photos for visas on arrival
  • Your Insurance information,
  • Health information – details of allergies, medical requirements etc
  • Home contact details in case of emergencies.

Before you leave for the airport, ensure that you have all of the following with you:

Your travel documents

These will need to be either printed, or saved to your screen. If you are planing on only using electronic boarding passes, print spare copies in case anything should happen to your phone on route.

Your money

Most tourist destinations will accept electronic payments, but you will need to take some cash with you in the first instance. Always research the country you are travelling to, as some have restrictions about the amount of cash you can bring in with you.

Take a debit or credit card with your for payments and also emergencies. Make sure you use one that won’t charge you for overseas transactions. Also, keep your cards safe and set up alerts on your phone for large transactions, so you can receive a text message if the bank feels your card has been used in an unusual manner.

Finally, let your bank know that you are going away. This way they should be more on the ball and able to pick up fraudulent transactions if they happen.

Your Passport

As obvious as this is, many people turn up at airports without them! Check, check and check again before you leave the house.

Your Personal Details

Many travellers rely on the contact information in their phones should an accident or incident occur. Print basic information about you, your home address, your contact details and any health matters onto a laminated piece of card the same size as a credit card. Keep this in your wallet just in case.

How To Prepare Your House Before You Travel

Simple but straight forward advice should protect your home whilst you are away. Of course, if you still live with your parents probably won’t want you to throw away all the food and turn down the heating, but if you are leaving your home empty follow these simple rules:

  • Clear out your fridge and throw away any food that could go off while you are away
  • Turn off all plug sockets and extension cables and unplug any electrical devices you won’t be using. This protects your electronics from power surges and will reduce your energy use.
  • Turn off the radiators. Set your thermostat to maintain a minimum temperature of around 19 degrees to prevent burst pipes or freezing conditions while you are away.
  • Ask a family member or friend to keep an eye on your house if it is empty, and give them a contact number in case of emergencies. You should also supply them with a spare key for them to collect unsolicited mail and to check on the house from time to time.
  • Call your bank and credit card company to let them know you’ll be abroad.
  • Have your post re-directed because nothing says “this house is empty” better than 12 months worth of piled up post on the door mat.

Make Extra Money By Renting Out Your Home

Obviously, if you are having a paying tenant in your home while you are travelling, please don’t ask the neighbours to let themselves in or have you mum pop round and adjust the heating. The house is theirs while they are paying for it. Do however, take their details and the contact details of any letting agent or management company and keep them safe while you are away. You could also pass these onto your contact back at home.

You should also look to become an Airbnb host.

Finally, enjoy yourself! This is your big adventure and you are all set to go.

1Comment
  • Anna Makridi
    Posted at 14:57h, 22 October

    Such a nice post! Thanks for sharing!

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