The Ultimate Travel Packing List
Whether you're a full-time globetrotting, digitally nomadic seasoned professional traveller or following your wanderlust for the first time; whether you’re nipping across the pond for a short romantic getaway or heading to the African plains to be a real-lid intrepid explorer it is always good to get some advice as to what to add to your packing list.
We have created the ultimate travel packing list to help you make sure that you have all the essentials you need and a few little luxury items too! We all like to pack light and be swift and savvy travellers but sometimes we need to carry those ‘just in case’ items.
For those who like to travel light are all too frequently those who wish to get off the beaten track! Getting off the beaten track offers you the most genuine travel experience but can also leave you without access to essentials items you need!
The first thing we all think about when packing for a trip is clothing. Aside from your passport and travel insurance, clothing is arguably the most important thing to pack. Unless you're travelling with the aim of dancing each and every moment away in a buzzing nightclub somewhere in the world then it's always best to dress conservatively.
In short always endeavour to cover your knees and shoulders; especially in Asia, Africa and South America. In more ‘western’ nations then more revealing outfits are widely accepted but there is no harm in covering up a little.
Lightweight clothing is always the best option no matter where you’re travelling. This is for two very good reasons. Firstly, lightweight clothes take up less of your allocated baggage allowance with your airline so you can pack more into your bag should you need. Secondly, lightweight clothes often dry quicker which is great if you're doing your own laundry on the road and you're short on time!
Pack a combination of old and best clothes, formal and informal as you never know where your journey might take you! Befriending local people often sees you invited to weddings, festivals or parties where your best attire is required!
Here’s a breakdown of your must-pack travel clothes:
- Shirts/T-shirt x 2
- Lightweight trousers - activewear x 2
- Smart Top/Shirt x 2
- Smart Trousers/Skirt x 2
- Scarf x 1 (to wear as a neck scarf, head scarf, sarong or scrunched into a pillow)
- Underwear x 7
- Socks x 3
- Rain Jacket
Packing toiletries is always a tricky one! If travelling long term do bring the big versions of your shampoos and body washes along with you, it will save you money along the way. One way to save space in your bag is to opt for a bar of soap rather than a bottle of body wash. Soap can’t leak either!
Aside from your personal prescription medicine always carry some precautionary drugs with you along with a basic first aid kit. You never know when an illness might strike and you could be miles away from a reputable pharmacy.
Some essential items include:
- Shaving Kit
- Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
- Antiseptic Cream
- Alcohol Pads
- Eye Drops
- Diarrhoea/laxative medicines
- Insect Repellant
None of us likes to carry paperwork around with us at any time but when travelling there are some travel documents that you must take with you.
- Your passport is the most essential of all travel items and the item you must always keep a track of! Some people choose to keep their passport in a passport wallet for safe keeping and always keep it on their person.
- Always make a colour photocopy of your passport and keep it separate from the real thing. Should your passport become lost or stolen having a photocopy could be a lifesaver!
- Travel documents also include booking confirmations for your hotel, reservations for tours and activities and of course your flight tickets too. Many airlines now only accept online check-ins and do not class paper copies as valid so always check with your chosen airline before you travel.
- Travel insurance documents are another absolute essential. It’s never nice to think about ending up in hospital but nothing could ruin a trip more than wracking up hospital bills that you haven’t budgeted for!
- A travel purse is another essential item, especially if travelling to multiple countries. A travel purse is a great way to keep all your currencies in order!
The Ultimate Travel Packing List - Luggage
For the Explorer - Travel Backpacks
Travel backpacks are fast becoming the luggage of choice for travellers of every degree, regardless of destination! Travel backpacks are not just for rough and ready teenage backpackers hitchhiking their way from north to south New Zealand, no! The travel backpack is not regarded as an essential, must have travel item!
There are so many options on the market so be sure to do your research and be open to using different brands than you usually go for! The market has really opened up and each and every backpack out there brings something different, unique and innovative to the table!
For the Savvy Traveller - Travel Daypacks
For those travelling on a shoestring budget, using budget airlines in particular then a travel daypack is a really good option. A travel day pack not only is easy to carry around and stops you lugging anything unnecessary around with you but also is the perfect size for a cabin bag. Now, every airline allows each passenger to bring with them a cabin bag onto the flight for free! This is a great way to get around extortionate hold-luggage prices.
A good travel daypack will have a specially designed section for all your tech! A slot for your laptop, a slot for your camera and even a little pocket for your smartphone too! Although we all like to switch off and go ‘off the grid’ when we are travelling sometimes that's just not possible so to be able to take all you tech away with you is essential! Don’t leave that off your personal checklist!
For those who are more traditional than a suitcase is still a perfectly viable travel option. Great for a vacation where you’re going straight from the airport to your hotel and back again. Suitcases offer plenty of space as have wheels for easy transportation. There is nothing like that quiet, smug feeling you get turning up at an airport with all your matching luggage looking like the esteemed jet-setter you really are!
For the Organised Traveller - Packing Cubes
Whether you opt for a classic suitcase, travel backpack or a nifty travel day pack, packing cubes could be your new best-travel-friend! Packing cubes are light and airy but help keep everything in your bag in order. Often closed up by zips packing cubes are a great way to keep all your clothes and toiletries separate.
For those going on a long-term trip then packing cubes really are an essential item; particularly if you’re travelling through different temperatures and climates. Have one cube for winter items, one for summer, one for hiking and exercise gear and one for all your more formal, dress-up items!
For the Careful Traveller - Luggage Scale
If you’re a super conscientious traveller who likes everything to be just so. The sort of traveller who likes to know everything in advance and is constantly checking the bank balance then a small luggage scale is a must have travel accessory for you!
Like we have mentioned above, airlines charge an arm and a leg for check in luggage and then charge even more if you’re over your allocated baggage allowance weight! By carrying a luggage scale with you can rest assured that your luggage is underweight, or at very worst bang on your baggage allowance! Phew! Now please, sit back and enjoy your flight!
Capture the Moment - Travel Cameras
We all want to capture our holiday as best we can; take a photo to concrete the memory and preserve it forever. Even if you’re not an avid photographer or even a snap-happy traveller it's always good to carry a camera of some description with you when you travel.
Smartphones all now have incredible cameras so for many savvy travellers this gives them the freedom they need to take all the photos they need. For those on an intermediate level, there are loads of great little digital camera that take a simple ‘point and press’ approach, helping you to capture the moments as easily as possible and uploads them to your computer or social media just as easily too!
For those who want to go all out, you may wish to invest in a DSLR camera to capture every aspect of your trip. Whether you’re photographing vast, breathtaking landscapes, portraits in the city or wildlife on safari a DSLR camera will help you get the best possible photos.
For Getting Off the Beaten Track - Travel Routers
There are a great many travel routers and GPS devices available on the market and you need not be an avid adventurer to find them useful. Sometimes public transport doesn't run to time and you need to figure out where you are. Some National Parks are poorly signposted and you need to figure out your route back to the base; that's where a travel router can come in handy.
For many people, the travel routeing options on smartphones will suffice. There are many different apps and programmes that can help you find your way in a new and foreign land!
Expect the unexpected during your European vacation! Especially when it comes to the weather! Weather in Europe can be unpredictable at the best of times, believe us! Be sure to pack enough clothes to endure all four seasons in one day!
Packing for a European vacation can be quite simple, in the sense that you’re going on vacation rather than travelling.
It is safe to assume that most people who go on a holiday to Europe will stay in one place. And who can blame them! With so many quaint and cute holiday rentals to choose from if you find a place you like why move! That makes packing ultra simple! If you have a holiday rental home then you’ll likely have access to a washing machine so you can wash, dry and iron your own clothes; this saves on laundry costs too and means you don’t have to pack as many pairs of underwear!
There are so many different types of European vacation to choose from! Whether you choose an all inclusive beach resort holiday in the south of Spain or a rambling holiday in the Lake District in the United Kingdom; whether you opt for a romantic city break in Paris or Rome or a yachting vacation in the south of France packing for a European vacation is possibly the easiest destination to pack for!
A trip to South East Asia is vibrant, varied and very easy to pack for! Well, maybe not as easy as a European vacation as there are more travel documents to carry, inoculations to get and precautionary medicines to carry but, in theory, on the clothes side of things it's all very easy!
Pack light, really light, when travelling to South East Asia and this is for several, very good reasons.
Asian countries are so very, very varied. Take India for example, if your travel to southern India you will be greeted by sweltering heat the year round, if you head up north to Ladak or Leh during the winter months you’ll need your best thermals at the ready!
Likewise in Nepal! The summer and monsoon months are hot and sticky but the winter months will chill you to the bone! If you’re planning a big tour of Asian countries then packing a little of everything is highly advised. Think everything but kitchen sink! Thermals are light and easy to roll and pack at the bottom of your back for the cold snaps.
Remember, many Asian countries are very conservative, many even under strict religious law. Always remember to dress appropriately so as not to cause offence or even get yourself in trouble!
Few people just take a holiday to Asia, rather an elongated getaway or a long term travel experience. In light of this, you should over-prepare on what you may need. As with South East Asia, there are some medications and toiletries that are simply unavailable or very hard to find. For example, ladies, you will struggle to find tampons in many places in Asia so remember to pack a decent supply with you when you leave home.
Africa is so often talked about as if it was a single country, don’t forget the continent of Africa is made up of over 50 nations and as such is varied beyond belief and your packing decisions should reflect this.
There are always the basics that you should carry:
- Lightweight clothes
- Travel documents
But when it comes to Africa there are other things you should carry too.
- Water purifying tablets are a good example of this and perhaps small solar power battery pack too for when your camera or phone battery is low when you're out on safari and you need a quick power up!
- On that note, a power bank is also a good idea to carry in Africa. Especially if you are getting off the beaten track or camping in the bush without access to mains electricity.
Malaria is a big problem in Africa, an epidemic in fact. Even if you are taking antimalarial tablets for the duration of your stay you should always, without fail, wear mosquito repellant too; day and night. There are now some travel clothing companies who produce clothing with mosquito repellant built in; always be precautions and wear bug spray. A bout of malaria does not just ruin your holiday but can impact your health for the rest of your life.
So there you have it a guide to the ultimate travel packing list; we’re bound to have missed off something important! Let us know what your essential travel items are and why!