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Whether the next is your first trip or your hundredth one, you should always consider taking only the necessities to your trip. It is always advisable to have a travel checklist. Bookmark the following packing list, it will definitely help you or remind you to pack everything required. At the end we have mentioned about trip-specific resources as well.
Table of Content
- 1 Step 1: Collect Important Travel Documents, Credit Cards and Cash
- 2 Step 2: Pack Your Personal Item Carry-On Bag
- 3 Step 3: Select Your Main Bag
- 4 Step 4: Organize Your Stuff
- 5 Step 5: Pack Your Toiletry Bag
- 6 Step 6: Pack Your Day Bag
- 7 Step 7: Consider Travel Security
- 9 Step 8: Prepare Your Home
Step 1: Collect Important Travel Documents, Credit Cards and Cash
Start with the most important ones. You can surely use a travel document organizer for this purpose. It contains holders for a passport, ID, a boarding pass, seven credit cards, coins, a pen and few other documents, which you may need to carry with. So this gadget will help and ensure to take everything you need to from one place to the next. Think about including the following documents:
- Passport / visa (s)
- Personal ID, including a student ID card if you have one
- Cash and credit card(s)
- Frequent flyer card(s) and other loyalty program cards such as a hotel or hostel
- Health insurance cards / document(s) including your blood group
- Reservations and itineraries
- Travel insurance info
- Transportation tickets if you have already booked (plane, train, bus, etc.)
- Hotel and/or tour contact information
- Emergency contacts and important addresses
Always double-check that your IDs and passports are not expired. You will also need to inform your bank if you are traveling abroad so that they will not assume your genuine transactions as fraudulent ones and freeze your card. You may also email yourself a copy of your passport, driving license, IDs, medical cards and itineraries, so if anything goes wrong you will be able to access them online.
Step 2: Pack Your Personal Item Carry-On Bag
Next important thing is to prepare your personal item carry-on bag with all the things you will need to be with you on the flight. It is advisable to have an outfit or two and a few essential toiletries with your personal items as well, which will be helpful in case your luggage is lost. If you are expecting to travel around to several destinations (and in several transport modes), make sure this bag contains items to keep you cozy on any train, boat or bus rides. It would be nice to have a bag with easy to access, so you do not have to reach your main travel bag each time you need your eye mask or lipstick. But remember, you will be carrying all of this, so keep it light as much as you can.
We recommend you to consider using a small daypack or backpack as your personal item bag. Here are some good things to be included in a personal Item Carry-on Bag:
- Mobile devices and charger
- Camera and/or a video camera, memory card, and charger
- i-Pad or e-reader and charger
- Electrical converters and adapters
- Headphones (consider noise-reducing headphones if you are sensitive to sound)
Comfort, Entertainment, and Information
- Travel pillow, eye mask, blanket, and ear plugs
- Books and magazines
- Travel journal and pen
- Guide books, travel guides, maps, language guides, etc
- Any other thing that may require upon arrival at your destination
- Hand sanitizer or wet wipes
- Prescriptions in original packaging
- Glasses and case
For more inspiration about what to bring with you in your airplane personal item, read this post from travel writer Kelly O’Reilly.
Step 3: Select Your Main Bag
Whatever trip you are planning, we recommend luggage that is versatile, lightweight and spacious enough to hold all your essentials. The most important things you should look at when selecting a luggage is to find a piece that is light weight, versatile and can fit lots of gear. If you will be walking through different types of terrain, or switching from airport floors to cobblestones, having a bag with the option to roll it or carry it like a backpack or duffel will be convenient.
For more information about how to pick the right bag, read our buying guide for luggage, travel packs, carry-ons and duffel bags.
Step 4: Organize Your Stuff
When you have to deal with several kinds of activities, requiring a variety of gear to pack in your suitcase, keeping everything in an organized manner will be a big challenge. When you are packing for any trip, especially one that requires you to pack lots of gear in several layers, one of the best solutions would be to use packing organizers. When you are arranging your suitcase with packing organizers, they will make it easy to move from one place to the next without requiring you to rearrange the entire bag whenever you reach a new destination.
You can arrange clothing in compartments according to outfit type or activity type by using packing cubes. Packing cubes are zippered kind of bags that make it easy to keep your luggage nice and neat and provide quick access to different things you will need at different times during your trip. Pack-It™ Compression Sacs or Pack-It™ Specter Compression Cubes are some of the best selections to reduce the volume of your clothes by up to 80%. These cubes are especially useful for packing bulky items such as jackets and sweaters.
Here are items you should not leave behind:
- Lightweight clothing that can be layered
- Pants and/or shorts
- A swimsuit or swim trunks
- Comfortable walking shoes (click here for advice about finding the right travel shoes)
If you wish to visit several places, you will need to pack lots of clothing options. The need does not mean that you should necessarily over-pack. Instead, pack smart. You may include clothing for your adventures and then get dressed up slightly with a different scarf and a pair of shoes. You should try creating a capsule wardrobe – Lady Light Travel will definitely assist you to create a simple but great travel capsule wardrobe. It lets you to pick versatile clothing pieces to mix and match. So the need to carry separate pieces for each outfit will be eliminated.
Find out more on choosing the right packing organizers.
Step 5: Pack Your Toiletry Bag
Always keep your toiletry bag light and especially TSA-compliant. The TSA’s 3-1-1 rule says: liquids, creams, gels, pastes, and aerosols must be less than 3.4 ounces (100ml) per container and should be packed in a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic zip-top bag.
To make these requirements easily, we have created a package that includes four 3-ounce silicone bottles in a quart-sized clear plastic pouch that could be easily wiped and with a water resistant zipper. Click here for more info about TSA rules regarding what you can pack.
Do not miss out following items from your toiletry bag.
The Toiletry Bag Basics
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Hair brush or comb, hair ties, barrettes/bobby pins Deodorant
- Make up
- Face wash and/or makeup remover wipes Moisturizer
- Lip balm
- Personal hygiene items
- Extra contacts, solution, and case
- Feminine hygiene products
Toiletry Bag Extras
- Hair products
- Shaving kit and extra razors
- Clothesline and detergent
- Facial tissues
- Sewing kit/clothing care kit
- Scissors, nail clippers, and tweezers (these could be put in checked luggage)
- First aid kit (bandages, gauze, adhesives, etc.)
- Pain and fever relievers (also in children’s strength; if traveling with kids)
- Personal prescriptions (copies of scripts)
- Diarrhea / laxative medicines
- Cold medicines and throat lozenges
- Allergy medicines
- Hydrocortisone cream / antibacterial ointment
- Sunburn relief
- Motion sickness pills or bands
- Insect repellent / mosquito net/sting reliever
- Eye drops
- Medicines and vaccinations specific to the region/activity
Step 6: Pack Your Day Bag
Prepare a versatile and lightweight day bag that can help you stay comfortable and prepared for any unforeseen circumstance.
Step 7: Consider Travel Security
In most large cities in the world, travelers are targeted largely for pickpocketing. The easiest and safest way to keep your valuables such as cash, passports, and credit cards safe is to have them hidden and closer to your body. One simple way is to stash them underneath your clothing with the assistance of money belt, neck wallet, leg wallet, undercover bra stash, hidden pocket or holster. You can review the different styles here to select one (or more) that best fits for you and the type of travel you will engage.
You may also interest in choosing one that has RFID protection. RFID protection keeps your credit cards / debit cards and passports (issued after 2006) safe while travelling. Identity theft can happen when some smart guy is able to “read” through your purse or pocket, since these plastic cards are containing microchips with personal information stored on them. You can learn about RFID safety from Scott Shelter, freelance journalist and frequent traveler.
However, according to cyber security personnel, the chance of “reading” or stealing your personal data from a microchip while being sitting in a corner of a road is next to impossible due to the security features embed to said microchips by the issuing authorities.
Step 8: Prepare Your Home
- Have post office hold mail
- Set up an email auto responder
- Stop newspaper delivery
- Arrange care of pets, lawn, and plants
- Prearrange school absences for children
- Pre-pay bills
- Empty refrigerator
- Turn off heater/air conditioner
- Unplug appliances
- Turn down water heater
- Lock all doors and windows
- Turn off washing machine taps
- Store valuables in a safe place
- Leave house key and trip itinerary with a trusted friend
- Leave flight and hotel itineraries with a relative
- Set up timed light system
- Reconfirm/check-in online with airline
If your trip extends for more than 30 days, better to check with police and your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for any specific instructions.