So we’ve covered the basics of what you should keep in mind when packing and buying luggage, but what about a more specific list? I’ll say from experience that most people, including myself, will over pack. You want to pack for the best scenario and not the worst scenario. Pack as if everything will go according to plan! My list as follows isn’t the most comprehensive and is going to change based on your needs as an individual. Also keep in mind that this list is geared more towards a warmer climate than cooler.
Purses and Day Packs
If you are going on a trip, I highly, highly recommend you have a purse or a day pack with you during the day. Make sure the bag you are using is something you are comfortable with. You will be using this bag for 10-12 hours a day. Are you a shopper? Do you like to hike? Do you plan to visit carry a large DSLR camera with you?
I would start off by asking yourself what are the key items you will never ever leave without? For me, I always have 2 credit cards, some cash, an ID, photocopy of my passport, phone, external charger, sunglasses and camera. Everything else that comes with me I could probably get away with not having on my body. If I am out of the country, I keep my passport, extra credit card and main stash of cash on by body in a money belt under my clothes.
I used to hate wearing a money belt, but you don’t know until you start traveling how common thefts are. You want to believe the best in everyone, but as a tourist, be wary of pick pockets and other thieves. By wearing a money belt, yes its awkard, but you eliminate the worry and stress about pick pockets. I can attest to several people I know who never thought they would be the targets of petty crime. They are professions and fast.
Going back to the purse and day bag, I would encourage you to have a bag that has zippers and several pockets. If you are carrying a purse, I recommend a cross body purse so you can keep an eye on it at all times and have a hand on it. I like the Bagallini style purse. I find it works best for me in keeping me organized and not carrying around too many items.
If you have a backpack, make sure that you are aware that a lot of museums and other tourist locations may not allow backpacks in and may make you check the bag. A messenger bag or backpack that can be worn in the style of a messenger bag may be a good style bag for you.
Recommended Day Bag Items
-1-2 Credit Cards/1 Debit Card/an ID
-1 day worth of cash/local currency (food, bus, train , etc)
-Photocopy of your ID/Passport
-Sunscreen! (SPF 30-50)
-Camera and backup battery/extra memory card
-External charger and cord for your phone (if you will be relying on it)
-Paper copy of the address of your hotel and phone number (I like to also have a local map just in case)
-Wet wipes/baby wipes
-Small fold able reusable shopping bag
-Mini Umbrella (it actually rained on my twice in London and Athens in summer!)
This is where most people seemingly get into trouble! My philosophy is to pack light. If you aren’t sure if you are going to wear an item, don’t take it. You can always buy clothing at your destination. It makes for a great souvenir and can help you blend in with the locals. Especially in places like Europe, there is a very different type of style from the US.
I like to wear non-logo clothing that is slightly nicer than I normally wear at home. You want to me comfy though, so don’t go out an buy a whole new wardrobe. Take the clothing you already have and figure out how to mix and match what you are taking.
Recommend Clothing Packing List for A week
-1-2 Pairs of pants/jeans (I mix and match my jeans with my outfits all the time. Take a set of pants like black that goes with everything).
-1-2 Pairs of Shorts (I don’t personally wear shorts so this isn’t an item for me, I wear capris/leggings).
-3-4 Tops/shirts (I like to mix my tops with 3 short sleeves and 1 long sleeve)
-1-2 Cardigans/sweaters (It can be chilly at night or on the plane. I like a light sweater to layer over everything. Some churches require your shoulders and knees to be covered)
-1-2 Dresses (I like to have something nicer in case I go out just in case)
-1 hat (Some people hate hats, but they protect your head!)
-1 set of undergarments for everyday (This is up to you!)
-1 Jackets (I would recommend a light waterproof one in case you encounter some rain).
While this list is more geared towards women, it can also be used for guys. I would encourage you to consider a button up shirt, collared shirt for men. I don’t think a tie is necessary unless you plan to go out to a fancy restaurant.
The age old questions of shoes. This can go many different ways. Shoes are arguably the heaviest item to travel with. Some people, like my sister, travel with 4-5 pairs and will wear them all. My recommendation is just to have something comfortable! You will be on your feet for long periods. Treat them well.
In Europe, flip flops are usually considered beachwear. You normally won’t see them anywhere else. If you wear sandals, they are normally the dressier kind. Keep in mind Europe has a lot of cobbled streets. Asia can have a lot of dirt roads. Only you know where you are going and how much walking you are doing.
-1 pair of everyday walking shoes (ensure they are broken in before using)
-1 pair of nicer going out shoes (could be sandals, heels, whatever you want; I stick with ballet flats or my knee high Teva waterproof boots)
If going on a hike, consider boots. if going to the beach, flip flops. It’s up to you. I wouldn’t take more than 2 pairs of shoes.
-Universal plug adapters
-Band aids/Ibprophin (or other medication)
This list is by no means comprehensive. It is meant to serve as a starting point for you to get to where to need and get you thinking about what you might need to take with you. I’m sure I missed some important items off the top of my head, but you’ll know what you need once you start putting everything together. Hope this helps you! Until next time, happy travels!