Travel Packing List: Essential Items for Traveling

travel packing list

As the effect of the pandemic continues to diminish, the travel industry is restoring itself. People who had to abandon their travel plans due to lockdown restrictions and infection risk are now looking forward to their next trip. If you are one of them, preparing your travel packing list is the first thing you should do.

Figuring out what to pack on a trip can be confusing. You don’t want to take a lot of luggage with you. Simultaneously, you don’t want to miss important items either. Here is a travel packing list to help you pack the right things to prepare for your upcoming trip.

Travel Packing List #1: Documents

Most people make the mistake of starting their packing with clothes and other less important items. If you’re traveling, especially abroad, the documents should be the first thing you should pack. These include:

  • Identification documents
  • Tickets (bus, train, airplane)
  • Reservations
  • Passport/visa (if traveling abroad)
  • Other documents like guidebooks, maps, travel journals, etc.

Documents are essential, regardless of where you travel. Another mistake people make is they store their documents with their clothes and other items. You should store your documents separately and always keep them handy. It is also advisable to have a xerox copy of your documents, as many hotels ask for it.

Travel Packing List #2: Essentials

Once you have your documents sorted, you need to pack essentials. The classification of essential items can vary from person to person. If you are a digital nomad who plans to work on vacation, the laptop will be a necessary item for you. Similarly, a pillowcase could be an essential item for some people.

That said, here are some essential items that should be on every travel packing list:

  • Cellphone and charger
  • Wallet
  • Cash/credit and debit cards
  • Travel-size first aid kit
  • Watch

You can add items to this list based on your needs. For example, sunglasses can be an important item for some travelers. If you’re traveling in the monsoon, you must carry an umbrella or poncho. The camera is another item that can be essential for some people.

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Travel Packing List #3: Clothing

The next step is to decide the clothes you want to carry, and here’s where people go wrong. Travelers need to take a minimalist approach when it comes to choosing which clothes to pack. You should only pack what you will wear. There’s no point in packing three dressy outfits if you only plan to go to a fine dining restaurant once.

travel packing list
travel packing list

We’ll talk about the number of pieces to pack in a second. First, let’s discuss the list of clothing items you should carry.

  • Casual outfit
  • Dressy outfit
  • Undergarments and delicates
  • Pajamas/shorts
  • Swimwear
  • Additional items like hats, gloves, scarves, etc.
  • Accessories, like lockets, bracelets, etc.

Let’s now talk about quantities. First, ask yourself if you will get a chance to wash and dry your clothes. If yes, then you can carry fewer clothes. However, let’s suppose you won’t get a chance to wash your used clothes.

In that case, carry casual outfits depending on the number of vacation days. If you travel for seven days, you should have at least seven casual outfits. Carry one or two dressy outfits for sophisticated events like a dinner. The number of undergarments you carry should also depend on the duration of your vacation.

Travel Packing List #4: Toiletries

The next item that should be on your travel packing list is toiletries. These include personal care items like comb/brush, perfume, hair styling products, shaving cream, face wash, and the like. Again, the toiletries you carry will depend on your preferences.

Some essential items every traveler should carry are:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Soap/face wash
  • Personal hygiene supplies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Shampoo/conditioner

Apart from these items, you can carry personal care products based on your requirements. If you want to shave while traveling, having a razor or trimmer will help. You might want to take your makeup kit, lotion, or other styling products if you’re a female.

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Travel Packing List #5: Medication

Lastly, carry your medication. This includes both your prescriptions and emergency medicines like pain relievers, anti-allergy tablets, antibiotics, etc. If you are suffering from a health condition, consult your doctor before traveling. Ask them if it’s safe to travel and what medicines you should carry.

travel packing list
travel packing list

Ideally, you should carry the following medicines.

  • Anti-fever pills
  • Pain relievers
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-allergy tablets
  • Prescription medications, if any

Travel Packing List #6: Amusements

The final section of the travel packing comprises amusements. Here, you can include all the items you’d like to carry but aren’t essential. These include books, toys, food, video games, iPad, and any other thing that you think will improve your travel experience.

It’s vital to add these items to your list at the end after you have packed the other important things. It’s possible your bag won’t have enough space to include these items, and it’s alright to exclude them if you’re planning a short trip.

You might get bored and want to listen to some music, or watch reruns of your favorite tv shows. You cannot possibly keep traveling 24 hours in a day, right? If you have trouble accessing the internet, make sure that you bring downloaded content from The Pirate Bay to help you with the entertainment.

Bonus: What to Keep in Your Carry Bag

When traveling, you’ll probably carry two bags: a checked bag and a carry bag. The checked bag is the bigger bag that will include most of your clothes and other belongings. The carry bag is the one you’ll hang on your shoulders. When you travel around a place, you keep the carry bag with you and leave the checked bag at the hotel.

Therefore,  you should ensure your carry bag has the important items. These include:

  • Wallet
  • ID/passport, and other documents
  • Smartphone and charger
  • Credit/debit cards (if you store them separately)
  • Other essential items depending on the individual


Traveling is fun, but packing can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have enough travel experience. Deciding what to pack and what to exclude can be confusing, and you may end up carrying too much luggage for a short vacation.

By following the checklist mentioned above, you’ll be able to streamline your packing process and pack smartly without missing important things.

So, what items do you like to carry when you travel?