The Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist With Years Of Travel Testing

Travel Tips Packing | 6 mins read | Diana Neculai

The Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist With Years Of Travel Testing
Packing is at the core of any travel journey. We have perfected our travel packing checklist over the years, making incremental improvements with each trip.

Smart packing makes travel easier.

Every journey needs two things: packing and planning. While the latter can be skipped and you can travel with no plans whatsoever, you always need to pack something with you, at least some essentials like a toothbrush or underwear.

I believe packing should be easy and take as little time as possible. After all, it’s all about the travel, not the packing. Even so you need to pack smart because poor packing could stand in the way: you need free hands in the transportation, you need to find everything easily without tacking out half of your other belongings to reach for something.

Sometimes I see people starting to pack with one week in advance and this seems insane to me. Not only that you shouldn’t waste so much time with a simple thing such as packing, but by having so many days of packing you will forget and lose track of what you added, what not, and where you put it in your luggage. I believe packing is not only about taking everything you need with you, but also having everything at hand and remembering sort of a map of your luggage.

With this in mind, I created over the years my own checklist that I always use when travel packing, and I also have some packing tips and tricks to increase the ease of use and finding your things.

Tips & Tricks

As the Spanish proverb says: “On a long journey even a straw weighs heavy”. Travel packing is more than following a checklist. It needs skill and experience. We wrote an article with some tips & tricks about how to pack for your journey to help you optimize your packing and avoid making the same mistakes we did in the past.

Travel Packing Style

As we all know some people like to travel light, like backpackers, while others love the “comfort” of having everything with them (including things they never use). I consider myself somewhere in between, in other words, and like light comfort travel packing. I don’t like carrying extra things that I will never use, but I also like to be comfortable. I like to have my hands as free as possible, and the baggs to weight as little as possible without compromising too much comfort. My goal is to find the ideal light/comfort balance.

It is up to each of us to decide which way we want to travel, just bare in mind that my checklist is somewhere in the middle, and you might want to remove few things or add others.

The Travel Packing Checklist

Our packing checklist went through many changes along the years. It has been through many one month trips, multi-months road trips, and also a 5 months trip around the world. The trip around the world also meant going to the other hemisphere which means switching a lot between seasons. We like the outdoors, so we had to take beach stuff and also hiking gear with us. We traveled on 7 continents, including Antarctica, in tropical countries, and also in freezing cold countries like Iceland.


  1. Upper Body
  • T-shirts / Tank Tops
  • Long-sleeved
  • Sweater / Hoodie
  • Jacket
  • Rain Jacket / Poncho
  1. Lower Body
  • Short Pants
  • Longs Pants
  • Rain Pants
  • Skirts
  • Belt
  1. Underwear
  • Underpants
  • Bras
  • Socks
  1. Head
  • Hat
  • Cap
  • Scarf
  • Beanie
  1. Shoes
  • Flip flops
  • Sneakers
  1. Others
  • Pajamas
  • Gloves


  1. Face & Head
  • Face Cleaning
  • Face Creams
  • Thermal Water
  • Aftershave
  • Lip Balm
  • Makeup
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Hair Wax
  • Hair Ties
  1. Body
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume
  • Head & Body Soap
  • Conditioner
  • Dailies / Tampons
  • Condoms / Birth Control
  1. Oral
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental Floss
  • Air Floss
  1. Grooming
  • Razor
  • Shaver
  • Epilator
  • Nail Clipper
  1. Other
  • Mosquito Repellant
  • Room Insect Repellant
  • Face Sunscreen
  • Body Sunscreen

Health & Medical

  1. Allergies
  • Antihistamine cream
  • Antihistamine tablets
  • EpiPen + prescription
  1. General
  • Prescription meds + prescription
  • Painkiller
  • Food Poisoning Medicine
  • Cold Medicine
  • Thermometer
  • Motion Sickness
  • Supplements
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Facemasks
  1. First Aid
  • Skin Rash Cream
  • Rehydration Tablets
  • Compression bandage
  • Skin Patches
  • Sterile Gauze Pads
  • Sterile Gauze Roll
  • Antiseptic Wound Cleaning
  • Antibiotic Ointment or Powder


  1. Daily Needs
  • Day Backpack
  • Anti-theft Wire
  • Backpack Rain Cover
  • Water Bottle
  • Thermos
  • Sunglasses
  • Tissues
  • Wet Tissues
  • Laundry bags
  • Zip Bags
  1. In-Flight
  • Flight Earbuds
  • Books / Kindle
  • Sudoku + Pen
  • Neck Pillow
  1. Eating on-the-go
  • Pocket Multi-tool
  • Spork
  1. Emergency
  • Towel
  • Pillowcase
  • Travel Sheet
  • Head Lamp
  • Life Straw


  • Camera
  • GoPro + Accessories
  • SD Card
  • Tripod
  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Phone
  • Phone Tie
  • Watch
  • Headphones
  • Power Bank
  • Chargers
  • Socket Adaptor

Travel Documents

  • Wallet
  • Passport
  • ID card
  • Driver License
  • Car Documents
  • Proof of Vaccination
  • Visa
  • Printed Tickets
  • Map

Activity Tailored Travel Packing Checklist

Hiking Packing Checklist

It’s also important to mention that your destination matters as well when packing. You won’t take the same things with you when going hiking as when going to the beach in Australia, so you would have to choose from the checklist the activities you need. Please note that the checklist doesn’t include extreme weather conditions that should be considered when travelling to places like Iceland or doing hikes in Norway.

Rainy Day in The Highlands of Iceland
Rainy Day in The Highlands of Iceland

As enthusiast hikers, there’s no better way to observe and admire nature than a hike. However, the thrill of a hike can be ruined if you don’t have the proper gear with you. For this we made a special article about the gear you need on every hike.

The Hiking Gear And Equipment Essentials Checklist
Every hike is unique, but the gear you need stays the same. Except for the weather-dependent equipment, everything else is the same for all hiking adventures.
The Hiking Gear And Equipment Essentials Checklist

Beach Packing Checklist

  • Beach Clothing
  • Flip-flops
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Beach Bag / Tote
  • Cooler / insulated bag
  • Swimwear
  • Beach Towel
  • Quick Dry Towel
  • Umbrella / Tarp
  • Book / Kindle
  • UV Clothes / Rashguards
  • Sunscreen
  • Snorkel Gear
  • Water Shoes
  • Beach accessories
  • Floating Buoy

Road Trip Packing Checklist

  1. Car Related
  • Documents
  • Insurance
  • Flat Tyre Repair Kit
  • Gloves
  • Tyre Inflator
  • Tyre Chains
  1. Others
  • Blanket
  • Hand Cream
  • Comfy Shoes
  • Bike Helmet
  1. Picnic
  • Foldable Chairs
  • Picnic Table
  • Dishes
  • Spoon / Fork
  • Pocket Multi-tool
  • Food Bags
  • Napkins
  • Food / Snacks
  • Cooler Box
  • Reusable Grocery Bags
  1. Must-haves
  • Trash Bags
  • Car Phone Charger
  • Car phone holder
  • Paper Money and Coins
  • Sunglasses
  • Water Bottle

Antarctica & Polar Expedition Packing Checklist

Polar expeditions and Antarctica require special attention. We wrote and entire article about this, explaining what each item means and for what purpose you’re going to need it. If you’re planning a trip in the Arctic or Antarctic, then you need to check out the following article:

What to Pack for an Expedition in Antarctica
Very few people on this planet have stepped on Antarctica and you are about to be one of them. Do you know what to pack?
What to Pack for an Expedition in Antarctica

I made the checklist as a PDF so you can easily print it, write on it and cut off while packing. That’s how I start packing. If you want the PDF version of this document, drop us a line and we’ll send it to you right away. Bear in mind that the list is not exhaustive and you might have your own personal needs. Take a few minutes to go through it and brainstorm. Think of your daily life and what you used and need on a daily basis.

Feel free to share this article with your friends to help them with their travel packing. I’m continuously editing and improving the list based on my own experiences and on feedback from you guys.

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