General Travel

The Ultimate Travel Packing Check List

UPDATED: 4/15/2021


Packing is one of the most important things that you will do to prepare for your trip.  How well you pack can often times be the difference between a stress-free trip and a nightmare.  Forget your passport, important medication, or an essential piece of clothing or gear and you could be left scrambling to find a replacement instead of relaxing or exploring.  Even if you don’t forget to pack something important, over-packing, not following airport security guidelines or customs regulations, or losing your luggage or gear can an equally stressful experience.  So before you print off my travel checklist and start packing, I have included a short video below that covers my Top 10 Packing Tips for travelers that you can review to make sure you are prepared.

Watch My Top Ten Travel Packing Tips

My Ultimate Packing Checklist

Forgetting something when traveling can end up being anything from an inconvenience to a show stopper.  To help you avoid forgetting the big things that can quickly derail an international trip, I have created this guide with checklists to help you make sure you don’t leave anything behind.  If you would like to print these checklists off to use for your trip, I have created a printable version of this guide for you to print and use.

Step 1: Picking the Right Bag
Step 2: Pack Your Suitcase
Step 3: Pack Your Toiletry Bag
Step 4: Pack Your Camera Gear and Electronics
Step 5: Organize Your Travel Docs

Step 1 – Picking the Right Bag


The type of bag you bring will ultimately depend on what type of trip you are taking.  If you are planning a quick weekend trip, a smaller carry-on bag will probably suffice.  If you are planning to backpack across Europe, a travel or hiking backpack will probably be your best option.  For those long trips involving multiple airport stops, a roller bag really comes in handy.  Below are some of the bag options you have to choose from and what the pros and cons of using each are.

Rolling Bags

A rolling bag is great for those longer trips where you are going to be taking multiple flights during your trip or you are going to be rolling your bag between train transfers.  They also come in multiple different sizes so you can find the right size for your needs.

Samsonite Centric Expandable Hardside Checked Luggage with Spinner Wheels.png

Duffle Bags

Duffle bags aren’t as convenient for longer trips where you have to lug your bag around multiple airports or between train switches, but they can be great bags for shorter trips or to use as a carry-on bag.Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 45L Big Sur Blue.png

Travel Backpack

If you are going to be spending a significant amount of time on the road and will be visiting multiple different destinations, then the best type of bag for you to use will undoubtedly be a travel backpack.  These are the most convenient to transport around and give you the most amount of flexibility.Osprey AG 65.png

Step 2 – Pack Your Suitcase


When packing your suitcase, it is important to remember to pack lightweight clothes that can be worn in layers.  This will give you a lot of flexibility on attire depending on the weather you encounter.  For more tips on how to pack your suitcase, please refer to my article on the 10 Packing Tips That Every Traveler Should Follow.

Once you are ready to start packing your bag, you can use the checklist below to make sure that you have everything you need.

Long-sleeved Shirts
Short-sleeved Shirts
Fleece or Heavier Shirt (if traveling to cooler location)
Pants and/or Shorts
Dresses or Skirts
Belt or Money Belt for Cool Money Protection Option
Socks (wool socks are best for hiking)
Base Layer (if traveling to colder climate)
Warm Jacket/Gloves/Hat (if traveling to coolor location)
Rain Jacket or Rain Poncho (these are great travel options)
Pajamas or Sleepwear
Walking or Hiking Shoes
Baseball/Safari/Sun Hat if traveling to Hot Location
SunGlasses and Case
Jewelry (organized in travel jewelry organizer)

Step 3 – Pack Your Toiletry Bag

Toiletry Bag

The next step is to make sure your toiletry bag is organized.  To help make sure you have everything you need packed, I have included a checklist for you to use below.

Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, and Dental Floss
Hair Brush
Shampoo, Conditioner, and Bodywash
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, and Dental Floss
Makeup (packed in a travel makeup bag)
Sunscreen and Aloe vera
Lip Balm
Glasses cleaner and/or Contact Solution
Feminine Hygiene Products
Lotion or Moisturizer
Glasses Repair Kit

Step 4 – Pack Your Camera Gear and Electronics


Now that you have your suitcase and toiletry bags packed, it is time to pack your electronics.  To help make sure you have everything you need packed, I have included a checklist for you to use below.  If you would like some more in-depth advice on what photography gear to pack, check out my 18 Essential Pieces of Gear for Traveling Photographers.

Cell Phone
Cell Phone Charger
Backup Cell Phone Charger
Tablet (loaded with your favorite movies and music)
Tablet Charger
Headphones (these Beats wireless headphones are amazing)
Backup Camera (if you are serious about photography)
Lenses (I recommend a wide-angle and zoom lens)
Camera Batteries (I recommend multiple backups)
Camera Battery Charger
Lens Hoods
Battery Grip
GPS Attachment (if your camera supports it isn’t built-in)
Lens Filters (I recommend a polarizing filter)
Camera Bag (I recommend a Lowepro Camera Backpack)
Travel Cable Organizer
Portable Charger
Necessary International Power Converters

Step 5 – Organize Your Travel Documents


The last step in your travel process is to organize your travel documents.  This includes things like your passport, your travel VISAs, immunization records, and so forth.  This is stuff that you definitely don’t want to forget or it could derail your trip real quick.  To help make sure you have everything you need packed, I have included a checklist for you to use below.

Driver’s Licenses (and international driver’s license if necessary)
Necessary VISAs
Currency Exchanged
Notified Credit Card Companies of Travel
Itinerary and Reservation Details (including tour vouchers)
Photo Copy of Passports Left at Home
Overseas Phone Plan(s) (If Necessary)
Necessary Travel Vaccinations
Register with Smart Traveler Program
Travel Insurance and Medical and Dental Insurance Cards

If there is something that you think should be added to this list, please leave us a suggestion in the comments section.  We love getting your feedback!

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