Packing for a trip is one of my least favorite activities. Now, you know what’s worse than packing? Forgetting your luggage at home. Yeah, Alfred and I once left all of our clothes at home when we took a road trip to Gainesville, Florida so he could take a final exam for his graduate program. We spent all day driving down to the University of Florida and when we arrived at our Airbnb, we realized we’d left our luggage at home. I say “we”, but Alfred packed in the morning and it was his responsibility to put it in the car. Needless to say, I was a bit stressed out and a bit annoyed. Ultimately, it turned out fine because we simply bought new clothes for the trip but it’s not something you want to do. But a packing list would have helped make this situation less stressful.
While it’s just no fun trying to figure out how many shirts, pants, and other items you might need; it’s even less fun not having these items during a trip. On top of this, trying to remember all the essential toiletries, electronics, and anything else you might need is such a huge bother. But it’s absolutely necessary. For any trip, it’s a good idea to create a short packing list.
- Sit down and write everything you think you might need.
- Then walk away from it for a bit.
- Come back
- Review the list
- Remove at least one item.
I employ this method with every trip, no matter the length. Treat a 1 week trip the same as a 1 month trip when it comes to packing. Employ the method above and try to only pack enough for about a week. It’s important to make the list because it will help keep organized and you’ll definitely realize whether or not you are packing too much. In the end, you really don’t need to take your entire closet full of clothing. Trust me, I understand wanting to have choices. What if you attend a ball? You might need your glass slippers, right? But the reality is you should only take a week’s-worth of clothing and other items because you’ll be able to do laundry in most places and there are stores where you can purchase an item you might need. Just try to pack clothing and colors that are versatile and can be worn in various combinations. Then it’ll seem like you have tons of outfits when you don’t!
If you’re still struggling, here’s my packing list for long-term travel. You might notice, it’s a relatively short list. That’s because I try to pack as little as possible although I do pack a bit more than a week’s-worth. What can I say? I like choices! In October 2016, I traveled around Ecuador for about a month. If I had a closet-worth of clothing, the weight of my pack alone would have ruined it for me. Instead, I had enough clothing to be able to change it up and did laundry when I needed it. I also recommend only caring one main piece of luggage and a carry-on sized backpack. Most your stuff will be in the main luggage and the backpack will hold more important item such as electronics…not to mention it’s easier to haul around a backpack.
Side note: I make use of packing cubes. Essentially, they’re awesome little zippered bags to help you organize all your clothes. Make sure to roll your clothes and then just put them in the packing cube. This list is for a trip spanning many climates, so I would need pants and shorts but you can adjust based on the climate your visiting.
- T-shirts x 5
- Tank Tops x 3
- Jeans x 2
- Shorts x 4
- Button down shirt x 1
- Underwear x 15 (I always take more than enough)
- Socks x 10 (I always take a more than enough and a mixture of crew and short socks)
- Swimsuit/speedo x 1
- Fleece pullover x 1
- Jacket x 1 (you can wear this as you actually travel)
- Athletic shoes/Hiking boots x 1 pair
- Sandals x 1 pair
- Casual shoes x 1 pair (wear while you fly etc. Nice enough to go our in or to dress up)
Side note: There are certain things you will definitely miss so make sure you bring those with you. Additionally try to buy travel sized items and keep in mind you can always purchase items so you don’t need to bring your entire medicine cabinet.
- Shampoo and Conditioner
- Contact lenses and solution (if you use them)
- Face wash
- Travel towel or wash cloth
- Body lotion
- Fingernail clippers
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
- Chapstick x 2
- Hand sanitizer
- Pain relievers such as Aspirin/Ibuprofen
- Multi-vitamins, supplements, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, zinc, fiber, probiotics, etc.
- Anti-Malarial (if needed), alkaseltzer, any prescription meds
- Band aids and first aid (but don’t go overboard)
- Condoms (I hesitate to add this but sex is part of life. If you think there is a chance it might happen, be prepared)
- Cologne (not necessary but I like to pack it)
- Cell phone
- Laptop computer
- Chargers for phone, computer, ipad, camera, etc
- External Hard drive (thin and compact…only pack if you know you need it)
- Memory cards
- Collapsible water bottle
- notebook and pens
- travel insurance
- flight information
- Cash stash
- Debit/credit card
- Rubber bands
- Travel lock and key
- Travel bug spray (if you’re going to an area where you’ll need it)
- Travel pillow and blindfold
Now this list isn’t exactly definitive. Your packing needs might be different based on your own personal preferences as well as your gender. However, this packing list will definitely help streamline the process. No matter what, remember to make a list. It helps immensely!
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