Ready to conquer the world, one suitcase at a time?
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting out on your globetrotting adventures, there’s one thing we can all agree on: packing is a pain in the you-know-what.
But fear not.
I have come to save the day (and your sanity) with the ultimate packing list for any trip.
No more forgetting to renew your passport or struggling to fit your entire wardrobe into a tiny carry-on.
With this list, you’ll be the envy of all your travel companions and feel like a pro as you breeze through airport security.
So grab a pen and paper, or better yet, bookmark this page for future reference because we’re about to make packing a whole lot easier (and, dare I say it, enjoyable?)
Let’s get packing!
1. Double-Check That Your Passport is Valid
Packing your bags for an international summer vacation?
Double-check your passport is valid (most countries won’t let you in if it expires in six months), and you have at least two double blank pages for visa stamps.
It’s easy to overlook your passport expiry date in the excitement of planning a trip. I’ve seen it happen to many travelers who only realize it once they’re at the airport check-in counter.
That’s not all.
The State Department recently announced a delay in processing times, taking as long as 8-11 weeks.
If you pay for an expedited passport, you’ll still wait 5 to 7 weeks, which DOES NOT include mailing time.
So if you’re planning an international adventure in June, renew your passport NOW.
Tips for Applying for Your US Passport
- All the info is broken down for you at travel.state.gov/passport. Review the site, print out the form, and get all the details on where to send your application.
- Some post offices have passport service centers. Use them if you need help.
- Always put the known dates of when you are traveling. It’s helpful.
- Remember, your old passport will be mailed back to you about eight weeks after you get your new passport.
- Once you get your new passport, make sure it’s synced with your Global Entry and that you update your profile with the airline.
2. Bring The Right Luggage for Your Trip
What’s the best bag for any trip? A bag with spinner wheels.
It’s a game-changer.
When you’re traveling by plane, it’s the easiest option for navigating airports, and it can hold more items than a backpack.
However, if you’re wandering the cobbled streets of Europe and using public transportation, a backpack may be the more comfortable option.
Plus, you won’t go clack-clack-clack down the streets.
Lastly, make sure you choose a bag that’s the right size for your trip.
If you’re going to Mexico for the weekend, a carry-on is the perfect option, while a 2-week trip to Europe means you’ll need to invest in checked luggage.
3. Choosing Your Clothes
Packing for a trip is like eating potato crisps.
Once you start, it’s hard not to keep adding clothing items to your bag *just in case*.
I mean, you never know what might happen.
Sure, you’re only spending 4-nights in Tulum, but what’s the harm of packing 15 pairs of underwear?
To help nip your overpacking in the bud, use these tips as your guiding light:
- The weather: Check the forecast a few days before your trip. Are you expecting some rain? Pack your raincoat. Are temperatures scorching during the day but chilly at night? Throw in a few light layers in between your bikinis and kaftans.
- Your color palette: It’s 10x easier to pack for a trip when you have some rules in place. My favorite hack? Forcing myself to stick to a color palette. Not only does it eliminate my hoarding tendencies, but it also makes putting together an outfit so much easier. When all the colors complement each other, it’s easy to mix and match and create multiple outfits from only a handful of clothing items.
- Laundry: If your hotel or Airbnb has a laundry option, you can cut down on the amount of clothes you need to pack.
4. Unlock Your Credit Card for International Travel
Lock into your online banking profile and change your credit card status to “traveling.”
If you don’t, you won’t be able to withdraw cash or pay for purchases abroad.
Plus, your bank will flag it as fraud and freeze you out.
That’s not the kind of admin you want to deal with while sipping on Mai Thai’s in Koh Tao.
5. Carry-On Survival Kit
The number one rule of traveling with checked luggage?
Always, always have a backup survival kit in your carry-on.
You never know what might happen.
The airline could misplace your bag, and you might have to wait a day or two to get it back.
Pack a change of clothes, TSA-friendly toiletries, extra shoes, and anything else you might need if your checked bag doesn’t reach your final destination to avoid as much hassle as possible.
6. Checked Luggage Checklist
Okay, it’s time we discuss the elephant in the room.
Your checked bag.
A place that starts neatly packed and ends up as pure chaos in a box.
But no matter how long you’re gone, here are the essentials you’ll want to make sure survive the roundtrip:
Toiletries: Your toothbrush. How often have you left it at home or in a hotel room? Make a reminder on your phone. It doesn’t deserve to live out its life in Bali without you. Next, pack your essential toiletries (face serums, deodorant, perfume, makeup, etc.) and any styling tools or products.
First aid and medications: Even if you don’t take prescription medications, traveling with a few over-the-counter medicines is always a good idea. You never know if the aircon in your hotel room will give you the sniffles. Come prepared with standard flu medication, headache tablets, bandaids, and anything else you need.
Footwear: There are people out there that travel the world with only one pair of shoes. I’m definitely not one of those people. Pack strategically if you’re like me and need a shoe for every occasion. Bring along your comfy sneakers for exploring the city. A pair of heels for cocktails. A study hiking boot for exploring the trails or some sandals for brunch and walks on the beach.
Quick Tips on How to Plan Your Trip
Jetlag: To beat jet lag, get outside as soon as possible when you arrive. It will help you sync up with the local time and get your body in the right rhythm.
Speak to your hotel concierge: You’ll get a list of the best tour companies and any exclusive deals for guests.
Plan with flexibility: While it’s always a good idea to have a travel itinerary, leave room for spontaneous adventures. Plan no more than three things in a day, and use the rest of the time to relax or discover something that wasn’t on your radar.
There you have it.
My ultimate packing list for any trip.
Got any questions or tips for your fellow travelers? Let me know in the comments below!