Packing Essentials

I often wonder what to pack when I go away. And, like most things, it really depends on the circumstances – in this case that means you have to think about where you’re going and what the purpose of your journey is, and then take this into consideration when packing for your trip.

My general rule is to pack LIGHT…anything you need you can always buy on the road. And no you don’t need that sixth pair of shoes, or that top you maybe, might, one day wear. If you don’t wear/use it at home, you won’t whilst travelling either, that’s for sure. So for now here’s a guideline of what I pack when I go away…

The Basics:

  • 6-7x tops (these can be a mixture of vest tops, tshirts and long sleeved shirts.
  • 1x pair of trousers (I always take jeans, but that’s just personal preference)
  • 1x snuggly warm jumper (for me, it’s usually a hoodie)
  • 2x thinner jumper/sweatshirt/cardigan
  • 1x skirt
  • 3x shorts, 1x boardies (mix and match with the skirt vs. shorts dilemma…i’m a shorts person but it’s up to you)
  • 1x dress/smart outfit for nights out.
  • 2x pyjamas (also depends on personal preference and what you wear to bed, but I usually take one pair of long pj bottoms and one pair of pj shorts/boxers, and then a couple of tshirts, which can come out of your ‘tops’ allowance)
  • 1x pair of 3/4 length sweatpants (for those lazy days)
  • Enough underwear for one week
  • 2x bikini’s/swimsuits
  • 1x travel towel (most hostels will provide you with a towel, so you will have one spare for the beach/pool)

    Too. Much. Stuff.
  • 1x pair of light shoes (i.e. TOMS/Converse/pumps)
  • 1x pair of sturdier shoes (i.e. proper sneakers/walking shoes)
  • 2x pairs of flip-flops (this depends on where you’re going and the weather).
  • Raincoat (if you’re going somewhere it might rain).
  • Toiletries – the usual stuff, toothbrush/paste, shampoo/shower gel, razor, bug spray etc etc.
  • Medical kit. Buy one pre-made or make your own – you’ll need stuff like antiseptic wipes/cream, ibuprofen/paracetamol, plasters and so on).

So that’s the basics…but it’s by no means a hard and fast rule…change it, mix and match…it is, after all, your trip, your clothes and your mission to pack your bag!

I also have a few essential items I take with me on the majority of my trips that just make my life that little bit easier…

The Essentials:

  • A bag of some sort, whether this be a backpack or a top-loading suitcase (well, duh).
  • Packing cubes. These are fantastic for organising your clothes and making packing easier. They also mean that you don’t have to pull all your stuff out of your bag just to find that one pair of socks, you just grab the packing the cube that has your socks in!
  • Day bag/handbag for carrying your wallet, passport, camera etc when out sightseeing or for a day at the beach.
  • Pacsafe cord lock – fits any locker and excellent for when you’re on a train and want some sleep but have no one to watch your belongings…just wrap the cord around your bag and onto something sturdy.
  • Camera.
  • Phone…get an international SIM card to save on those hefty roaming charges (but don’t forget to unlock your phone first!)
  • Laptop/iPad. This is of course personal preference…I like to be able to freely access the internet to blog and keep in contact with people at home. For my next trip I’m taking my iPad and leaving the laptop behind, which is a first for me, so it’s going to be interesting to see how I get on.
  • iPod.
  • Chargers for all the electronics.
  • Passport (!!!).
  • Visas.
  • Notebook – I never go anywhere without a notebook and pen…it’s always handy to write down what you do each day or just to jot down the local bus times.
  • A folder for all your paperwork (and believe me, you’ll have more than you would imagine).
  • Travel money (always carry some US dollars with you).
  • Sleeping bag liner (silk ones are best as they fold up the smallest) – for those times when you stay somewhere and you dont even want to look at the bed linen, let alone sleep on it!
  • A torch (a mini maglite will do) for those times when you come into your hostel room in the middle of the night and need to find your toothbrush in the dark.
  • Duct tape (for when your bag/shoe/camera breaks…it can fix pretty much anything! I’ve even seen it used to cover cuts and scrapes before).
  • World Travel Adapter Plug, like this one.

And that’s it. My general packing list. Obviously each trip has it’s own little quirks that will require some modifications, but hopefully this will help as a starting point. Oh, and also…roll, don’t fold, you’ll save so much space. Now go pack that bag and explore the world!

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