How to pack for any trip, any time

How to pack for any trip, any time

You’re going on an adventure! Whether a quick jaunt or a month-long journey, rain or shine, the packing rules are the same: keep it light, keep it simple and be prepared. Here is your comprehensive guide to packing like a pro.
 

 Photo c/o Riley Q. 

Photo c/o Riley Q. 

Keep it to one bag.

Forget everything from Scouts and leave the emergency candles, waterproof sponges and reinforced double-walled titanium toothpicks at home.

Do laundry abroad.

Whether you’re packing for a week or a month, you should prep for only a week’s worth of supplies. Use mini detergent packets to wash clothes in the sink or laundromat.

Save room for new stuff.

You may have no intention to shop, but you never know what gems you’ll pick up along the way.

Pack twice.

Round one: pick out everything you need to survive. Round two: cut your inventory in half.

Use compression bags or packing cubes.

These babies save space and condense your clothes for ultimate storage.


Got it? Good. Now, what to pack:

 

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Clothes:

  • 7-8 shirts/tops—bring dark and neutral colors that go with anything
  • Sport coat, scarf or a few small accessories to dress with neutral tops (optional)
  • 1 sweater or light jacket
  • Underwear (pack for about a week)
  • Socks (avoid cotton at all costs to stay comfortable and fresh)
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1-2 pair of pants
  • 1 maxi skirt/dress or dress slacks (optional)
  • 3-5 shorts or dresses (sub in 1-2 pants for winter)
  • Sunglasses
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Flip-flops* and/or dressy (flat) sandals
  • 1 wool sweater** (for winter trips)
  • 1 raincoat/windbreaker (for winter trips)

*For beaches and showers only.
**Avoid bringing big, bulky coats. Excessive layering is the way to go.
 

Electronics

  • Phone charger*
  • Camera/GoPro + accessories + charger
  • Headphones
  • Adapter

*Read our Guide to Converters & Adapters Abroad
Read more: Smart Tips for your Smartphone Abroad
 

Everything else:

  • Passport + a copy to bring with you (send another copy to your email, or save it to your phone)
  • Toiletries (only the necessities)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Adult coloring book/crayons (or other entertainment)
  • Books
  • Neck pillow
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Backpack/Purse
  • Laundry bag
  • Tide to-go stick/detergent packs
  • Gallon plastic bags for toiletries
  • Medications + sleep aid (for the plane)
 Photo c/o @sierranoelle

Photo c/o @sierranoelle

More pro tips

  • Athletic clothing for non-athletic purposes does more to show you’re American than walking around with a gun-totin’ bald eagle in a stars n’ stripes do-rag perched on your shoulder
  • If you’re checking a bag, pack some extra necessities in your carry-on in case your luggage gets delayed.
  • Better yet, pack light enough to not check a bag at all. Wear your bulkiest clothes on the plane and keep your pack small enough to fit in the overhead compartment.
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