Having a packing list is something that I recommend to every traveler, and it’s a great way of making sure that you don’t forget to pack essential things for your trip.

I’ve been traveling the world since 2010 and here are my best packing tips as well as the ultimate checklist for travelers. What to pack for your trip is highly individual and every packing list will be unique. 

However, to ensure that you don’t forget anything important, I’ve made a big list of items that you might want to pack for your trip. Just make a cross-check when packing and I can promise that you won’t forget anything essential. 

Furthermore, I’ve created some suggestive packing lists for various types of trips, e.g sunny vacation, hiking trips, city weekend or a longer backpacking adventure.

My Best Packing Tips

As a seasoned traveler, I’ve had my fair share of trials and errors when it comes to packing. These are some of my best tips to make your packing better and more convenient.

If you want to see the complete packing list to make sure that you haven’t forgotten something, scroll down in the article. Or open the table of the content above and use the quick links. 

Choose the right suitcase/backpack for your trip

The first step to pack successfully is to choose the most suitable suitcase or backpack for your destination and purpose of the trip. If you go on a city weekend or hiking trip, it can be more convenient to bring a backpack instead of a suitcase. 

And if you’re going on a beach vacation or travel during the winter, you might prefer having a larger suitcase. The same goes for backpackers, who should choose an appropriate size for their luggage. 

When you what suitcase or backpack you’ll be traveling with, you can also make a better estimation of what to bring and how much will actually fit.

Stay organized

Use packing cubes or at least have some kind of organization when you pack for your trip. For example, you can put one type of clothes on one side of the suitcase or at the top/bottom of your backpack.

I highly recommend using packing cubes that compress the air and make more room in your luggage. They are also great to stay organized by having different packing cubes for various types of clothes.

Packing cubes to organize luggage

Photo: sasimoto/Shutterstock

Place clothes that you consider to bring on your bed

When I start packing, I always put all the clothes that I might want to bring for the trip on my bed. I place them on my bed to get an easy overlook of all clothes.

I recommend that you start with the basics such as underwear, socks, and shirts. After that, choose clothes that you’re certain that you’ll need or want to wear during your trip. Place other clothes that you’re unsure of in the “maybe” pile. 

Sort away the clothes from the maybe pile one by one, and say yes or no. Before adding them to your suitcase, ask yourself one more time, do I really need these? And will I actually wear them? If the answer is no, don’t pack them. 

I can guarantee that you won’t need half of the stuff from your maybe pile. So why pack them? It’s just unnecessary weight and extra luggage to drag. Less is often more when it comes to packing. 

Carry on packing list

If you travel with checked luggage and a carry on suitcase/backpack, double-check these items to make sure that you haven’t forgotten something that’s important. I always recommend packing an extra pair of underwear, a shirt, and socks in case your checked luggage gets lost. 

Phone charger Headphones Laptop
iPad Camera/GoPro + charger Memory cards
Lithium batteries Powerbank Travel Pillow
Eye Mask Earplugs Blanket
Hand sanitizer Books & Magazines Lotion
Water bottle (to refill) Deck of cards Snacks
Extra pair of underwear Extra t-shirt/shirt Extra Pair of socks

Summer vacation packing list

These are some of the essential things to pack for your summer vacation. 

T-shirts/tank top Shorts/skirts Sandals/flip flops
Sunglasses Cap/hat Swimwear
Hammock Reusable water bottle Fan
Dresses Light sweater/jacket Blouses/shirts
Cover-ups/sarongs Beach bag Beach towel/blanket
Aftersun Eco-friendly sunscreen Cooling bag

What to pack on a weekend trip

I recommend packing the following for a city weekend trip. Keep it simple and don’t bring to much if you’re only going away for a few days, you will only wear a few pieces of clothing unless you’re attending a special event.

  • 2-3 T-shirts or 2-3 shirts
  • 1-2 Dresses or 1 Suit/Trousers
  • Leisure shoes or walking shoes
  • 1 Pair of jeans
  • Shorts/Skirt if you travel during the summer
  • 4-5 pair of underwear and socks
  • 1 Thick sweater or light jacket
  • Personal toiletries and medicines
weekend London

Photo: walisheru / Shutterstock.com

Complete packing list

If you want to make sure that you don’t forget something, you can scroll through this complete packing list that mentions all thinkable items that you might want to bring on your next trip. 

Clothing

T-Shirts/linen Shirt Underwear
Trousers Shorts Jeans
Blouse Sportswear Swimwear
Windbreaker Blazer/jacket Rainwear
Running shoes Walking shoes Sandals/flip flops
Thick sweater/Hoodie Baselayers Socks
Sleepwear Belt Scarves

Personal items and toiletries

This is an extensive packing list for personal items and toiletries that you might want to bring on your next trip. 

Hairbrush/Comb Straightener Hairdryer
Deodorant Perfume Hair wax
Razor for shaving Shampoo Conditioner
Body wash Facial wash Moisturizer
Toothbrush + toothpaste Dental floss Mouthwash
Bodylotion Aftersun Sunscreen
Makeup Makeup remover Baby wipes
Lip balm Napkins Nail scissor
Small towel Handkerchief Tampons

Electronics

  • Earphones
  • Travel adapter
  • Laptop/Tablet
  • Camera + Charger
  • GoPro
  • Selfie-stick
  • Memory Card
  • An unlocked cellphone
  • Cellphone charger
  • HDMI-Cable
  • USB-Stick
  • Mp3 player

electronics packing list for travelers

Medicine & First-aid kit

A packing list wouldn’t be complete without including items that you should carry in your first-aid kit while traveling. 

Bandages Waterproof band-aids Band-aids for blisters
Anti-diarrhea pills (e.g Immodium) Cold medicine Pain relievers
Antiseptic baby wipes Nasal spray Antihistamine pills
Rehydration packs Anti-itching cream Insect repellent
Motion sickness pills Vitamins Personal medications

Important documents

  • Passport
  • Tickets
  • Boarding pass
  • Visa for your destination
  • EU insurance card (if you’re from Europe)
  • Hotel reservation confirmation
  • Insurance papers
  • ID/Drivers License
  • Debit Card/Credit Card
  • Some emergency cash
  • Vaccination documents
  • Important phone numbers (bank, embassy, insurance company, etc)
  • Phone number to close relatives

Safety

  • Bra-stash
  • Hidden pocket
  • Hidden wallet
  • Leg wallet
  • TSA-approved padlock

Packing list for long-haul flights

  • Earplugs
  • Books & Magazines
  • Headphones
  • Sleeping mask
  • Travel blanket
  • Travel pillow
  • Snacks & candy
  • Chewing gum

Other packing list items

I don’t consider these miscellaneous items to be essential things to include on your packing list. However, due to personal preferences, it might be a good idea to cross-check this list as well. 

Guide books Maps Alarm clock
Compass Sewing kit Swiss army knife
Sleeping bag Bedsheet Linens
Wine opener Bottle opener Paper and pen
Deck of cards Yatzy Condoms
Flashlight Extra batteries Duct tape
Safety pins Clothesline Clothespins
Hand washing detergent Toilet paper Small padlock

What are some of the essential things on your own packing list when you travel? Leave a comment below!