Is there any such thing as the ultimate packing list? Can you truly find a travel checklist that contains not just the basic necessities but also items that would make your trip worthwhile? Well, you’ve stumbled upon one.
This packing checklist does a little more than prepare you for an awesome vacation. It doesn’t just tell you what to pack for a trip but it also prepares you for the unexpected.
It is the ultimate travel list with tons of traveler items for vacation lovers interested in exploring archeological sites or engaging more daring activities like inter-railing Europe or trekking a mountain.
This list of what to pack for a trip goes beyond the basic necessities like toiletries, clothes, and shower gel.
In fact, you can consider it as an international travel packing list that should serve you whether you’re planning to take a dive in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or relax in the beautiful and serene coastline of Amalfi Coast, Italy.
Even if you’re planning on packing light for a short trip, or you’re going to be spending the long summer holidaying in Rome, this packing checklist should get you started on how to pack a backpack.
So without further ado, here is a packing checklist of the 60 things to pack in your travel backpack or in your suitcase if you wish.
The Ultimate List Of Things To Pack In Your Travel Backpack
1. Money Belt
Things can quickly take a turn when you have your cash stolen right under your nose or worse, your passport vanishes into thin air. For most tourists, this is the worst scenario ever.
The best way to keep your money and other valuables safe while you enjoy a walk on the Great Wall of China is to get a money belt. Unlike a fanny pack, a money belt is lightweight and can be easily hidden from prying eyes.
A money belt that is lightweight, discrete, and comes with multiple pockets for easy organizations is the Peak Gear Travel Money Belt.
While it features soft, light straps that easily adjust around the waist, it also comes with several compartments and pockets including a double-release safety buckle. Maybe the best features of the Peak Gear money belt is its $250 theft insurance on stolen items.
2. Backpack with Padded Straps
While you already have a sturdy suitcase, you will need an even lighter backpack to move around with. Below is the best selection of backpacks with padded straps that should make for a great addition to any packing list for travel.
Though the best-recommended travel bag is the Volher anti-theft laptop backpack fitted with USB charging ports and multiple storage pockets.
3. Hard-shell Rolling Carry-On Suitcase
Before you can pack anything, you need a place it would be packed into. A hard-shell rolling-on-suitcase is what you need if you’re going to move your luggage around a lot. They are not only more sturdy but also more durable than their soft counterparts.
The Samsonite Hardside 20-inch Carry-On Spinner Luggage is just the right size and capacity for vacation lovers. It is expandable, durable, and sturdy with four, multidirectional oversized spinner wheels for easy mobility.
If you’re not travelling outside your country, you might not need your passport. In most cases, all you need a driver’s license or any other form of identification. If you’re travelling out of the country, however, it is pretty much common sense to move around with your passport.
And not only that but also other means of identification. It is also a good idea to take some extra passport photos with you on your trip.
5. Portable Phone Charger / Power Bank
A power bank is a handy device to have around especially if you’re going to spend most of your time outdoors during your trip.
It is best to go with a high-capacity portable phone charger or power bank so that you can take as many pictures as you want without having to worry about running out of battery on the road.
One of the most affordable and very efficient portable phone chargers is the Anker Powercore 13000, a powerful power bank that can keep your phone battery going for days.
6. EU Adapters
If you’re moving from the US into the EU or Australia, or New Zealand, you should know you’re moving into an entirely different territory with different rules, including socket outlets.
To charge your electronics and appliances correctly, you will need the European Travel Plug Adapter by Ceptics. Unlike other options in the market, they come with the lowest prices and offer the best in terms of features making them the best buy for any traveler.
7. Clothes (Including PJ’S)
Clothes seem like pretty much common sense items to add to any packing list, but there are more to pack than PJs and underwear
The perfect cloth collection should consist of underwear, pants (shorts), shirts (long or short-sleeve, t-shirts, polo shirts or blouses), pajamas, rain jack, dress outfit, formal wear, sweaters, cold weather gear (hats, gloves, boots), socks, dress pants, sportscoat, and hooded jackets.
Depending on your vacation location, you can either be well-prepared or over-prepared when you follow the cloth collection above.
Before picking out your clothes, take into consideration the type of activities you’re going to engage in during your trip – whether, you’ll be partying, snorkeling, sightseeing, water-surfing, or hiking. You can easily pick the right gear for any occasion this way.
If you’re going on a vacation in Europe, you’re going to need Euros. Depending on the activities you’re going to undertake and the place you plan on spending your vacation, you may need a lot or just a few.
It is best to get a good amount of Euros tucked in your money belt before even boarding the airplane. We recommend you change your currency with a local currency exchange rather than at the airport or in your vacation spot.
9. Painkillers And Medicine
Packing a good amount of painkillers and medicine for muscle aches, headaches, period pains, and allergies might sound like too much since you can easily buy there at your vacation spot.
However, this precautionary step could prove useful. Painkillers like paracetamol, ibuprofen, and aspirin provide quick relief and are good to have around.
Always go for over-the-counter painkillers and avoid those that require a doctor’s prescription (except you have one of course). In addition to that, you should pack anti-inflammatory medication to deal with muscle aches after hikes or long treks. Lastly, you should pack medicine for cold and flu.
10. First Aid Kit
A first aid kit isn’t just handy for camping. On-the-spot treatment won’t only give you more time to go to the hospital and get better treatment, but also save you the costs of hospital bills for less serious injuries.
A first aid kit like the Swiss Safe 2-in-1 120-Piece kit comes with just the right tools for on-the-spot treatment.
11. GPS or map
Been lost in camp before? Well, it was usually easy to find the way back. However, camps make up just an inch of a city like Paris and while you could ask the locals for direction, you put yourself at risk of being easily picked on by street thugs.
This is why it is important not to have only Google Maps installed on your mobile but also a GPS App that will help you navigate around the city.
Unfortunately, a GPS App is only as good as its signal and the battery capacity of your phone. You should always have a hard copy back-up map in your backpack at all times.
12. Walking Shoes
You can’t go mountain climbing or trekking in formal shoes or in ankle strap heels. Walking shoes like Adidas sneakers always make for the best buy as they are not only durable but offer the best comfort while you go on your adventures. You can check on the best line up of walking shoes with the best reviews and prices here.
The best vacation experience goes beyond sitting on the beach and getting a tan in the sun. Visiting clubs, hanging out with locals, and learning more about the new culture usually creates the best memories. To fit in, you will need to pack in the right outfit for parties, hangouts, clubbing, and exploring.
14. Extra Shoes
You’ll need the right shoes to go with your outfit and the occasion. Depending on your vacation spot, you may only need one shoe type (trainers probably) for exploring, clubbing, parties, and hangouts.
If you do find love while on vacation, you may need something a little more formal like laced shoes or peep-toe stilettos to impress your date.
15. Waterproof Mac/ Rain Coat
Vacations can be fun until it rains on your parade. To keep the fun going, you should have a waterproof mac with a hood in your backpack and with you at all times.
There are many options to go for but the CLC Custom Leathercraft Rain Wear provides excellent protection from drenches. Unlike other types, it goes way below the knees protecting your entire wear.
16. Body Wash
You would need some extra body wash depending on how long you’re going to spend in your vacation spot. For extremely sensitive people or those who prefer a certain brand of type of body wash, it is important that you pack as much as you need to avoid running out.
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17. Shampoo, Conditioner
Instead of regular-sized shampoos and conditioners that are quite bulky, opt for smaller-sized bottles or fill up small plastic bottles with your hair liquids to save space in your backpack.
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You can either go for a spray deodorant or a roll-on though the latter gives you the extra space you need to pack more stuff.
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Another thing to pack to prepare you the kind of weather you’re going to experience in your vacation spot is a moisturizer. It is recommended that you buy a moisturizer with SPF to protect you from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays of the sun.
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20. Hair Products
Aside from shampoos and conditioners, you will need a hairbrush, comb, hair gel, and spray to keep your hair healthy and shiny. You may also need a pair of curling thongs or straighteners but only go for these items if only you truly need them.
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When picking for towels, it is best you go for the soft ones like the Hamman Linen Grey Towels. These towels come in a 6-piece set which is great for you if you’re travelling as a family, group, or with someone else.
Better accuracy, convenience, and better plaque removal are all helpful benefits of an electric toothbrush, but they do take up extra space. Manual toothbrushes do not require charging, take up less space (they do not require a charger), and they still make for the best buy.
Small or medium-sized toothpaste should last you throughout the duration of your trip. However, if you’re not going alone, you would have to go larger.
If you have an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, you can easily take great pictures and leave out a camera from your packing list. But if you still want an affordable and high-quality camera that won’t take so much space, then you can go for this Lumix FZ80 4K Digital Camera from Panasonic.
25. Underwater Camera
If you’re going for a dive in the sea, then you will need an underwater camera to capture marvels of the depths of the ocean.
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26. Camera Charger
Don’t forget to take your camera charger and a spare memory card along.
27. Swim Gear
Apart from partying and clubbing outfits, you will need swimming costumes. A vacation by the beach is not complete without a dive in the ocean so pack enough swim gear so that you wash and easily rewear.
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28. Shaver/Nail Clippers
For men, you will need beard trimmers and shavers for facial hair, armpit hair, and pubic hair. You could also opt for multipurpose shavers to help save space. Ladies can also do the same.
Rather than packing disposable shavers, you should go for reusable ones. Though they cost a little more, you’ll end up saving more money in the long run.
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29. Flashlight Torch
While your phone flashlight would do, having a hand torch could come in handy especially when moving at night.
When picking a torch, go for small, cheaper models as they take up less space, save money, and offer just about the same value as high-end models. If you’re looking for recommendations, then you should go for the GearLight LED 2-Pack Flashlight.
30. Sun Cream
Just like moisturizer, you would need an effective sun cream that can protect you from the rays of the sun. Whether or not you have the tendency to burn, you should put on a sun cream whenever you plan on stepping out for long.
A sun cream that protects your skin from any effects of the rays of the sun with no serious side effects is the Elta MD UV Sunscreen with SPF 46.
You can buy your snacks on the way, but what are the chances that you would find your favorite biscuits or chocolate bar in the new city. It is best to just take a few packets of your favorite snacks to soothe your cravings.
32. Water Bottle
Travel backpacks come with a water bottle compartment for a reason. Always go for reusable bottles to save the cost of buying more. If you’ve already used the water bottle compartment of your backpack for other things, you can opt for collapsible water bottles instead.
33. Sleeping Bag Liner
Probably you plan on staying in a three or five-star hotel or maybe you’re planning on settling for a more affordable, but still exquisite motel. If that’s the case, then a sleeping bag liner might just be too much and a waste of space.
But if you don’t feel too comfortable sleeping on the hostel sheets or you’re sleeping in a tent, then this light bed linings should make for a good buy. This pocket-sized sleeping bag liner from The Friendly Swede should offer you all the comfort you need.
If you’re staying at a hostel, there are chances you would get a pair of earplugs for free. Earplugs should help you sleep better especially if you’re in a noisy area or next to neigbours that like to have a bit of fun during nighttime or you’re sleeping with a partner/friend that snores heavily.
35. Glasses/ Contact Lenses/ Contact Lenses Cleaner
An extra pair of glasses won’t hurt especially if you need glasses to see clearly. Adding this to your packing list is more like preparing for the unexpected.
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36. Lip Balm
While sun cream should keep your body safe from the harsh effects of the rays of the sun, you’ll need something to protect your lips.
While you can apply moisturizer and sun cream on your lips, you can always go for a lip balm with sun protection. The Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Lip Balm is an all-natural solution to dry lips due to harsh climates.
Still talking about protecting yourself from the sun, you’ve got to get something for your head. A baseball cap should offer maximum protection for your face and head. Most caps don’t take up much space as you can easily attach them to the outside of your backpack or better still, put them on while walking.
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38. Flip flops or sandals
Along with your walking shoes and going out shoes, you’ll need a pair of quality flip flops that will last you your trip.
39. Magazines/Books/Reading Material/Travel Guide/Phrasebook
These days, you can get a good selection of movies that should keep your busy thorough the flight. Aside from that, you can get some of your favorite books to keep yourself busy.
To save space, it would be best to go for ebooks rather than hard copies. In addition, you should get a well-detailed city guide to learn more about your vacation city. Once again, going for ebook copies would save space allowing you to pack more stuff in your backpack.
If you’re visiting in the winter season, you will need the right clothes to keep warm. The winter season can get quite chilly so you should pack a pair of gloves, scarf, and hat.
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A goggle or a snorkel mask could save you from struggling with salty eyes which may ruin your holiday experience. To save space, you would choose to buy them in your vacation city but if you do have a little space in your backpack, then it is best to pack them from home.
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42. Backpack Rain Cover
You already have a rain coat to keep you dry, but you’ll also need something to protect your backpack from getting drenched. Get a backpack rain cover that is easy to carry and provides real protection from the rain.
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43. Reusable Coffee Cup
Packing a reusable coffee cup should come in handy. To save space, you can buy collapsable coffee cups at home or while travelling.
44. Eye Mask
If something as subtle as a pin falling on the floor disturbs your sleep, then you would need earplugs to have a good night rest. But what about protection from lights and other disturbances? If you’re a light sleeper, you would need to pack an eye mask even though you don’t need one while sleeping at home.
Eye masks do not really take up space and you would only need one for the entire trip though you can pack a spare for emergencies.
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While eye masks protect your eyes from light when you sleep, sunglasses allow you to get a good view of the area without having to frown due to the light from the scorching sun.
Depending on your vacation location, you may need to pack two pairs. One pair of high-quality sunglasses that you will wear while exploring or on occasions, and a cheaper pair if you’re going to be on the beach.
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The zip on your backpack should keep it shut but a padlock would ensure that your things are safe. If you’re not storing your bag in a locker or you’re walking through crowded areas, it is important that you keep your bag locked at all times.
47. Emergency Contact Info Card/Phone Book
Get a phone book or emergency contact info card and write all your emergency contact info. This book/card will come in handy if you can’t access your phone and you wish to contact someone.
Or in the event of an emergency and someone is trying to help you, they can easily access your details and get you the necessary help. Place the book/card in your wallet since that’s the place they’re most likely to look.
48. Clothing Accessories
Don’t forget to pack a good mix of jewelry – earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Though you won’t need a wristwatch to check the time, it still makes for a fashionable trend. A tie goes with a good suit so you should have one packed.
49. Sealable Bags
To prevent liquid containers from spilling, you should place them in a sealable bag. Pack different sizes since you never know the exact size of what you may put in them.
If you’re travelling on a budget, then you’ll need to bring your own toilet paper. Wipes and tissues should come in handy especially if you’re going to stay in a hostel.
If you’ve booked a nice hotel for your getaway, then packing toilet paper might just be a waste of space though you would still need to pack your own wipes.
51. Laundry Items
Laundry items like soap, detergent, clothesline, and stain remover are important especially when you want to wash your underwear or socks. These items shouldn’t take up much space, but you can always purchase them on the road or before you pack for the trip.
52. Noise-cancelling Headphones
While you think your music selection is awesome, not everyone really wants to listen to it and for some it would be disturbing.
Getting a good pair of headphones is a good way to enjoy music without disturbing others but not just any headphone would do. Noise-cancelling headphones make for the best buy in this case.
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Taking work to your vacation spot doesn’t make for the vacation experience but it would help during emergencies.
Packing your laptop in your bag will take up a lot of space and in some cases, you could end up with a cracked screen if you pack too tightly. If you don’t have enough space for a laptop, you can always opt for a tablet instead. Or better still, leave your laptop at home and make do of your phone.
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Depending on how you wish to record your activities while on vacation, you may need a journal or a camera. If you’ve enough space in your backpack then you can go with both – a camera to record videos and a journal to tell a story.
There are hundreds of thousands of journals on Amazon, but you’d be better off with journals made specifically for travelers. You can find a handful of impressive options by typing “Travel Journals” or “Vacation Journals” into the Amazon search bar.
You’ll need a pen to go along with the notebook. Not only that, but the pen could also come in handy when filling in forms or jotting down your experience (especially if you didn’t take your laptop with you).
56. Bug Spray/Insect Repellent
Regardless of how much you’ve budgeted for your trip, you might end up having a bug problem due to lodging location. A bottle of bug spray/insect repellent may take up space in your bag backpack, so it would be best to buy this item after you’ve arrived at your vacation spot.
57. Hand Sanitizer
Maintaining proper hygiene is important especially with so many diseases flying around. While exploring, you will come across areas and surfaces already touched and handled by lots of people.
To be on the safer side, you should always have a portable hand sanitizer that shouldn’t take up much space in your bag or in your pocket.
Talking about hand sanitizers to pack, the best ones are usually alcohol-based hand-sanitizers. A good example of a portable alcohol-based hand sanitizer that gives you extra protection and costs considerably less is the Artnaturals Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer.
58. Mosquito Net
While an insect repellent could get rid of most insects, it could also cause skin reactions (though only in rare cases). If you don’t fancy bathing yourself with chemicals, you could always go for a mosquito net.
Unlike insect repellents or bug spray, mosquito nets are far more economical as you won’t have to rebuy the repellent when it gets used up.
However, you should note that insect repellents aren’t just for warding off insects and mosquitoes in your room. You will need them when you go hiking.
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Take an extra of anything you would use frequently – body wash, soap, toiletries, etc
This packing list covers everything you would need for your travel. From medicines, toiletries, clothing, swim wear to cosmetics.
However, you can only truly decide what you need by doing research on where you’re going. There are several items that could be cheaper in your vacation spot and there are items, you may not find in your vacation spot.
You can join groups on Facebook or Forums and ask more questions about where you’re going. Also check out travel resources and try to get in touch with someone living in that area. This helps you to plan ahead and plan better.