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  • Writer's pictureLillie W. Faye

What To Pack : The Best Travel Packing Checklist

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

Step 1: Choose Your Main Luggage

Wherever you're planning to go, pick luggage that is versatile, lightweight and big enough to hold all your essentials. The most important decision you'll make is (as far as luggage is concerned) is buying a bag that has an awesome warranty. Traveling with a piece of luggage with broken wheel, handle or zipper is the absolute worst! Brands that back their gear with stand-up warranties build that promised durability into their gear. It’s also important to finding a travel bag that's as versatile as you need it to be, while also fitting all your stuff and being easy to carry.

Rolling Luggage – Let’s face it. Wheels are nice. There’s no need to carry all your gear on your back or via a duffle bag if you know you’re going to be traveling in a city where there are paved roads and sidewalks.

4-Wheels – As you fill up your wheeled luggage, weight can become a bit restrictive – especially if you have to walk long distances. Consider 4-wheels to keep the weight off your wrist and effortlessly roll your bag by your side.

Duffel Bag – These are simple, lightweight, and Eagle Creek’s duffel bags are crazy durable. Sling it over your shoulder, or put some wheels on it and get on your way.

Wheeled Backpack – If you’ll be going through different types of terrain, or switching from airports to cobblestones, having a bag with the option to roll it or carry it like a backpack or duffel is really handy.

Travel Backpack – If you know you don’t want the extra weight of wheels, traveling with a travel pack is going to mean hands-free mobility and ultimate versatility.

Carry-On – Whenever possible, travel with a carry on luggage. It’ll just mean you can save time at the airport, save on check-in fees, guarantee the airlines won’t lose your bag… the list goes on and on.

Step 2: Organize Your Stuff

If you have lots of different types of activities you plan to do, that means you have a fair amount of gear you need to pack into your suitcase. Keeping everything organized can be a challenge. One of the best things you can do when you're packing for any trip, especially one that requires you to pack lots of layers, is to make sure you use packing organizers.

Keeping your suitcase organized with packing organizers means not only will you know exactly where everything is, but your clothing can be arranged and compressed so you can fit more in your bag. Why spend your time packing and unpacking when you can quickly unpack by sliding your organizers directly into hotel drawers, and pack up quick, getting seamlessly from one place to the next without having to rearrange your entire bag every time?

Keep your clothing organized in compartments based on outfit type or activity type by using packing cubes. These zippered organizers make it easy to keep your bag neat and provide quick access to all the different things you'll need during your trip. You can use compression sacs or cubes to reduce the volume of your clothes by up to 80%. This is especially convenient for bulky items such as sweaters and jackets. And folders are great for keeping dress clothing nice, neat and folded.

Start with this clothing packing list:

The Basics

Lightweight clothing that can be layered

Long-sleeved shirts

Sweaters or fleece jacket

T-shirts and tank tops (be respectful of the culture you are visiting)

Pants and/or shorts


Socks – wool socks are best for hiking

Comfortable walking shoes

Rain jacket, windbreaker or umbrella



Sunglasses and glasses case

Dresses and/or skirts

Jewelry – organize in a mini cube or circlet

Hat or sun visor

Scarf or bandana

Swimsuit or swim trunks – consider a wet/dry organizer

Cell phone and charger

Travel speakers

Travel pillow, eye mask and ear plugs

Electric converters and adapters

Travel apps that will help with language, directions, and money conversion

You’ll want to pack smart (not lots of) clothing options if your trip will take you to a variety of places, or transversely if you will be navigating off the beaten path. Having options doesn’t mean you’ll need to over-pack. (And in fact, you shouldn’t.) Just pack smart. Include clothing that can be worn on your daily adventures and then dressed up slightly with a different pair of shoes and a scarf. Maybe a dress that becomes a skirt or comfortable travel pants that can be dressed up for a day at the market. Also consider clothing with SPF or mosquito repellent if you’ll be in environments where that would be beneficial.

Step 3: Pack Your Toiletry Bag

If you’re carrying on, keep your toiletry bag light and TSA-compliant. The TSA’s 3-1-1 rule makes it easy to remember: liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less per container and they must be in a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag. To make this as easy as possible for you, we have a set that includes four 3-ounce silicone bottles in a quart-sized clear pouch that’s wipeable and has a water resistant zipper. Click here for more info about TSA rules regarding what you can pack.

Don’t forget the following travel essentials for your toiletry case:

The Toiletry Bag Basics

Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash

Hair brush or comb, hair ties, barrettes/bobby pins


Shampoo and conditioner - Dr. Bronners is a good option all-in-one option for hair care, face wash, laundry and more

Sunscreen and face lotion with SPF

Make up packed in a wipeable wristlet

Face wash and/or makeup remover wipes and q-tips

Night time Moisturizer/Lotion

Lip balm with SPF and lipstick or lip gloss

Personal hygiene items

Feminine hygiene products

Extra contacts, solution, and contact case

Glasses and prescription sunglasses

Prescription medication with the label/script so that you can refill if needed and not be questioned by TSA.

Toiletry Bag Extras


Personal mini mirror

Hair products like hairspray, hair gel and beard oil

Clothesline and detergent

Shaving kit and extra razors

Sewing kit/clothing care kit, stain remover

Facial tissues and/or toilet paper

Travel Towel

Scissors, nail clippers, and tweezers (must be in checked luggage)

Travel Health

As soon as you decide to travel internationally, check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for comprehensive travel vaccines, medicines, and travel advice information. Whether you decide to get vaccinated or not is your decision, but many vaccinations require administration 2 months before travel begins. So get informed!

First aid kit (bandages, gauze, adhesives, etc.)

Personal prescriptions (copies of scripts)

Pain and fever relievers (also children’s strength if you are traveling with kids)


Cold medicines and throat lozenges

Diarrhea/laxative medicines

Allergy medicines

Hydrocortisone cream/antibacterial ointment


Sunburn relief

Insect repellent/mosquito net/sting reliever

Motion sickness pills or bands

Altitude sickness pills (if you are planning to hike in higher altitudes)

Eye drops


Medicines and vaccinations specific to the region/activity

Additional Health Items

Hand sanitizer or wet wipes

Prescriptions in original packaging (you’ll want to make sure you have these in your carry-on bag just in case something were to happen to your checked luggage)

Sleeping medicines

Glasses and glasses case

Step 4: Prepare Your Personal Item Carry-On Bag

The next thing you’ll want to do is prepare your personal item carry-on bag with anything you’ll want with you on the flight. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have an outfit (or two) and a few essential toiletries in your personal item just in case your luggage is lost. If you’ll be traveling around to multiple destinations, make sure this bag has items to keep you cozy on any train, boat or bus rides. It's always nice to have a bag that's easy to access so you don't have to get into your luggage each time you need your eye mask. But remember, you’ll be carrying all of this, so keep it light.

We recommend you consider using a small daypack or backpack as your personal carry-on item. Here are some good things to include in your carry-on bag packing list:


Mobile device and charger

Laptop, iPad, or E-reader and charger(s)

Headphones (consider noise-reducing headphones if you're sensitive to sound)

Camera and Go Pro/video camera, memory card, and chargers

Electrical converters and adapters

Travel Comfort, Entertainment, and Information

Travel pillow, blanket, eye mask, and ear plugs

Travel journal and pen (it’s awful when you forget your pen!)

Books and magazines

Deck of cards and travel games

Chapstick and lotion – it could be dry there

Water bottle – you’ll need to fill it up once you get through TSA

Guide books, travel guides, maps, language guides, etc. (if you will need any of these upon arrival at your destination, put it in your carry-on)

Step 5: Collect Important Travel Documents, Cash, and Credit Cards

Start by collecting all of your important documents in a travel document organizer. (This travel organizer holds a passport, ID, credit cards, coins, documents, a boarding pass, and a pen!) By bringing all your important information together, this will help ensure you have everything you need to get from one place to the next. Not sure what you need? Here’s your international travel checklist, document-wise:

Passport/visa(s) – Not sure if you need a travel visa? Check here.

Personal ID/Student ID card – If you’re a student, some companies, like Sta Travel, offer discount cards to ensure you get good deals while on the road

Frequent flyer card(s) and other loyalty program card numbers (ex: hotel chains and AAA)

Cash and credit card(s) – Call your credit card companies before you travel to inform them of your travel (otherwise they might turn them off to prevent perceived fraud)

Health insurance cards/document(s)

Travel insurance information

Reservations and itineraries – print them and save them electronically for easy access

Hotel and/or tour contact information

Transportation tickets (plane, train, bus, car, etc.)

Emergency contacts and important addresses

Copies of all these things in case you lose your wallet

Guide books and maps

As soon as you book a trip, it’s a good idea to double-check that your passports and IDs aren’t expired, and that they will not expire while you are traveling internationally. If you need to get a Passport for your kids, learn more here. You’ll also want to inform your bank if you’re traveling abroad so they don’t assume fraudulent activity and freeze your credit card. Also consider emailing yourself a copy of your passport, driver’s license, medical cards and itinerary, so if anything happens to them you’ll be able to access them online.

Step 6: Consider Travel Security

In most large cities, travelers should always be on the lookout for pickpockets. The easiest way to keep your belongings safe is to keep them hidden and close to you. One way to do this is to stash your valuables underneath your clothing. Another way is by locking your bags closed and using reflective accents to help folks see you at nighttime.

Consider these safety travel essentials:

Money belt or hidden pocket

Undercover Bra Stash for credit cards and cash only

Leg wallet

Incognito All Terrain Money Belt which looks like a real belt!

Luggage Travel Lock

Reflective clothing and luggage accessories

Bring a headlamp or mini flashlight, better to be safe than unprepared

Step 7: Prepare Your Home

If you’re going an extended trip, it’s essential to get your home in order before you go. Here are some simply tasks to think through before you head to the airport. (And yes, this travel checklist also includes thinking through home care.)

Have the post office hold your mail

Stop newspaper delivery

Set up an email autoresponder (unless you plan to be connected)

Arrange for care of pets, lawn, and plants

Pre-pay your bills

Prearrange school absences for children and get any home study assignments required

Empty refrigerator of this that will expire

Unplug appliances

Turn off heater/air conditioner

Turn down water heater

Turn off washing machine taps

Lock all doors and windows

Set up timed light system

Store valuables in a safe place

Leave house key and trip itinerary with a trusted friend

Leave flight and hotel itineraries with a relative

Reconfirm/check-in online with airline before you Uber, train, or shuttle to the airport

Whether this is your first trip or you’re a seasoned globetrotter, it’s always helpful to have a rundown of what items you may want to pack – you know, a comprehensive international travel checklist.

by Le Petit Karoo

Le Petit Karoo is an invitation to discover the wonders of humanity and our planet. From city life to authentic South African destinations, let Eagle Creek equip you with the durable and versatile gear to take you beyond your fears and outside your comfort zone. We believe the experience of the unknown inspires a deeper understanding of each other, a curiosity for the unfamiliar, and fresh perspectives on life. We know the further we travel, the closer we become to each other and to the planet we share.

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