What Should I pack?!
If you’ve never traveled internationally, or even if you have, the packing process can be overwhelming. What if you forget something and the product isn’t sold where you’re going? Will there be a Walgreen’s or CVS or pharmacy? And the clothing; how can you possibly plan for 10 days in advance in an unfamiliar climate?!
Breathe. Relax. We have you covered.
Follow our guide to help make the most of your luggage space, ensure you don’t miss any essentials, and remove the stress of over or under packing.
- Passport. Pull it out right away and make it the first thing in your pile to ensure it’s not forgotten. Check the expiration date, and mark your calendar about 6 months prior to it’s expiration to ensure you’re covered. If you need a passport, start the process as soon as you can. It typically doesn’t take as long as they estimate, but it’s not a thing to gamble with. If you’re within 1-2 months of travel, we recommend paying to expedite. The few dollars to guarantee on time delivery is well worth the stress relief, not to mention the cost of a lost trip if it doesn’t arrive in time.
- Cash. This is a huge one. Majority of places don’t accept credit cards, and ATMs aren’t readily available. One recent trip, I did a fairly good job of budgeting, yet ran out of cash on my last day. This also happened to be the only day it rained, and the closest ATM was about a 2 mile walk, one way. To save yourself from this, be mindful of any additional expenses, food budget, shopping, etc. along with the exchange rate. Personally, I feel it’s better to have a little extra than come up short. A few dollars or coins in a different currency is a fun souvenir.
- Debit Card. Given the story shared above, this bullet point should be a no brainer.
- “Hidden” Wallet. Where you keep your cash, cards, passport, and anything else along those lines. Lots of great options to keep this under clothing layers. Or, if that doesn’t suit your style, be sure to pick something that can’t easily be grabbed or dug into like a fanny pack worn in front or a crossbody bag with a zipper closure. Backpacks are not recommended for daily use, and when you do use them, try to not use outside pockets for storage. It’s easy to get comfortable and trusting, only to find your phone missing after a short train ride.
- Reusable Water Bottle. One like LifeStraw that filters the water is even better.
- Toiletries. Sunscreen, shower essentials (lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, sanitizer, etc). Tweezer, nail clippers come in handy if small, but not necessary. Travel tissues/wipes are also a must.
- Camera. GoPro. Camera on your phone. Any or all will do the trick. We recommend backing up to a cloud every night…just in case.
- Journal. During the trip, you’ll find yourself thinking “I’ll never forget this!” Truth moment – you will. Try your very best to journal every evening or while enjoying morning coffee. This is also a great way to pass time while traveling between destinations. No matter when you do it, we promise this is time well spent. After the journey is over, combine the photos and journal in a photo book. As the years and travels pass, you’ll find yourself with a wonderful collection of memories. We can’t imagine a better coffee table book!
- Sunglasses, kept safe in a hard case.
- Comfy walking shoes. Regardless of warm or cold climate, this is a must. We usually take an old pair of tennis shoes because they often get so dusty and gross by the end of the trip that we don’t want to stick them back in our luggage. I’ve left tennis shoes everywhere from Japan to Zanzibar…
- Versatile sandals. Unless traveling somewhere cold, sandals that are nice enough to be worn to dinner or nicer occasions, and also comfortable enough to walk in are a must. You’ll likely find yourself walking more than you would at home, and for many days in a row, so comfy shoes and sandals keep this an enjoyable experience instead of a painful one. If headed to a cold climate, consider packing fluffy slippers instead.
- Layers. Whether it be a swimsuit and jacket, jeans or sweatshirts, fleece, down, and waterproof shell, be sure to pack plenty of layers to accommodate the variety of weather you may experience.
- Clothing to match culture. Again, we’ll send you a more specific list after you book your trip, but it’s important to keep in mind cultural differences and norms, especially for females. As global travel becomes more frequent, not to mention access to social media, cultural differences in dress attire have become more accepted. However, we still recommend being aware and respectful of the differences. Not only does this remove uninvited attention and stares, but it shows respect for the culture you are visiting.
- Reading material. Digital is best, downloaded for when there’s no wifi. This goes for music as well.
- Sleeping mask. Great for plane rides, train rides, and a room brighter than desired.
- “Fake” Wallet. When traveling to areas of high theft, this is a genius idea. Keep your real stash somewhere safe on you, and keep a fake wallet where it makes sense (in your fanny pack, pants pocket, etc.). On the extremely unfortunate chance someone asks for your wallet, you give them this one, which has maybe a few dollars and old ID card, enough to make them believe it’s real and you’re safe to walk away with the important stuff still intact.
Naturally, these are only our recommendations and is not an exhaustive or definitive list. What you want to pack will vary with each person, destination, climate, and trip type. This is merely our guide based off experience, in hopes to save you some headache and stress in your travels. Be safe, be outgoing, live!