The Essential Travel Packing Checklist You Need Before any Trip

Table of Contents

Check out this ultimate travelling checklist - plus tips and tricks on how to pack light and stay organised for your next trip. Planning and packing for a trip might turn out to be a pain if you don’t know where to start, but we’ve got you covered!

Whether you are a professional traveller or just go on vacations occasionally, there are certainly times when you find yourself constantly wondering “Am I leaving anything behind?” as you’re hitting the road. Things can go from bad (arrive at the airport just to find out you leave your passport at home) to worst (leaving your entire wallet behind after you leave the country). We’ve got you covered with this ultimate travelling checklist, plus the tips and tricks on how to pack light and stay organised during your trip.

Before you read further on this travelling checklist or jump right into the packing session, here are some important things to note:

  • Check the weather forecast of the destination during the time you are there. This will help you choose the right items of clothing and any medicine that you might need accordingly. 
  • Note down any event that you might join in the trip: whether it’s business, wedding, expedition or temple visit. It is totally fine if you are a spontaneous traveller and not used to planning ahead, but having some ideas about these events will help you avoid situations where you are not dressed properly.
  • Download a printable travelling checklist on your phone or print it out. There are hundreds of this packing checklist on the internet, feel free to get one in your preference as it will be very helpful, particularly for long holidays. After you have the travelling checklist ready, check off the items that you think will be available at the place where you travel to, so there will be more space for other essentials or maybe some souvenirs on the way back. 
  • Stay organised. This can’t be stressed enough, as you definitely don’t want to face the “Oh crap where did I put my undies” situation, especially when you go on a long vacation and carry loads of stuff in your luggage. If you are naturally not used to organising and categorising your items, then try these packing cubes and you will see the wonders yourself! 

The Ultimate Travel Packing List for Your Next Trip

Clothes - Vacation Packing List

How you pack your clothing items should depend on various factors of the trip - the duration, weather, destination and location, etc. However, as a general rule of thumb, you should bring light, comfortable and loose clothing on your trip. If you travel with checked luggage, it is advisable to pack some of your clothes in the carry-on baggage in case your checked suitcase gets lost or delayed.

To make sure you’ve got all the essentials for different types of travel, let’s take a look at the sub-checklist below:

  • For the beach: bathing suit, hat, sunglasses. Check out full beach checklist here.
  • Strolling around town: walking shoes, socks, activewear
  • Cool-weather: sweater, shawl, sweatshirt, long-sleeved shirt, jumper
  • Excursions: closed-toe shoes, water shoes, clothes to get dirty
  • Miscellaneous: underwear, sleepwear, raincoat/poncho, non-valuable jewellery

Another thing to note: bring appropriate clothing items that are suitable for the activities that you will partake in. Let’s say you’re planning to visit a temple or a sacred site, it is sensible to prepare some pieces of clothing that cover your legs and shoulders. Some destinations like Bali will require a sarong to enter their temples. Or if you are going on a trekking trip, carefully check the type of shoes and required equipment. Don’t forget to do some research and be mindful of these activities before you pack.

Clothes - Vacation Packing List

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Tip: Pack clothing items that are easy to mix and match as it will prevent you from over-packing (though this can mean extra laundry work), and save you a bit of time when you try to make up your mind on matching outfits during the trip.

Toiletries - Things to Pack for a Trip

If you are only travelling with carry-on baggage, there are several rules when bringing your liquids through security checkpoints. The best way to stay safe is to follow the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule to not get into any trouble. Liquid toiletries include liquids, aerosol, pastes, creams, and gels. Nail polish, perfumes, moisturiser, foundation, mascara and eyeliner are considered liquid cosmetics as well. For carry-on bags, this rule says:

3 – Travelers may carry liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in containers of 3.4oz (100ml) or smaller.

1 – These items must fit into 1 clear plastic quart-sized, resealable bag.

1 – Only 1 bag per passenger is allowed

Containers that are larger than 3.4oz (100ml) must be in checked baggage regardless of the amount inside. So it is best to keep all of your liquid toiletries in the checked luggage if you travel for a long holiday. 

This rule is applied to U.S. airlines, however, all airlines over the world tend to follow them too. If you’re not sure about specific items, contact your airline and ask them directly or check on their website.

Toiletries - Things to Pack for a Trip

Photo by Daria Liudnaya from Pexels

Here’s a travelling checklist of the general essential toiletries for your trip, feel free to cross out the ones that are not necessary for you: 

  • Bathroom: toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, feminine-hygiene products
  • Skincare: facial cleanser, facial tissues, compact mirror, makeup, makeup remover, lotion/skin moisturiser
  • Others: shaving cream, razor, aftershave, perfume/cologne, deodorant, menstruation products
  • Hair: hairbrush/comb, hair spray/gel/mousse, hair ties/scrunchies
  • Eyes: Contact Lenses/related products
  • Kit: sewing repair kit, eyeglass repair kit, safety pins, shower cap

Some skincare/cosmetic brands have their travel kit version of the products, which comes in handy when you pack as it saves you time from transferring the products into travel-sized containers, so make sure to check it before packing. 

If you are going to embark on long term travelling, consider getting multi-functional products like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps as shampoo and body wash, or BB cream, which contains features of foundation, moisturiser and SPF. People are very creative when it comes to these products. Try conditioner for shaving cream, or coconut oils as a moisturiser, shaving cream and skin treatment, you’ll be surprised how effective these hacks are! 

Tip: If you’re staying at a fancy hotel or a resort, leave your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste at home to save some extra space in your luggage, as they will be all available at the accommodation. But if you can’t replace your regular shampoo with the one from the hotel, use a travel-sized container. 

Travel Documents, Cash, and Credit Cards - Things to Note When You Travel

Whether you are travelling domestically or internationally, you will want to bring your important travel documents with you to avoid getting stuck in situations where these are required. Some must-have documents on your travelling checklist include:

  • ID card, passport, driving license, travel visa - Bring the original version with you on the carry-ons as well as some hard copies to put in your checked luggage just in case.
  • Travel insurance - Some destinations require a certain type of travel insurance so make sure you check it before deciding on a policy with your insurance agency. 
  • Travel itinerary - Your boarding passes, plans, other tickets should be in a hard copy and digital copy on your phone, iCloud or Gmail (either scanned or photographed) for extra back-ups. 

  • Travel Documents

    Photo by Torsten Dettlaff from Pexels

    When it comes to payments on travelling, which one is better: cash or credit cards? Well, this might also have to depend on the countries and regions you are travelling to. In some areas like Europe, North America and Northeast Asia, it is widely accepted to pay with your credit cards. However, in regions like Southeast Asia, South America and Africa, local people and market prefer the traditional payment method. 

    Both methods have their pros and cons, the best way is to research everything before you go - about the exchange rates, the best place to exchange currency (banks or local shops), transaction fees, whether your card is accepted there, and whether you get any cashback or not. 

    Tip: Download apps that are useful for itineraries on your phone, such as Google Trips, Kayak Trip, Tript, Money Budgeting for better management. 

    Electronic Items - Travel Essentials

    Your electronics need to be sorted out too. Check out the travelling checklist below for necessary electronic items that you will need for your trip:

    • A Universal Travel Adapter - There are many types of adapters, but get the travel ones as they will have various plugs for different countries, even labels of the plug types on them.
    • Camera - If you travel with a professional camera and gear, be extra careful in the packing so they get enough protection. However, if a compact camera/GoPro is all you need, then remember to prepare the batteries, charger and memory cards.
    • Phone - Bring along your phone charger and international sim card if necessary. Although it’s not for every country, you can buy the sim card at a local phone store.
    • Laptop or tablet - If you’re bringing a laptop along with you, put it in a carry-on backpack with a padded laptop compartment to protect it.
    • E-reader - Compact and handy when you’re on a long flight. Make sure you have it charged and have your favourite books downloaded before the trip.
    • Portable Charger/Power Bank - This should be small and compact enough for your everyday bag when you travel. 
    Electronic Items - Travel Essentials

    Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

    Tip: If you are going to take all the travel photos and videos with your phone, make sure you have some extra space for them. Consider deleting unused apps and clean up your gallery before the trip - you don’t want that annoying “Not enough storage” alert popping up while you’re trying to catch that stunning sunset photo!

    Medicine - Necessary Items for Your Travel Packing List

    Unless there is some sort of medicine you need to take on the plane, you should pack all of your medication in your checked luggage. If you are travelling with a carry-on only, also refer to the TSA 3-1-1 rule for liquids if your medicine is in liquid form. 

    Here are some suggestions for first aid and essential medication that you might need to consider for the travelling checklist, feel free to adjust it in your preference: 

    • First aid: hand sanitiser, tweezers, nail clippers, small scissors (put in checked luggage), eye drops, cotton balls, cotton swaps, moleskin/blister Pads, sunburn gel/aloe, itch reliever, adhesive bandages, gauze, waterproof bandage tape, Polysporin, Antibiotic cream, thermometer, cough drops/lozenges, rubber band. There are some first aid kits available out there, you can consider among the options and find out which one works best for you. 
    • Medicine: prescription bug repellents/sting reliever, vitamins, headache/migraine, muscle pain, stomachache, heartburn, cold/flu, fever, motion sickness, allergy, birth control pills/contraception
    Medicine - Necessary Items for Your Travel Packing List

    Photo by Dids from Pexels

    Tip: Bring your doctor prescription with you to avoid unnecessary incidents at the Customs and Immigration checkpoints. 

    A Packing Step-by-step Guide - Pro Tip on How to Pack for Travelling

    Step 1: Choosing a Right Travel Bag for the Trip

    When it comes to deciding on the type of travel backpack/bag/suitcase, a great number of factors should be taken into account, such as the amount of stuff you need to pack, or the type of travel. But keep in mind that less hassle means more fun, which is why a lot of people are fond of the idea of having a travel bag that is lightweight, spacious, multifunctional, comfortable and durable. An ideal backpack should be well-made with quality material, a soft-sided case and equipped with handy compartments. 

    At CabinZero, we understand the need for light luggage among travellers, and our products revolve around the concept of cutting down the inconvenience you might have on the journey. Our backpacks and accessories are made for zero-hassle travel, from the minimalist design to the versatile features. For instance, the Classic Backpack line comes as lightweight and handy to fit well with any type of travel, while the Military Backpack collection is specifically for tougher adventures with its resilient features. Our travel accessories are also designed to perform well as a second carry-on, or as a companion that keeps your belongings safe for a day out exploring. 

    How to Pack for Travelling

    CabinZero ADV Pro 42L

    Tip: Travelling with only carry-on luggage is recommended, as it is safer, faster, cheaper and lighter. You don’t have to worry about the hassles of waiting for your checked luggage at the airport, or even worse if your luggage gets lost or delayed.  

    Step 2: Listing Items for Your Travel Essentials

    As said above, you can either write down a customised travelling checklist for yourself or download a printable version of it on the internet. There are even more detailed travelling checklist versions made for various destinations or types of travel that are all available online, and those packing checklists would include the tip and destination insights as well. 

    Tip: Don’t forget to do some research on what you can’t bring or use at the specific destination. For example, Hawaii has banned sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are very common in sunscreen products. If this is the case, it is best to just purchase the product at the destination. 

    Step 3: Lay Your Items Out

    Now you have all your stuff ready according to the travelling checklist, it is time to lay them all out and go through them over again. Laying things out and categorising them will give you a better look at what is missing and what might be redundant. Also, don’t forget to prepare a set of clothing for the airport in advance. At this point, you can refer to the travelling checklist one more time to make sure you’ve got everything. 

    An important thing to note is to consider how many days and nights you will be staying, and think if you need to put any items back. Forget about the dilemma “Hmm should I bring this just in case I need it?” - Well, then it’s probably not worth bringing. If this item is undoubtedly important, it will surely deserve a spot, not a “just in case”. In the worst-case scenario when you actually need the item, you can always buy it later at the destination. 

    Tip: Fill every inch of your bag/suitcase, literally every-inch. Roll those socks, belts, gloves, scarfs, anything small and rollable, and put them in your shoes to free up some space.

    Step 4: Get Your Toiletry Bag Ready

    Your travel toiletries should be packed in a separate bag and stay on their own to avoid getting mixed with other items and for an easy reach in case you need them.

    Replace the liquid toiletries with solid ones to reduce the weight and avoid leakage as much as you can. Body wash can be replaced with a soap, makeup remover can be replaced with wipes, and so on.

    When you have everything you need for your toiletry bags ready, it’s time to consider if anything is redundant to save up some space. Note down what you need to buy when you’re at the destination so you won’t miss out on anything. 

    Tip: To prevent leakage, put the bottles inside a zipper bag or use a plastic wrap between the lids and the opening of the bottles. 

    Step 5: Pack Them All Up!

    For clothing items, there are several ways you can do: interfolding, bundle packing, or rolling. Some people say they prefer the rolling method to maximise the space, while others think interfolding is the key. This is really up to your preference, so stick to the one that works best for you - as long as it is nice and neat.

    Another tip to stay extra organised at this stage is to use packing cubes to categorise your items. Regular clothing items in one cube, beach stuff in another, and so on. You can even put a label on them, and thank yourself later! 

    Tip: Check, double-check, triple-check your items! Always be extra careful to avoid leaving any important stuff behind. Some useful apps that can help you with the travelling checklist are Packing Pro, PackPoint and Travel List. 

    Step 6: Collect Important Travel Documents

    Refer back to the travelling checklist above and prepare the missing documents ahead of time, as some documents will take extra time to be ready for you. This will prevent you from any rush that may occur close to the taking off day. 

    Step 7: Prepare Your Personal Items in the Carry-on Bag

    Keep all your essentials close at hand when you’re on a flight in a bum bag or a crossbody. You can make a sub travelling checklist for these personal items as well, little things are easy to forget. This carry-on bag should be on your body during the flight in case you need to reach for your phone or books. See how much you can fit in the CabinZero classic bum bag in the video below: 

    Step 8: Travel Safety Essentials Packing List

    Whatever it takes, put your safety above everything else. Travelling is not always rainbows and butterflies, risks are everywhere and we need to be aware of that. There are some basic essential items to make your life safer when you are out of your comfort zone and face uncertainties. Here are our suggestions, you can add them to the travelling checklist if they are missing.

    • An anti-theft backpack - All CabinZero travel backpacks are equipped with the Okoban feature - allow your backpack to trace back to you in case of loss of thief. Our travel accessories like hip packs or cross-body bag also include the RFID blocking system - protect and secure ID cards and payment cards from being hacked, skimmed, and cloned from the most powerful RFID readers.
    • Personal protection alarm - This item is helpful not only in protecting you from attackers but also from wild animals - it functions as a personal safety system for your body and works effectively when you travel alone.
    • A safety whistle - Similar to the alarm, the safety whistle is an item you can use calling for help when you find yourself in an unsafe situation.
    • A doorstop - Things can happen even at your accommodation when you travel. A doorstop is an item to add an extra layer of protection to your guestroom, simply just put it under the door.
    • A retractable cable lock - Of course, to secure your luggage. 
    • Travel insurance - At least for any emergency medical policy, you should get travel insurance when travelling abroad. Remember, always prepare for the worst!
    • A flashlight/torch - this can work as a lighting device or possibly as a weapon to protect yourself in danger.  

    Step 9: Before You Leave 

    At this stage, you’re probably both excited about the trip and nervous if you’re missing out on anything. Just go through the travelling checklist once again, and charge all your electronics devices that you’re bringing on the trip and download useful apps like Google Offline, the specific Transport apps for each country, and Money Budgeting. It’s important that you take some time to relax and not rush yourself out before the trip.  

    Don’t forget to have a look through everything at home carefully before you leave for the trip to make sure you’re not coming home to a mess later on. This step includes watering the plants, inspecting your yard, unplugging electronic appliances like coffee machines, taking care of your pets, and so on. 

    What to Pack for COVID-19 Safety?

    As the global pandemic is still affecting most regions of the world, we should always be mindful when packing and cautious when travelling, even when we’re vaccinated. You can refer to the essential items below, add them to your travelling checklist and prepare yourself or your family to travel safely during this time:

    What to Pack for COVID-19 Safety

    Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

  • Standard adult face mask - There are different types of face masks: cloth masks, surgical masks, N95 and other respiratory masks, etc. However, the important thing is to wear it the right way - which covers up your nose and mouth entirely. 
  • Face shield - An extra layer of protection to prevent yourself from touching your nose and mask. 
  • Portable hand sanitiser - Always wash-your-hand. This sanitiser should be with you at all times, so put it in your carry-on bag and follow the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule.
  • Antibacterial wipe & travel-sized disinfectant wipes - Use this on surfaces like table, door handles, smartphones, etc. to protect your hands at all times.
  • A thermometer to keep track of your temperature - If you’re feeling sick and experiencing some symptoms of COVID-19, seek medical support and stay in the guestroom to self-quarantine. In case of the unfortunate event where you catch the virus, it will prevent you from spreading it to other people. 
  • COVID-19 related documents - A negative COVID-19 test is necessary and will be asked when you travel during this pandemic time. Also, as the number of vaccinations has increased worldwide, you are required to present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate at some destinations or by some airlines.  

  • We hope you find this all-inclusive travelling checklist and tips helpful for your next vacation. Happy safe travelling! 


    • Mithali

      I checked this Blog … your topic is very interesting

    • Rakesh Sawant

      Nice Blog…. This is really amazing. Great information.

    • Rakesh Sawant

      Inspiring tips, enhanced my travel savvy. Ready for new adventures! Thanks!

    • Shammy Peterson

      I found it helpful when you said that you must pack a camera carefully in order to get enough protection. This is a good tip for me and my sister because we are thinking of going on a tour in Decatur three weeks from now. We want to have our tour documented well, so we’ll keep your tips in mind.

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.