The Ultimate Guide: A Trip Packing List for Any Occassion

Every trip I am so excited to get going.  I have spent months researching our trip, planned our holiday meticulously,  and yet to this day I still forget to pack something in my travel bag if I haven’t used a trip packing list.

My method for packing for a trip is simple.  I lay everything out across my bed.  Then I leave it all there for a couple of hours to mull over any packing essentials I may have forgotten.  From there the next step should be to tick of my trip packing list checklist.  But the number of times, I get cocky and think I don’t need that anymore.  Hmm, then the next thing I know I’m in a foreign country with no belt and my pants are falling down.

The moral of the story – you always need to check off your travel packing with a trip packing list.  And a comprehensive travel packing checklist at that.  So let’s get you packing and have a successful trip.

In this Article on What to Pack for a Trip You Will Learn:

* How much clothing to pack for travel and the type of clothes
* What accessories to include in your travel packing
* When to add speciality travel gear
* Which toiletries and medical items to add to your trip packing list
* What handy extras to take on any trip
* Plus get a free PDF travel packing checklist
The ultimate travel packing checklist for you next holiday vacation plus free travel packing list PDF to download

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My Trip Packing Lists

No matter where or when you are going.  Or even the type of trip you are about to embark upon.  The basic principles of what to pack for travel are the same.

I like to divide my travel packing lists into sections.

Hopefully, this will help speed up your travel packing process by concentrating on one section at a time.  For example, if you are packing clothes you are at the wardrobe, packing toiletries you are collecting everything from the bathroom.

Clothing Packing List for Trips:

When deciding how much clothing and what items to pack for your trip, consider how long you are travelling and what activities you will be doing.

  • The Travel Outfit.
    • Make sure it’s loose-fitting and comfortable.
    • Take a light jumper as aeroplanes, buses and trains can get chilly – don’t expect that there will be enough blankets to go around.
  • Underwear and Socks.
    • Enough to rotate through the wash.
  • Footwear –
    • Walking shoes/sports shoes
    • Dress shoes
    • Thongs/flip-flops
    • Sandals/all-terrain shoe that is suitable for the water
      • You may be able to use these instead of the walking shoes and thongs
      • I bought a nice looking pair of all-terrain sandals recently that even look OK with my evening skirt.
      • Consider the topography of the destination eg. cobbled streets or 3rd world pot holed streets
  • Day Wear
    • T-shirts or top
    • Shorts or 3/4 Pants
    • Long pants/jeans
    • Skirt/dress or trousers (to dress up for dinner)
      • I take a skirt (even when I’m backpacking) that goes with my T-shirts and then I feel a bit smarter when I go out for dinner
    • Jacket, Jumper, Pashmina (even if you are travelling to a warm climate take one just in case)
      • Consider the weather
      • Consider what you will be doing.
        • Sightseeing or visiting friends.
        • Hiking, walking or sitting in a car.
      • Consider how easy these items are to launder.
      • Coordinate – mix and match clothing.
  • Dress Outfit.
    • Have at least one nice skirt/dress or a pair of trousers with top/shirt to wear to dinner with the appropriate shoes.

Special Activity Gear Travel Packing Checklist

  • Water/Swimming gear
    • Swimming costume
    • Thongs/Flip Flops
    • Hat
    • Sunscreen
    • Wetsuit
  • Ski Clothes
    • Thermals
    • Gloves
    • Jacket
    • Ski-Equipment
  • Hiking
    • Boots
    • Equipment

You may like to separate these into travel packing cells*.

Accessories Packing List for Vacations

  • Jewellery
  • Watch
  • Belts
  • Scarfs
  • Gloves
  • Hat

Toiletries Travel Packing List

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Shower Gel
  • Hairbrush/Comb
  • Hair Ties
  • Shaver & Shaving Lotion
  • Facial Cleanser, Toner & Moisturiser
  • Body Lotion
  • Make-up
  • Perfume or Aftershave

Top Trip Tip: Pop these into a toiletry bag*.  I also have a more detailed toiletries list HERE.

Medical Travel Packing List

  • Paracetamol
  • Antiseptic Cream
  • Band-aids
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Immodium (for upset stomachs)
  • Non-refrigerated Pro-biotic (to prevent the upset stomach)
  • Additional Medications (don’t forget the copy of the script)

Top Trip Tip: In this post, I show you how to create your own small DIY first aid travel kit

Essential Extras to Pack for Trips

  • Travel Documents
  • Passports and Copies
  • Electronic Gadgets:
    • Smartphone
    • E-Tablet and/or Laptop
    • E-books (can save space and weight)
    • Camera and Memory Cards
      • Don’t forget the chargers and
      • Power board now that we take so many items that require charging.
  • Reading Material and Games
    • Kindle (or similar)
    • Novels
    • Magazine
    • Playing Cards.
  • Glasses:
    • Reading
    • Sunglasses

Handy Extras to Pack for Any Trip

  • Small plastic bottles* of shampoo, dish-washing liquid and laundry liquid/soap.
  • Zip Lock Bags.
    • For wet items
    • Sick children
    • Preventing liquids leaking into your luggage
  • Adapter Plugs.
    • Check which one applies to the country you are visiting
  • Powerboard
    • We now have so many electronic gadgets that need to be charged.
  • Sewing kit
    • Pack into checked luggage as it will contain scissors
  • Flashlight.
  • Foldaway Tool or Pocket Knife
    • Packed into checked luggage
  • Luggage Locks
    • TSA approved
  • Laundry Bags.
  • Scrubba Wash Bag (it’s like a portable washing machine).
  • Pegless clothesline*
    • Not only for hand washing but also hanging out bathing costumes
  • Portable Duffel Bag
    • If you like to shop and will need more luggage space on the way home
  • Sarongs
    • These are handy for many uses: a skirt when visiting a church, tablecloth at a picnic, towel at the beach.

Once everything is laid out, leave it all there for a few hours before packing it into your luggage.  This will give you time to tick off the travel packing checklist, think a little longer about anything else that may be needed.  Cull if required.  If you need help on this, check out: how to pack lighter.

Then and only then load it into your luggage.

Get ALL the Packing Lists Welcome Gift

Top Trips Tips: Ultimate Travel Packing List

  • Start by laying everything out before placing it in your suitcase
  • Pack according to the number of days you are travelling
    • If travelling for a small number of days (less than a week) pack enough clothes for each day
    • If travelling long-term pack for a few days only and learn to hand wash
  • Pack according to the size of your luggage
    • Do not overfill as your case may burst; nothing worse than having your unmentionables sprawled across the airport conveyor belt
  • Always check luggage allowances for your airline, cruise, ferry or train trip.  Every company has different allowances
  • If you’ve got kids don’t forget to pack these handy kid essentials and use the Baby/Toddler Packing List or the Tweens Packing List
  • Always use a packing list to check off all the items – you don’t want to be caught with your pants falling down 🙂
The ultimate travel packing list for your next holiday

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Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for your travel dream with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips, packing lists and destination inspirations.

19 Responses to “The Ultimate Guide: A Trip Packing List for Any Occassion

  • Excellent list, Sally-Ann! I am saving your post for my next travels!

    • Thanks Agness, I’m glad you found it useful. I have more detailed packing lists coming soon.

  • I love lists, especially checking things off of them! It’s always fun to see what others pack when traveling. #theweeklypostcard

    • What’s on your must-have packing list Hilary that I didn’t include? I’m intrigued 🙂

      • Hmmm, your list is pretty comprehensive! Mine, is much more minimal as I only ever travel with a small euro sized carryon, and we wash every 7 to 10 days. That’s said, one thing on my list that might not be listed on yours, is a shower cap. Actually, I bring two… for use when my shoes get wet and I need to pack them into my suitcase. They work perfectly to protect my clothing from the dirty soles. When they get worn out I just pick up a few more from whatever hotel I’m staying in! 🙂

        • What a cool use for the shower cap Hilary. I tend to use plastic shopping bags for this, but they aren’t 100% water proof whereas your shower cap is. Great travel tip thank you.

  • When I was a kid and starting to go on sleepovers, I made myself a packing list. The one that I use now has evolved from that first one. (Money is no longer in the optional category, sadly, as no one pays for me anymore.) I remember when I had to add on diapers and all those baby items. And I really remember how happy I was when I deleted my last “baby” item — I think it was the car seat. Now, I have to worry about reminding the kids to bring their orthodontic retainers — and not leave them behind at a hotel.

    • Packing lists are ever evolving Michele. As you point out life changes and also the type of travel you embark upon changes so everytime you travel you will be forever tweaking your own list.

  • I think I should keep your list handy because whenever I pack I always end up with too much luggage. Truth is that I like to dress up and it’s hard to make up my mind about the outfits.

    • Ah the dressy dresses, not to mention the matching shoes and handbags. But the truth is Anda do you need ALL of them? Unless you are on a cruise how many people are going to notice you are rotating between 1 or 2 outfits.

  • This is a good list. I admit that unless i am traveling for more than 10 days i will bring enough underwear and socks for the duration. i hate doing laundry on vacation and they don’t take up very much room. But i understand people who would rather do laundry and carry less.

    • Me too Eileen, I don’t want to wash on holiday. I tend to take enough for a week, unless it is an extended travel time and then I only take enough for 3-4 days.

  • Wow! This is a comprehensive list! Great ideas.

    Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration! See you again next week!

  • A complete packing list is essential. Whenever I don’t use a packing list, I usually forget something essential.

  • I couldn’t work out which season this packing list was for, so I guess it was generic. Would love you to do seasonal lists

    • Yes it was meant to be generic Paula anyone from backpackers to family travellers can use it for any type of holiday – I’ll have to make that clearer at the start. Though I do like your idea of seasonal packing lists – I’ll add them into the schedule.

  • After 35 years of travelling the globe with my wanderlust husband, I still haven’t perfected the art of packing. In fact I think I have got worse at it but I don’t think I could pack at all without a list.

    • I got a little cocky there for a while Lyn – assuming after all these years of travel I know what to pack. But I have even forgotten the most basic of items for travel (the camera). So now I always use my travel packing lists.

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