Did you know that 20% of travelers always forget to pack something important?
And according to Talker Research, some of the most commonly-forgotten items include cell phones, sunblock, and toiletries.
You can probably make do without things like sunscreen in your bag, especially if you know you can purchase a replacement once you arrive at your destination. But forgetting your phone, medication, or other important items is a completely different story. Especially if you’re traveling internationally.
That’s why it’s worthwhile to take a little extra time before you start packing to make sure you know what you’ll need for a trip abroad. Creating a packing list helps you ensure you don’t forget anything important at home and helps you avoid overstuffing your bag.
The Ultimate Packing List For International Travel
Compared to domestic travel, international trips take much more planning. And packing your bag is no different.
When you’re getting ready for an international trip, it’s important to consider the weather as well as the style of dress in the country you’ll be visiting. You should also think about any activities you hope to do on your trip. Then, create a packing list that covers all of your bases.
Treat the list we've created below as a suggestion for what should go on your own travel packing checklist—feel free to add or remove items based on your destination, trip duration, and personal preferences.
- Short-sleeve and long-sleeve
- Blue jeans
- Sweater or a warm coat
- Rain jacket or poncho
- Workout clothes
- Swimsuit and cover-up
- Shoes (hiking boots, walking shoes, sandals, etc.)
- Accessories (hat, sunglasses, scarf, etc.)
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
- Shampoo, conditioner, and hair styling products
- Razor and shaving cream
- Facial moisturizer, cleanser, toner, etc.
- Makeup products (mascara, eye shadow, blush, etc.)
- Contact lenses and solution or glasses and case
- Menstrual products
- Blow dryer, hair straightening iron, curlers, etc.
- Prescription medications
- Nail clippers, nail file, and tweezers
- Lip balm/chapstick/lip gloss
- Cell phone
- Charger and adapter for international travel
- Laptop or tablet
- Camera and extra batteries
- Memory card or external hard drive
- Earbuds or headphones
- Portable WiFi router/hotspot
- Travel documents
- Driver's license or other ID
- Boarding pass
- Travel Visa
- Proof of travel insurance
- Vaccination cards
- List of emergency contacts
- Debit and credit cards
- Money belt or money pouch
- Towel (face towel, bath towel, or beach towel)
- Reusable water bottle
- Books, magazines, or other reading material
- Writing implements (pencils, pens, markers)
- Ear plugs and eye mask
- Travel pillow
- Travel guide or city map
- First aid kit (bandaids, hand sanitizer, Neosporin, etc.)
- Insect repellent
- Water purification tablets
- Extra tote or day bag
How to Pack Like A Travel Pro
Packing for a long international trip is daunting. With so many items to pack, it can be tricky to fit everything in your luggage. And if you overstuff your bags, you could end up paying additional fees for oversized luggage.
If you shuffle things around to avoid heavy baggage and end up packing the wrong item in the wrong place, it could also present problems—stuffing a book or headphones in your checked bag might mean you're in for a very long, boring flight.
To help you fit everything on your travel checklist in the bags they really belong in, we've compiled a few of our best packing tips.
Maximize space in your bag by rolling your clothes
Maximizing space in your bag is key to making sure you can fit all of your items without overstuffing. And the best way to save space is to roll your clothes rather than fold them.
Rolling helps compress clothing and allows you to pack more items into a smaller space. Here's how to roll different types of clothing items:
- Start by folding the shirt in half vertically so that the sleeves are pressed together.
- Lay the sleeves over the body of the shirt so that you have a rectangular shape to work with.
- Smooth out the shirt to get rid of any wrinkles, then roll it up tightly.
- Fold the pants in half—one pant leg should lay on top of the other, with the outer pockets facing out.
- Smooth out the pants and roll them up tightly.
Use organizers to separate items in your bag
Traveling internationally can be an intimidating experience, especially when it comes to packing for the trip. With all of the items you need to bring and different types of luggage, it can be difficult to know where everything should go. To help make international travel easier and more efficient, consider using organizers to help you pack.
The more organized you are when you pack, the less time it will take to find things you need when you're on your trip. From toiletry bags and packing cubes to laundry bags and shoe organizers, there are many different packing tools you can use to stay organized while traveling.
These small bags come in various sizes and colors, making it easy to organize clothing, shoes, and other items within your travel bag. That way, you can easily find what you need, when you need it.
For example, you could use different colored packing cubes to organize clothing, like packing your pajamas in a blue cube and keeping athletic wear in a red one. Or, if you're headed somewhere like Italy, you might organize clothing by type—like outerwear, tops, bottoms, and accessories—so you can build outfits and stay on trend while you travel.
You can also use smaller cubes like our Cubelet to separate and store things like charging cables. That way, they don't get tangled in your bag during travel. Plus, packing cubes also conserve space by compressing everything down so it takes up less room in your suitcase or carry-on bag.
Rather than dumping everything in your bag and digging it out when you arrive, keeping everything in a toiletry bag makes it easy to find. And it protects your items by keeping everything separate. That way, if a lotion, toothpaste, or any other product leaks during the flight, it's contained in the toiletry bag and won't stain the clothes you packed for your trip.
Clear organizers are a great option for liquid-based toiletries like shower gel. They're typically made of plastic, which means they're ideal for airport travel since TSA guidelines require you to put liquids in a clear bag.
You won't always have access to a washer and dryer when you travel internationally. And that means you'll accumulate a lot of dirty laundry during your trip, which makes a laundry bag like our Laundry Stuff Sack an essential item.
The Laundry Stuff Sack is designed to be small and light, so it won't take up too much space in your luggage while still providing plenty of room for all your laundry needs. It stores up to two weeks of undergarments and has a built-in divider to help you separate the clean items from the dirty. The drawstring closure keeps clothes secure during transit, and the mesh material helps keep items organized within the bag. Plus, it’s a breeze to clean when you get home from your travels!
Keep travel essentials in your carry-on
Whether you're road-tripping or flying to another country, you need to have quick access to your travel essentials. If you're traveling by car, that might mean tossing a bag in the backseat. But if you're flying, that means organizing items in your carry-on luggage so they're easy to access when you need them.
Here are a few of the most important things to pack in your carry-on bag:
- Travel documents. This includes your passport, travel visas, and anything else you'll need to enter a new country. Research the country you plan to visit and double-check that you have all of the required documentation to enter—we'd also suggest investing in some kind of passport pouch to help protect your documents.
- In-flight entertainment. International flights are long—make sure you bring a few options to keep yourself entertained throughout the journey. For most of us, that means our phones, headphones, charging cables, and maybe a book.
- Toiletries. Vacations abroad usually require long days of travel. And depending on the time zone changes, you might arrive and have a full day of activities ahead of you. Whether you want to freshen up between flights or just want to hit the ground running when you land, it's a good idea to keep a few personal items like your toothbrush and a compact mirror in your carry-on bag.
Traveling internationally can be a daunting task, but with the right preparation and packing strategy, it doesn't have to be. No matter where you're headed or for how long, the key to a great trip is a well-packed bag. From rolling your clothes to using organizers to separate items in your bag, there are many ways to make sure all of the important items on your travel checklist fit comfortably into one suitcase without overstuffing.
We hope knowing what steps to take when creating a complete packing list and following our travel tips help you feel more confident about preparing for an international trip.
Make sure you have everything you need for your trip by browsing our Travel Collection.