What to Make for Trip

I talk about packing a lot on Travel Made Simple. I try to travel carry-on only whenever possible because I love the freedom of having less stuff to carry around with me. I pack the same things for nearly every trip I take, which makes my life easier. So what’s on my packing list? Take a look below! Here’s what I pack when I travel, and remember, everything listed here fits in my carry-on bag because I love traveling light.

What to pack for a trip

What I pack for a trip won’t exactly match what you pack for a trip because we’re all different. I don’t wear dresses, but maybe you love them. I’m a woman, so some items listed might not apply if you’re a man. I usually travel with my husband, but sometimes I travel solo or with a friend.

How much clothing is on my packing list

Clothing usually takes up roughly half of my bag, maybe slightly more. I strongly believe that you only need a week’s worth of clothing no matter how long the trip is. If you’re packing for a weekend trip, you’ll need even less.

Because in most situations, you can wear the same shirt more than once before washing it. You can wear your jeans multiple times before washing them. And if you’re travelling for several weeks, you can’t realistically pack clothes to last that entire time anyway.

It’s ok to do laundry in the middle of your trip, I promise.

So here’s what clothing I normally pack for a trip:

  • 5-7 shirts (short sleeve for warm weather trips, long sleeve for cold weather trips)
  • 1 pair of jeans (I might bring two for a cold weather trip longer than a week)
  • Something to sleep in (for me this means gym-style pants or shorts and a t-shirt)
  • 4-5 pairs of socks
  • 8-10 pairs of underwear (usually 1 per day; I’ll do laundry on longer trips)
  • Toiletries on my carry-on packing list

Since I almost always travel carry-on only, I have to limit the liquids I pack. Luckily there are lots of solid toiletries that can easily replace your liquid items.

Here’s my standard toiletries packing list:

  • Shampoo and conditioner (Check out my favourite solid shampoo and solid conditioner.)
  • Shower gel or bar soap
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Contact solution and case
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Nail clippers and nail file
  • Brush and hair elastics

Electronics: what to bring when traveling

I need my laptop to work, and I often work while travelling, so I probably pack more electronics than you might need. Seriously consider leaving your laptop at home when you go on vacation.

I can’t imagine travelling without a camera to take pictures, and an extra memory chip is worth the tiny space it takes up. Although if you use your phone as your camera, that’ll take up even less space.

Don’t forget all the necessary batteries, cords, and chargers for your electronics. Plug adapters are vital if you’re traveling to a country that has different electrical outlets than your home country. Read more about taking batteries in luggage.

I typically don’t recommend traveling with hair straighteners, hair dryers, or curling irons. Most hotels will have a hair dryer. If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll either need an electrical converter or a dual voltage hair appliance, and even still, many of them only work properly at lower heat levels.

Other essential travel items

Of course there are other essential travel items that you should pack for a trip. And there are certain things that are personal to you that might not be on my list.

Pack any prescription medication you might need. I recommend packing a little more than you’ll need to get through your trip in case your return flight gets delayed and you get stuck for an extra day or two.

You should also pack over the counter pain medicine and wound cream. You can buy most first aid items almost anywhere you go, so I typically don’t pack too much of this kind of thing unless I’m traveling somewhere remote.

I wear contact lenses, so I also bring my prescription glasses when I travel. Sunglasses are essential for most trips, too.

I’m sure this is obvious, but don’t forget to pack your ID, credit and debit cards, cash, and passport (for an international trip). It’s also good to have a pen and a little notebook.