Packing for a trip

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Pretty lame, but every time I pack for a trip away I seem to forget something - even if it's something simple like a water bottle or a headset for the airplane... so I had the crazy idea of making a list. I've approximated numbers for a week.

... I like to print a copy on photo paper and leave on the inside display of my suitcase.


NOTE: Locking the suitcase is a good idea

NOTE: For car or bus trips a sports bag is easier


TIP: think from head to toe

  • 6 x shirts
  • 2 x collared shirt
  • 3 x shorts
  • 2 x jeans
  • 1 x belt (consider metal free for airpot security)
  • 1 x pajamas
  • 1 x jumper (if cold)
  • 1 x thermal shirt/pants (if really cold)
  • 1 x swimmers
  • 1 x hat
  • 7 x underwear
  • 7 x hankies
  • 6 x socks


  • umbrella * (NOT IN CARRY ON!)
  • towel
  • little torch
  • travel alarm clock
  • small empty backpack or draw string bag (for day trips)
  • toiletries bag:
    • toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, comb, razor, nail scissors (NOT IN CARRY ON!)
    • headache pills, vics inhaler, lip balm, cough lollies, earbuds, sleeping pills, band-aids, sunscreen

On You

  • watch (plus a spare in your bag) *
  • wallet
    • address/phone numbers where you are staying
    • business cards
  • plane ticket! (for plane)
  • mobile phone * (and be sure to download Google maps offline)

Backpack / Day Pack

Food & Water

  • life savers * (for plane)
  • burger * (for plane - is a good idea to buy a burger at airport)
  • empty water bottle * (for plane and/or walking)
  • muesli bars (when hungry)
  • fruit (if picnic)


  • laptop computer **
  • sunglasses * (plus a spare) *
  • mobile charger & cables *


  • ebook / books / reading material
  • a headset + output adapter (for the plane see here)
  • paper, clipboard and pencil case (for drawing) (NOTE: REMOVE SCISSORS FROM CARRY ON!)


  • more sunscreen
  • tennis balls / tennis racket (if long journey)
  • itinerary / important addresses / phone numbers (plane)

If Flying Overseas

  • passport !!! ***
  • power point adapter
  • money bag & destination money & extra credit cards (and check if you can use ATMs overseas)
  • maps (printed from google earth)
  • any dockets for tourist refund scheme (if carrying items >$300 and bought within last 30 days with carry-on can get 10% back) *
  • small gift from home country
  • socket adapter for phone charger & laptop (both handle 100-240 volts fortunately)
  • phone consideration: call a week ahead to see if carrier supports country
  • eye patch
  • flight socks
  • small empty bag for duty free alcohol & other presents on way back (might not fit in suitcase)
  • NOTE: In cold weather you sweat less and the same pair of jeans & shirt can last almost a week without smelling.

Other Possible Items

  • snorkeling gear
  • waterproof phone pouch *(too often I forget mine!)*
  • binoculars
  • rain poncho
  • air mattress (extra bed or float on water)
  • spotlight (led lenser headlamp)
  • sports gear (balls, tennis racket, etc)
  • light board games (travel cards, bananagrams, etc)
  • extra business cards
  • spare batteries *
  • copy of my books * (limitless questions, ice cream = sex)

Old School

  • camera
  • compass
  • ipod (+ maybe cords & speakers)

Before Flying Overseas

  • tell work:
    • out of office: set gmail ooo dates and tell everyone.
  • money / cards:
    • consider money: determine best way to get money and best currency to use (often local is better than US).
    • call your bank: call your bank to let them know of your travel plans (so they don't freeze credit cards) - and can suggest on ATMs.
  • prepare your phone(s)':
    • local sim card: assess if you can get a local SIM card (depends on provider)... for this it's useful to have a **spare phone**!
    • international roaming: turn on or off international roaming (call your provider).
    • download offline maps: use Google offline maps heavily to save data.
    • google translate: download Google Translate app and download any relevant languages for offline use.
  • arrival gameplay:
    • lonely planet: look up your place on Lonely Planet Travel Guide for tips.
    • research safety: find out if water is safe to drink and find out what scams are most common.
    • watch thing to do videos: for big cities you might find amazing "things to do" or "top 10" videos on YouTube (Hungry Passport is an amazing channel for this), else at least Google for ideas.
    • water and food: get an early hookup on where to get cheap water and food (that's not overpriced tourist food).

Extra Items for a Car Trip

  • spare gps
  • 3.5mm male to male audio cable
  • water bottle, toilet paper, tents, air bed, etc
  • see also: my camping trips page

What Bitten Me Before

Here are some things which bit me the words in the past:

  • Not checking SIM card availability (Mexico, 2016)
  • Not taking digital camera (Africa, 2000).
  • Not taking bathers and snorkeling gear (even if it's just a chance!).
  • Not enough business cards, or wallet pen.

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