Most people in the world love to travel. Whether you’re jetting off for a quick-weekend break or embarking on a full year abroad, getting away from your normal routine and setting off on an adventure is a fulfilling and exciting experience. However, not everything is sunshine and glamour when it comes to travel.

Sometimes, the logistics of the trip can make the entire holiday feel like a nightmare. For those who aren’t used to it, packing a bag to ensure it meets with airport regulations while also having everything you need, can be a tricky and time-consuming endeavor.

Fortunately, this list itemizes all the essential categories to consider when packing your bag, as well as giving you some handy tips on space-saving and how to choose what’s really necessary. By sticking to these five key sections, you can pack quickly and easily for any trip away.

Clothes

 

The main section on any packing list should always be the clothes. Creating the perfect wardrobe for your traveling experience is important as it ensures that you are comfortable and prepared, and also dictates how much bag space you’ll need. There are a few considerations to make when choosing clothes.

Firstly, how long are you going for? A weekend away can be done on a few changes, and if you’re traveling for long enough that it’s inevitable you’ll have to do laundry, then it’s best sticking to a few changes that you can wash when you need to. However, if your holiday is around a week, it’s best to pack to fill the duration since having to wash your clothes will cost you valuable vacation time.

Next, consider the weather and specific forecast for the time you’re going and pack accordingly. There’s no point bringing a warm coat if you’re spending time in Asia; however, you are going to want some sort of waterproof if you’re arriving during monsoon season.

Finally, it’s worth considering any specialist activities you may do while away. For example, hikers and climbers should bring appropriate gear, or if you’re planning to visit upmarket restaurants or bars, then having something to dress up in will be necessary. Whatever you do pack, be sure to roll them up to drastically save on space inside your suitcase!


Electronics

 

There’s a lot of debate about electronics when traveling. It’s definitely true that you are at more risk for theft when you have them; however, there are certain devices that we can’t live without. Having a smartphone is becoming an essential travel addition, as there are uncountable apps that can help you with bookings, finding your way around and picking attractions and activities. Having a device that connects to the internet also means you can contact loved ones back home. Some people prefer to bring a laptop as you have the additional option of watching films during long journey or stopover times.

Regardless of how you choose to access the internet, it’s essential to have a Virtual Private Network (VPN) installed on your device. This is because the nature of traveling encourages you to connect to insecure public WiFi networks, which could put your online security at risk. Using a VPN creates a secure initial connection, encrypts your data and protects you from hackers. Other electronic items that you may choose to bring include music players, a Kindle and maybe even a camera. If you do opt for the latter, it’s best to bring spare batteries and memory cards, and for all technology, be sure to have the right chargers and adapters, as electrical outlets vary from country to country.

Documents

 

No matter where you go, there are always different requirements for documentation. While your passport is essential anywhere, in some places you are expected to keep it on your person in case you are stopped by officials, whereas in other places it’s better to leave it at your hostel. It’s down to you to do the research to ensure you pick the right choice.

Similarly, some countries require visas for entry, so it’s best to sort this out before hand. Other necessary documents include travel insurance, spare passport photos (in case you have to apply for another visa) and photocopies of all the aforementioned things. For some, this may seem excessive, but if you find yourself in a situation where you have to prove your identity and legitimacy, then those photocopies will be a life-saver!

In terms of money, some people prefer to withdraw an amount for the whole trip before they set off, while others use ATMs when and where they need to. Although there is an extra charge for using cash machines while abroad, cash is irreplaceable and much easier to be lost or stolen.


Toiletries & Medication

 

Many people pack far too much when it comes to bathroom products. Although it can be difficult to be away from your normal routine, most places you will visit will sell all the essentials—soap, shampoo, sunscreen, toothpaste—so there’s no point wasting valuable luggage space on these items. Buying what you need at your destination will also discourage you from packing a whole array of superfluous supplies. No, you will not need that body polish while hiking the Andes, trust me!

In terms of medication, if you taking prescription medication, make sure you have enough for the whole trip as there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to restock there. Also, having a minimal first-aid kit that includes plasters, bandages, painkillers and anti-diarrhea tablets to combat travelers stomach is a great idea in case of emergencies.

Other

 

Finally, consider any specialty items that your trip might require. If you plan to do any hiking, then be sure to pack the appropriate shoes and clothes, as well as blister plasters and sunshades. Any sporting equipment such as surfboards, snowboards or skis also fall into this section. Consider whether you’ll need a separate day purse to go on excursions or an evening purse for checking out the more upmarket restaurants and clubs. If you’re planning to take a lot of pictures, you may need a hard drive to store them on. Spare bedding, such as travel pillows or sleeping bag liners, might be worth packing if you are a fan of your home comforts.

Packing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s easy to tackle once you break it down into these five easy sections. If you have any more tips to help pack for travel, then be sure to leave a comment below.

About the author:

Jess Signet is an avid traveler and enjoys writing about her adventures. Knowing there’s more to the world than the bubble she lives in makes her want to travel even further. Traveling is her drug, and she’s addicted. (Please, no intervention!). Read more of her work at tripelio.com.

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