Packing list for your trip: Checklist what should I bring on vacation?

Before every trip, it’s figuring out what to bring, gathering all the goodies and packing them. Also, most people manage to forget something every trip. Just think of that one time you had to get shampoo on the spot, or that you had to quickly pop into a store because your socks and underwear were still on the bed at home.

Fortunately, we have compiled a very comprehensive packing list so that you have a clear checklist and know what not to forget.

Whether you’re traveling to a hot climate, a cold climate, going on a city trip with the kids or traveling by car, we’ve included different scenarios in our checklist.

1. Important Documents

  • Passport and identity card
  • Flight ticket(s) and/or train ticket(s): always print them out, you never know if something happens to your smartphone during your trip
  • Visa
  • Reservation confirmations for the rental car and accommodation
  • Travel insurance papers and assistance card
  • (International) driver’s license
  • Bank card and credit card
  • Cash
  • Emergency numbers and important addresses, such as bank, travel agency, airline, insurance and consulate, as well as local emergency numbers
  • Copies of all important documents
  • Health records or identification card if you are prone to rapid treatment, medication or medical problems
  • Vaccination booklet if you are going to a country for which you need additional vaccinations
  • Traveller’s cheques, discount cards and/or a student card if you have them and could use them
  • Frequent Flyer card of the airline if you have one
  • Youth hostel card if you stay a lot at hostels where the card is valid
  • Certificates of ownership for more expensive goods
  • PADI diving pass if you have a certificate and want to go diving at your destination
  • Passport photos for visas
  • In America and Asia it is wise to take a credit card or prepaid card with you, because you can’t pay with a bank card everywhere.

2. Toiletries

Toiletries are generally always available at the destination, so if you forget something of these it is not a problem. It may even be more convenient to buy these locally if you are traveling for a longer period of time, so that you do not have to carry them in your luggage.

Also note that if you are going to fly you may only take 10 liquids of up to 100 ml in your hand luggage. For short trips, such as a city break of a few days, it may be convenient to opt for mini versions or travel versions.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toothpicks or floss
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Soap or shower gel
  • Deodorant
  • Razor, shaving gel, aftershave
  • Sunscreen and aftersun
  • Disinfectant
  • Lip balm
  • A comb or brush, rubber bands and pins
  • Wax, gel or hairspray
  • Lenses, lens solution and a spare set
  • Nail scissors and file
  • Makeup, makeup remover and cleansing milk
  • Skin products and day/night creams
  • Cotton pads and swabs
  • Disinfectant wipes and/or baby wipes
  • Birth control pill + replacement strip
  • Sanitary towels, tampons and/or menstrual cup
  • Condoms / lubricant / spermicide
  • A toiletry bag to put all your toiletries in
  • Possibly a travel hair dryer and / or flat iron
  • Washcloth
  • Towel
  • Handkerchiefs
  • An extra roll of toilet paper

3. Clothing

What clothing you bring obviously depends on the climate of the destination and how long you are going to be away. For warmer climates you will want to bring thin and short clothing while for colder climates you will want to bring more layers. Also keep in mind that some countries require you to respect certain customs and dress codes.

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Hiking socks
  • Pants, both jeans or leisure pants as well as dressy pants
  • Shorts or a skirt
  • Dress
  • Shirts and/or blouses
  • Sweater/vest
  • Neat clothing for when you go out for the evening, such as a shirt and tie
  • Pajamas
  • Jacket, preferably a water- and windproof jacket in less warm climates
  • Possibly an extra foldable raincoat or full rain suit
  • Hat
  • Hiking boots
  • Smart shoes
  • Flip-flops
  • Sunglasses
  • Glasses and any spare glasses
  • Swimwear (order directly online)
  • Thermal clothing if you are going to colder climates
  • Gloves, hats and a scarf for colder climates
  • Belt
  • A small bag to use at your destination during trips
  • Do you want to do sports at your destination? Then don’t forget to bring a set of sports clothes + a good sports bra
  • Jewelry
  • Handkerchiefs
  • A versatile scarf
  • Spare shoelaces
  • Hamamcloth

4. First aid kit and medication

Many people forget to put a first aid kit on their packing list, but actually it is indispensable when traveling. Everyone has suffered from headaches, mosquito bites or more serious complaints at some time or another while traveling. In addition, check before you travel whether you should take any specific medication with you.

  • Painkillers against headaches
  • Throat tablets
  • Tablets against diarrhea, stomach ache and heartburn: diarrhea and stomach ache are the most common problems when traveling because of trying new dishes or more bacteria due to poor hygiene
  • Tablets against travel sickness
  • Rehydrating products
  • Allergy drugs
  • Sleeping pills
  • Plasters, blister plasters, elastic bandages and quick dressings
  • Sterile gauze, compresses and cotton wool
  • Disinfectant and sanitizer
  • Scissors, tweezers, needles, and disposable gloves
  • Tick forceps or tick tweezers
  • Eye drops and nose spray
  • Mosquito spray and/or ointment
  • Sachets of salt preparation
  • Malaria tablets
  • Tablets against altitude sickness
  • Water purification tablets
  • Water filter
  • Vitamin tablets
  • Own medication
  • Thermometer

5. Relaxation

On vacation you also want to take moments for yourself, and then things like a game or a book are natural to include on your packing list.

  • Book(s)
  • Puzzle book
  • Magazines
  • Card game
  • Dice
  • Parlour game
  • Paper or notebook with pens
  • Possibly envelopes and an address book if you want to send letters or cards
  • Binoculars
  • Ball
  • Frisbee

6. Electronics

Of course, electronics also go with you when you travel. Just think of your phone and your photo camera, but this also includes chargers, batteries, and batteries.

  • Phone with charger
  • Still camera, video camera and/or GoPro with chargers, batteries and extra memory cards
  • Tripod for camera
  • E-reader with charger
  • Tablet with charger
  • For longer trips possibly a laptop with charger
  • A usb stick or external hard disk for the backup of photos
  • Music device such as an iPod or mp3 player
  • Earplugs and/or headphones
  • Splitter
  • A game console, such as a Nintendo Switch or a PSP, with charger
  • Powerbank
  • World plug
  • Inverter
  • Extension cord

7. Other

There are always some things that don’t fit into the above categories but can be handy to bring along. You never know when it might come in handy, and that way you don’t have to purchase it on the spot.

  • Travel guide(s)
  • Map(s)
  • Travel dictionary
  • Pocket knife
  • Scissors
  • Flashlight
  • Headlamp
  • Compass
  • Sturdy rope
  • Walking sticks
  • Tape
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof matches
  • Flask or water bottle
  • A bottle opener and/or corkscrew
  • Mosquito net with hooks
  • A lightweight set of cutlery, chopsticks, lightweight plate and cup
  • Safety pins and a sewing kit with needles
  • A string with pegs
  • Hand wash
  • Extra bag for things like groceries

8. Equipment

You have everything ready but now it still needs to be packed. Further equipment doesn’t stop at just your luggage.

  • Suitcase, backpack or travel bag
  • Rain cover for backpack
  • Vacuum bags
  • Luggage organizers
  • Flight bag
  • Luggage tag
  • Cable lock, padlock and other locks (USA: a TSA lock is required)
  • Waterproof bag for your papers and passport
  • Travel wallet
  • Sleeping bag or sleeping bag and pillowcase when staying in hostels

9. Traveling with kids: packing tips

Traveling with kids is a little different than traveling alone or with your partner. Especially the first time with kids can take some getting used to. It can become quite chaotic if something goes wrong or if the kids are not enjoying themselves. With these 11 tips, you can make sure your vacation is fun for the whole family. Below you will find the most important things you need to bring.

  • Diapers
  • Diaper wipes and cream
  • Baby cutlery and plate
  • Feeding bottles
  • Pacifier
  • Milk doser
  • Soft toy
  • Kick bag
  • Baby carriage and/or baby carrier
  • Travel cot
  • Cap
  • Games for the kids
  • Children’s books
  • Identification plate or bracelet

10. Flying vacation

Are you going to travel by plane? Then there are a few things you’ll want to pack extra. Don’t forget to put these things in your hand luggage. However, prepare well for your plane trip. This way you will make the trip as comfortable for yourself as possible. Read here how to best survive a long plane ride.

  • Neck pillow
  • Earplugs
  • Sleep mask

11. Car vacation

Even when you’re traveling by car, there are still a few things you should definitely not forget to pack.

  • Driving license
  • Car documents
  • Vignettes
  • Warning triangle
  • Alcohol test
  • Fluorescent jacket
  • Coolant, engine oil, brake fluid, window cleaner
  • Jack, keys, spare bulbs, spare wheel and jumper cables
  • Spare key
  • Planning to take a lot with you on your trip? Then a roof box can be very handy.
  • Travelling with young children? Then don’t forget a child’s seat!

12. Camping

For a camping vacation there are some additional items you should definitely not forget.

  • Tent
  • Mat or air mattress
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Cool box or cooler bag
  • Gas stove
  • Cooking equipment

13. Beach vacation

Regardless of whether you’re heading to the beach by car or by plane, there are a few things you really can’t do without when going on a beach vacation.

  • Swimwear
  • Swim diaper for babies and toddlers
  • Beach towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses and hat
  • Flip-flops or water shoes
  • A cooler or cooler bag with insulating material to carry drinks
  • Snorkel gear
  • Inflatable tire or other inflatables

14. Trekking

Going on a long trek is a lot of fun, but it is important that you take the right luggage with you. When trekking, you have limited space and you can’t bring everything, so you will have to choose the most important things.

  • Tent
  • Mat or air mattress
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Good hiking backpack and a daypack
  • Good hiking boots
  • Water and windproof jacket
  • Small toiletry bag with toiletries
  • Travel locks and a TSA lock if you’re traveling to the USA
  • Quick drying towel
  • Filtering water bottle

15. City break

  • Walking shoes or sturdy sneakers
  • At least two sets of clothes, for the day and for the evening at a restaurant or club
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Powerbank
  • Travel guide

16. Traveling with animals

It doesn’t always work out, but sometimes your pet can travel with you. However, this involves some other things.

  • Vaccination booklet
  • Pet passport
  • Food and drink bowl
  • Food
  • Blanket and/or basket
  • Leash, long leash and possibly a ground stake
  • Medicines
  • Extra tick forceps and flea combs
  • Toys
  • Brush

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