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Packing lists: things to pack on a trip and travel

Updated on August 31, 2011

Going on a trip?

Planning for a trip or vacation is especially exciting for me. There is so much to look forward to -- the places you'll visit, the sights you'll see, the new things you'll experience. I even enjoy the packing process! As a matterof fact, packing is not at all stressful for me. I have seen suggested packing lists with items that are extremely long and meticulous. I don't travel like that. I try to travel light andpack only things I think are absolute essentials that will all fit nicely intoone carry-on sized backpack. Being female, this can sometimes be a real challenge (I mean, I really NEED to haveall my skincare products with me, don't I?).

However, aside from the usual -- things common sense dictates that you take along with you when you travel like clothes, money and traveler's checks, passport, toiletries, etc. -- I have a few personal must-haves that I always take along with me when I go traveling. Do keep in mind that the list is composed from the point of view of a female traveling alone on a budget, though I believe it works for most people.

What should I pack?

What I take

1) Sarong - A feminine clothing article(though Southeast Asian men do wear them), but has a multi-purpose function. A sarong (or a large piece of cloth) is large enough that it can serve as a bed sheet for beds with sheets that look suspiciously nasty, or it can be rolled or folded into a pillow aswell as serve as a blanket on chilly train or bus rides.

2) Hat - I am not exactly a hat wearer, but it has come in handy a few times. For instance, my hat was what protected me from a bird with a bad case of diarrhea in Hong Kong (yes, eww). Of course, a hat has its original purpose of shielding you from strong sun rays. I also use it to cover my face when taking naps on park benches. A wide-brim hat works best.

3) Plastic or zip-lock bags - These are especially useful for organizing and separating your things inside your backpack or suitcase. One bag can be used for your undies, another for toiletries, and another for shirts and so on. While traveling, you will probably accumulate dirty clothes (before you do your wash), and these can help separate your dirty clothes from your clean ones. You can also use them to store garbage should you not find a trash can nearby (since hopefully you won't be littering!).

4) Reading materials - Personally, I'm a low-tech kinda gal, so I prefer books to other forms of reading materials such as kindle or i-phone or whatever electronic gadgets you have for storing e-books(and you might not want to tote those along anyway if you were traveling to a less developed country where "rich" travelers are sometimes prime targets for pick pocketing). However,you will probably need something to keep you entertained and occupied during those long waits at airports or bus/train terminals as well as while traveling on any mode of transportation. Burying your face in a book is also great for when you don't feel like attracting any unwanted attention, although, unfortunately, some persistent people don't seem to care.

5) Pen and paper - Again, as I said, I'm pretty low-tech -- I love ink on paper. Traveling is something that affects me so deeply at such a fundamental level, that I usually like to jot down notes of my feelings, thoughts,reflections and experiences each day. Of course, it's great for writing down other important information such as timetables or addresses and phone numbers.

6) Tissue and/or wipes - This is mainly for sanitation purposes -- to clean up spills, wipe your nose, or bathroom emergencies.

7) Alarm clock or a wristwatch with an alarm function - I don't know about you, but I am very bad at waking up in time for anything without the help of an alarm clock. Obviously you use it to make sure that you can get up in time for something, like if you have an early plane to catch. It's especially important if you're going to be traveling to different time zones in one trip when your body might have a hard time keeping up and adjusting.

8) Coin purse - This is used to keep cash enough only for day-to-day expenses. The rest I keep in a neck pouch hidden underneath my clothes.

9) Common sense, respect for the people and culture of the country you're visiting and a sense of humor - This can't be packed in the literal sense of the word, but is probably the most important thing you should take with you on any kind of trip anywhere. Common sense should keep you fairly safe and out of trouble. You know, things like not walking down dark alleys by yourself or not wearing flashy jewelry. Also, remember the old adage:"when in Rome … " Dress modestly in cultures that honor modesty, for example, and obey the rules. If the sign says "no photography", then please refrain from doing so. Finally, always keep your sense of humor. Many things go wrong (or if you're a pessimist like me, then, if things can go wrong, they will) or don't go as planned when traveling. It can be very frustrating, nerve wrecking or sometimes costly, but with a sense of humor, it can make your experiences tolerable and hopefully, even enjoyable(especially if, also like me, you're a masochist).


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    • Lisas-thoughts101 profile image


      6 years ago from Northeast Texas

      straight to the point. I may adopt your hat idea. I like the sarong idea as well. I voted up. Thanks for the tips.


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm a believer in minimizing packing needs. I love the part you posted about "When in Rome" and having a sense of humor. It's so true that Americans traveling think that those they are visiting are supposed to adapt to them! Good thing to keep in mind to go with the flow of the culture. Thanks for the input!

    • Anolinde profile imageAUTHOR

      Jane Simmons 

      8 years ago from Niigata

      Thanks for your comment, Salt. The accessories hanger sounds great! I think I have a simplified version of that (but not Christian Dior, lol) somewhere! :P

    • salt profile image


      8 years ago from australia

      thankyou. Simple and very useful tips. I bought this great accessories hanger last week, christian dior mind you, that I can put underwear, bras etc in different pockets and watches and other accessory type items in others.... These are the next step from the plastic bags and you can just pull it out of your bag or suitcase, hang it up and you can see where everything is easily.


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