“I pack my suitcase and take … Oh, what a mess! The room looks like a battlefield, clothes and objects are piled up everywhere.
You had planned to pack early, but somehow the last few days were much shorter than expected and tomorrow you are already going on vacation … To the best of your knowledge and belief, you pack as completely as possible – just to get to the travel destination notice that half is missing. And already the first banknotes go on for replacement purchases instead of for the beach cocktail …
What a stressful travel preparation! Are you familiar with that? To be honest with me – at least earlier.
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What do you learn in this article?
What is part of basic preparation?
You will probably be at some points can quickly set the hook, but having thought of everything here is essential!
- is your travel document (passport or identity card) still valid long enough?
- Does your passport have enough free pages for visas and other stamps during the trip?
- Do you need a visa for the target country that has to be applied for in advance? Here you can check it.
- Check the expiration date of your existing medication -> Is everything still valid or do you need a replacement?
- Is the destination rather exotic? Consult a (travel) doctor and have your vaccination card checked in advance!
- Check whether your destination country requires certain vaccinations for entry (e.g. yellow fever in southern Brazil or Tanzania)
- Do you need vaccinations? If so, which ones? ________________________________
- Download offline maps for your travel destination. My recommendations and multiple “life savers”: Mapsme & Google Offline Maps
- Download a currency calculator app and update the rates before you leave
- Are there enough funds in your international credit card account?
- If you have already been to the country: Do you still have reserves of foreign currency somewhere in the box?
- Change money into foreign currency – if you don’t trust the local ATMs
- Pack additional cash in Euro or US Dollar – you can get something for
- Inform yourself in advance about simple / cheap transfers to your destination / accommodation (e.g. via Google Maps). Nothing is more annoying than suddenly being in a foreign country and having to take an expensive taxi when this information is missing
- Download of entertainment media (Spotify playlists, movies from Netflix / Amazon /… ) – will be difficult depending on country and Wifi speed
- Checking: Can you book tickets online in advance for sights that are probably overcrowded on site?
- Before you start packing like mad: What is the weather forecast or general average temperatures at the destination? So what clothing is appropriate?
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The basics for storage
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- Backpack / suitcase / trolley
- Packing Cubes – extremely helpful to keep your backpack / suitcase in order. Also the crease-free packing / rolling is much easier. Find a great post of how to use Packing Cubes like a pro
- Alternatives to the Packing Cubes: Compression bags
- Backpack – as hand luggage and / or for (day) tours
- Drybag – even during boat crossings your valuables / spare clothes should remain dry
- Fanny pack / breast pocket (waterproof if necessary) – Keep money / passport safe is an absolute must
- small locks (at least 2, for lockers in hostel etc.)
- PacSafe – extremely practical for the safe storage of valuables in the accommodation or e.g. on the beach
- Toilet bag – best to hang up & waterproof, protects against leaking shampoo anywhere in your luggage
- small backpack / bag / handbag for (day) tours – if not already included as hand luggage
- Socks short
- Socks long / warm
- Trousers long
- Trousers short
- Trousers for sports
- Swimming trunks / Bikini / Swimsuit
- T-Shirts / Tops
- polo shirts
- Shirt / blouse long
- shirt / blouse short
- Tank top / carrier top
- Sarong or similar
- Shoes normal
- Shoes especially (hiking shoes, sports shoes, shoes for going out, …)
- Bath slippers / FlipFlops / Birkenstock or similar
- cap / hat
- (Microfibre) Towel (large)
- (Microfibre) Towel (small)
- Rain jacket / poncho – best small and practical to stow away
- Scarf / cloth / buff – extremely practical and versatile! From South Africa to Kilimanjaro – always there!
- Sunglasses (+ case ?)
One more thing about clothes: In recent years I have learned to appreciate hiking and functional clothing, especially on backpacking trips. They are light, dry quickly, reduce odour and are sometimes even water-repellent – your perfect travel companions.
Hygiene & toilet bags
- Dental floss
- Sunscreen – in most countries much more expensive than at home!
- After-Sun Cream
- Hair gel / hair spray / hair lacquer
- high-quality face cream
- Eye Cream
- small cream for the lips (Kaufmanns or similar)
- shower gel
- Shampoo, conditioner, rinse, etc.
- Tempos / wet wipes
- Hand disinfection
- Bag / bag for dirty laundry
- small brush (-> e.g. for shoes)
- nail clipper / nail scissors / nail file
- baby travel detergent
- 1 liter plastic bag -> for liquids at Ryanair etc.
- toilet paper (~ half roll, just in case!)
- hair bands
- Contact lenses
- Spectacle case
- Spectacle cleaning cloths
- Braces (+ possibly Kukident)
- Shaver / Shaving gel
- Make-up utensils
- Heat protection spray for the hair
First-aid kit “Basis”
- Basic set bandages / plasters
- Hand disinfection – available in the drugstore of your choice in the practical small tube
- stomach trouble – my favourite is Iberogast
- Medicine against diarrhoea – I personally have Imodium Akut or Tannacomp with me to bind the toxins
- Heartburn – Talcid
- painkillers – my standard here is paracetamol
- Cough sweets – Vetch blue or similar
- Lozenges against sore throat – I use Emser Pastilles
- Against nausea / travel sickness – I have Vomex with me
- Basic supply of the “pill”
- Do you need regular medication? ___________________________
For the extended and exotic travel pharmacy I have summarized an extra overview for you.
- Diary / travel book – write down your experiences and thoughts during the trip! Extremely valuable
- (waterproof) box for food – for the leftovers from the evening before on the long journey
- Spork / (plastic) cutlery – eating without cutlery? Uncool…
- Drinking bottle
- Laundry line – who knows when and what it will be good for
- Pocket knife (all-purpose)
- Umbrella / Peck
- Beach towel – you don’t want to sacrifice your towel for that
- Safety pins
- Emergency sewing kit
- Camera + charger – I was only using my mobile phone for a long time, but now I use a compact LUMIX DMC-LX15
- Camera bag
- additional battery / mobile charging station / powerbank – since the Kilimanjaro tour I love my solar powerbank
- Card game(s) – a normal card game or my personal favorite “Dobble“
- Flashlight / Headlamp – sure-footed even at night
- Hard disk for back-ups
- Travel hairdryer
- Flat Iron
Depending on where you’re going, you’ll be grateful for a few proven foods:
- Muesli / energy bar – for the small hunger in between on long transfers
- Effervescent tablets – magnesium, multivitamin and Co. for the good feeling after strenuous days
- Sweets (Haribo and Co. are hard to get or coveted barter objects / gifts depending on the destination country)
- Your favourite tea – weighs nothing and gives you a little pleasure all over the world
What goes in the hand luggage?
Travel documentation / Documents
- Passport/ID card
- Wallet with credit cards & cash
- personal travel information folder – I always compile it myself like a tour operator:
- booking confirmations for transfers, accommodations, tours, etc.
- Confirmations of the foreign health insurance / travel interruption insurance
- Block numbers for credit and bank cards
- (International) Driving licence / diving licence / …
- Copy of passport / identity card – then you can often leave the original in the accommodation
- Copy of visa / visas – in some countries it must be presentable on request
- vaccination card + copy
- Some passport photos – always with you, just in case
- Travel guide – for browsing in bus or plane: I recommend the LonelyPlanet after multiple use
Objects / clothing
- Mobile phone
- Mobile phone charger
- for iPhone: Do not forget the opening pin for the SIM card! – Has already cost me a mobile phone, not to have it fast
- Laptop + charger
- (Action-) camera + accessories – here is my absolute favourite the GoPro…
- Slippers / thick socks for the plane – then you can take off your shoes in a relaxed way
- Sleeping mask
- Inflatable pillow – worth its weight in gold for sleeping and space-saving on the move
- small deodorant – for the personal feel-good factor
- Socket adapters – if possible an all-in-one device, then you always have the right one with you without much research
- (Mobile phone) headphones – my personal favourite for sleep / relaxation on flights are the noise-canceling headphones.
- Book – your relaxation / self-reflection can already start on your journey
- Alternative: E-Book Reader – my personal recommendation is the Kindle PaperWhite, especially useful for long trips, if you want to have several books but not their weight
- pad / notebook + pen
- USB stick(s)
- Mobile battery / Powerbank – observe the hand luggage regulations
- Toothbrush + small (!) toothpaste
- Sleeping pills – if required
To be done immediately before the trip
- Has a back-up of your phone been done? If you lose it along the way…
- Is there enough space in your Back-Up Cloud for the many holiday pictures that will be added in the near future?
- Send an email to yourself with the scan of important documents (passport, insurance card/proof of insurance, vaccination card, visa, …)
- Send an email with the most important travel documents (booking confirmations for flights, accommodations, tours / excursions, phone numbers of local contacts, …) to yourself AND your family / friends
- Have all numbers / addresses of family and friends at hand (and also available online), for postcards or emergencies
- Before you pack everything up: Take a picture of the things / contents of the suitcase -> in case the luggage gets lost
- Have you placed your name / address / mobile phone number in / on the luggage?
*In this article I recommend some products that I use myself and that have given me a real added value while travelling around the world. For these recommendations I receive a small commission, which supports the operation of JOURNICATION. You will not have any additional costs.
Many thanks for your appreciation and support!
My packing list for you as PDF
Download HERE the JOURNICATION Pro Packing List as a practical PDF file for printing.
Is anything missing from the list? Let me know. 📝