The Ultimate Vacation Packing List: 50+ Essentials You Need - The Travel Method (2024)

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Our vacation packing list gives you the ultimate checklist of everything you need to travel safely, smartly, and with style.

Download this entire checklist in PDF format at the end of this article for you to print, check, and take with you on your travels. That way, you’ll have a record of everything you’re traveling with and won’t forget any essentials.

The Ultimate Vacation Packing List: 50+ Essentials You Need - The Travel Method (1)

Travel Documents

1. Passport

An RFID-blocking passport holder is a great addition to keep your passport safe and accounted for. Some people also like to make photocopies of their passports, just in case.

2. Documents Required at Destination

Some customs agents are not overly keen on digital documents shown on your phone. Try to print your key documents off before traveling, if possible, including:

  • hotel reservation,
  • onward or return flight, and
  • vaccine certificates (if applicable).

3. Travel Insurance

Don’t take the risk, even for short trips. Be sure to check the fine print of your insurance and the specifics of what you are covered for. Aggregator websites often list by best price rather than all the essentials you selected.

4. Driver’s License

While not all driver’s licenses are valid abroad, this can double up as an important document to verify your identity. As always, check your destination to see if your driver’s license is valid for driving.

5. Rental Car Confirmation

Have this document ready for when you get to the rental station. Make sure you also have all the necessary paperwork, such as an international driver’s license, if required.

6. Trip Itinerary

This travel binder gives you over 30 pages of printables to document and plan your trip. That way, you won’t waste time on trip last-minute planning and wasting time.

7. Travel Documents Organizer

Why spend time combing through scrumped-up papers in your carry-on? Keep all your documents in one safe place with a travel documents organizer.

8. Cash and Cards

Try to exchange cash before you fly, and use your cards for backup. Airports, in particular, will give you a very poor exchange rate once you land.

A top-up card can not only give you a better exchange rate at ATMs but also act as an invaluable barrier between your cash and your home bank account.

9. List of Emergency Contacts

Need a printable for this? This travel binder, mentioned above, has you covered.

10. Copies of Travel Documents

Particularly for documents such as passports and driver’s licenses, it’s a great idea to scan them in and print off copies at home. Add them to your travel document organizer for peace of mind.

Health and Personal Care

11. Medication

Medication should be taken seriously. Pharmacies in other countries may not be open on weekends, you may need a prescription, or it may be difficult to explain your symptoms in another language.

Consider packing medications you need, which may include your prescriptions and medication for:

  • Pain Relief
  • Birth Control
  • Allergy Medication
  • Antacids
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Insect Repellent
  • Vitamins

However, be sure to check the rules for traveling internationally with medications to the countries you’re going to (including the ones you’ll just be passing through). Some countries will have restrictions on the medications they allow into the country or restrictions on the quantity you can take.

12. Hand Sanitizer

It is easy to find hand sanitizer under 100ml (3.4 ounces) that you can bring on the plane. If you get one with a clip, it can be easily attached to a rucksack strap.

13. Antibacterial Wipes

Great to have on hand to wipe down taps, toilet seats, armrests, airplane trays, and any other hard services you’ll encounter, both in the airport and on the plane.

Tech & Electronics

14. Laptop and Charger

You’ll need your laptop if you plan to do some remote work on vacation. You’ll quickly discover conventional laptops can be very heavy to carry. Ultraportable laptops are ideal if you have to do some work while traveling. Also, consider a padded sleeve to protect your laptop when stowed in your carry-on or if your rucksack doesn’t have a laptop pouch.

15. Phone and Charger

Remember to turn off data roaming when you board the flight. Ensure you get a good international data plan (by getting an eSIM international data plan, an international data plan via your phone provider, or buying a local SIM at your destination).

A protective phone case is a worthy investment, as your phone is such an important device. And consider a second cable charger, particularly as charging cables often fray and break.

16. Portable Battery

Portable batteries are a lifesaver on long flights. This device can give you hours of additional charge if you want to use your phone or device to listen to music or watch movies. Remember to charge it the night before your flight.

17. Multi-Charger

Rather than having to travel with multiple cables, use a multi-charger cable. Not only will you save space, but you can also charge and use all your devices from one solitary point using one travel adapter.

18. Travel Adapter

Universal adapters are a great choice over single-purpose adapters. Such a device allows you to charge from nearly any country in the world. But wherever you go, you absolutely need one.

And we recommend getting one that comes with a universal power strip like Mogics or Bestek.

19. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Great for remote working, sleeping on flights, and relaxing. If headphones are too bulky for your carry-on, you can also consider noise-canceling earbuds.

I own and love using the Bose QuietComfort 20 noise-canceling in-ear headphones. If you’d rather go wireless, Bose has some newer models, including Quiet Comfort earbuds.

20. GoPro/Action Camera

What is great about GoPro is that you can take it literally anywhere. It’s a worthy investment if you want to snap from pools, beaches, hikes, and any outdoor activities. That way, you put your phone, or an expensive SRL/DSRL, at less risk. There are some great accessories for it, too.

21. Travel Speaker

Find a travel speaker that is waterproof, with wifi or Bluetooth connectivity. I own and travel with the Wonderboom speaker from Ultimate Ears.


22. Travel Pillow

If you invest in a quality travel pillow, not the cheap ones found at the airport, they can really help you relax and sleep on flights, buses, and cars.

23. Lounge Pass

The airport lounge can make travel a far more pleasurable experience. If you travel often, a lounge pass can be a sound investment. Our guide on how to get airport lounge access will give you more information.

24. Sleeping Mask

Sleeping on a flight can be difficult if you are sensitive to light. With a comfortable design, sleeping masks can really help you get some shut-eye on long flights.

25. Earplugs

As with sleeping masks, cheap, conventional earplugs rarely work. Take some time to find a design that works for you, and earplugs will drastically reduce noise on flights.

26. Water Bottle

After security checks, you can fill up a collapsible water bottle using a free water fountain before you board. That way, you can stay hydrated throughout your flight.

27. Travel Blanket

Look for a travel blanket that packs up into a pouch. That way, you can attach it to your carry-on without taking up space. A/C, in particular on long flights, can make the plane very cold, so it’s always good to have a blanket that covers the length of your body.

28. Anti-Nausea Bands

Anti-nausea bands are great if motion or pressure changes on flights make you feel nauseous. They are so simple to use that you’ll barely notice them on your wrist.


29. Fire TV Stick

Most hotels and AirBnBs today are equipped with TVs that have, at the very least, HDMI compatibility. A Fire TV Stick allows you to watch Netflix, Prime, Disney+, YouTube, and plenty of other services, all from one place. All this highly portable device needs is an internet connection, HDMI port, and electrical socket connection.

30. Kindle Paperwhite

Reading is a great way to relax and pass free time. A Kindle Paperwhite is a super lightweight device that allows you to access all your downloaded titles offline. The device does not emit blue light, so you won’t feel eye strain after a short amount of time.

31. Travel Journal

Travel journaling can be very therapeutic in your downtime, encouraging you to write down thoughts, feelings, and ideas.


32. Weekender Bag

Packaging a smaller weekender bag in your luggage is a great idea. That way, you don’t need to lug a carry-on around for a day trip or weekend away while on vacation.

33. Carry On

Your carry-on needs to strike the perfect balance between comfort, space, and style. In addition, wheeled backpacks that can be used as carry-ons may also be a good choice for you, depending on the trip.

34. Checked Suitcase

Always choose function over style with suitcases. Suitcases get battered, so don’t get worried about how your suitcase looks. Choose one that is easy to push and designed to withstand heavy collisions. Depending on your trip, you may not need a checked suitcase.

35. Packing Cubes

Some debate that packing cubes don’t save space, but they are worth it purely for the organization alone.

36. Clothes

Use our clothes checklist to help you pack for your vacation and leave no stone unturned:

  • Tops
  • Shorts
  • Jeans and/or Pants
  • Leggings
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Sweaters
  • Jackets
  • Rain Jacket
  • Swimsuit
  • Workout Clothes
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Socks

37. Accessories

Our accessories list can help you pack appropriately for your vacation:

  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Belts
  • Scarves
  • Purses

38. Shoes

It is a good idea to pack a pair of casual shoes, a pair of going-out shoes, and a pair of training shoes if you work out. That set of three should cover you for most activities and scenarios. You can also consider the following:

  • Flip Flops
  • Sandals
  • Flats
  • Heels
  • Wedges
  • Tennis Shoes

39. Toiletries Bag & Toiletries

Get yourself a large toiletries bag, and be sure to pack your essentials. It can be difficult to find certain items abroad if you use specific shampoos, deodorants, or other toiletries. Don’t take the risk: the list below can help you:

  • Solid Shampoo
  • Solid Conditioner
  • Shower Gel and/or Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Face Wash
  • Moisturizer
  • Lip Balm
  • Perfume/Cologne
  • Sunscreen
  • Aftersun lotion
  • Razor
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Nail Clippers & File
  • Tweezers

40. Beauty

Particularly for getaways and evenings at bars and restaurants, you will want to look your best and feel great. Our list can help you remember essential beauty accessories:

  • Makeup
  • Makeup Remover
  • Hair Dryer
  • Hair Straightener
  • Curling Iron
  • Hairbrush
  • Hairstyling Products

41. Glasses/Contacts

Always carry a spare pair of glasses. Make sure both pairs are packed into their provided glasses cases. If you wear contacts, bring more than you need for the duration of the vacation.

42. Jewelry Travel Case & Jewelry

Many leave expensive jewelry at home out of fear of loss or damage. A jewelry travel case is an excellent way to carry jewelry in a safe way. Our guide on how to pack necklaces while traveling, along with other jewelry, has plenty of smart tips to follow.


43. Money Belt

Money belts have come a long way from the stereotypical bulky belt of the nineties. Nowadays, there are plenty of clever designs out there.

44. Snacks

Aim for high-protein foods, and try to avoid foods with lots of added sugar. A bag of almonds, cashews, or trail mix are good choices. Our list of road trip snacks can provide you with some ideas on what snacks are good to pack with you.

45. Sewing Repair Kit

A sewing repair kit is simple to pack and stops you from having to go out and buy new clothes. Rips and tears are common when you’re constantly out and about and moving.

46. Stain Remover Stick

A stain remover is a great little accessory to remove coffee, wine, and other stains from clothes, hotel sheets, and carpet floors. We’ve used one countless times when traveling. If you act fast, you can not only save your favorite clothes, but you can also avoid disagreements and fines at hotels and Airbnbs.

47. Eyeglass Repair Kit

An eyeglass repair kit is essential to pack if you don’t use contacts. The screws used to connect the temples to the frames are so tiny that conventional screwdrivers are too big to fix them. Alternatively, pack a spare pair of glasses.

48. VPN Account

VPNs like ExpressVPN allow you to browse the internet via a masked IP address anonymously. Hotel and coffee shop wifi, in particular, are incredibly vulnerable to hackers due to poor security. VPNs give you peace of mind that no one can stalk your activities online.

Packing List by Activity

Certain types of trips require specialized equipment. If you plan to hike on vacation, you’ll need hiking boots. Whereas if you’re heading on a beach holiday, you’ll swap those hiking boots for beach towels and sun parasols.

These essential lists of gadgets and gear could be of use to you for certain types of vacation:

Vacation Packing List Summary

Don’t undertake your vacation without proper planning and preparation. Use our ultimate checklist with over 50 essentials to pack everything you need for a fun and memorable trip.

The Ultimate Vacation Packing List: 50+ Essentials You Need - The Travel Method (2)

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

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Now, let's dive into the concepts mentioned in this article.

Travel Documents:

  • Passport: It is recommended to keep your passport safe and accounted for. Some people also make photocopies of their passports as a backup [[1]].
  • Documents Required at Destination: It is advisable to print key documents such as hotel reservations, onward or return flight details, and vaccine certificates (if applicable) before traveling, as some customs agents may not accept digital documents [[2]].
  • Travel Insurance: It is important to have travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances. It is recommended to check the fine print of your insurance policy to understand what you are covered for [[3]].
  • Driver's License: While not all driver's licenses are valid abroad, it can serve as an important document for identity verification. It is advisable to check if your driver's license is valid for driving in your destination country [[4]].
  • Rental Car Confirmation: If you have rented a car, it is important to have the rental car confirmation document ready when you arrive at the rental station. Make sure to also carry any necessary paperwork, such as an international driver's license if required [[5]].
  • Trip Itinerary: A travel itinerary can help you plan and document your trip. It is recommended to have a travel binder or planner to keep track of your itinerary [[6]].
  • Travel Documents Organizer: Keeping all your travel documents in one safe place can help you stay organized. Consider using a travel documents organizer to keep your papers in order [[7]].
  • Cash and Cards: It is advisable to exchange cash before your flight and use cards as a backup. Airports often offer poor exchange rates, so it's better to exchange currency beforehand. Consider using a top-up card for better exchange rates at ATMs and as a barrier between your cash and home bank account [[8]].
  • List of Emergency Contacts: Having a list of emergency contacts is important for any trip. You can print a list and add it to your travel binder or organizer [[9]].
  • Copies of Travel Documents: It is a good idea to scan and print copies of important travel documents such as passports and driver's licenses. Keep these copies in your travel document organizer for peace of mind [[10]].

Health and Personal Care:

  • Medication: If you require medication, it is important to pack it for your trip. Consider carrying prescriptions and medication for pain relief, birth control, allergies, antacids, and a basic first-aid kit. Check the rules for traveling internationally with medications to ensure compliance with the countries you'll be visiting [[11]].
  • Hand Sanitizer: Hand sanitizer under 100ml (3.4 ounces) can be brought on the plane. Consider getting one with a clip for easy attachment to your bag [[12]].
  • Antibacterial Wipes: Having antibacterial wipes can be useful for cleaning surfaces such as taps, toilet seats, armrests, and airplane trays. They can be used in both airports and on planes [[13]].

Tech & Electronics:

  • Laptop and Charger: If you plan to work remotely during your vacation, consider bringing a lightweight laptop and a charger. Protect your laptop with a padded sleeve [[14]].
  • Phone and Charger: Remember to turn off data roaming and consider getting an international data plan or buying a local SIM card at your destination. A protective phone case and a second charger cable can also be useful [[15]].
  • Portable Battery: A portable battery can provide additional charge for your phone or other devices during long flights. Remember to charge it before your flight [[16]].
  • Multi-Charger: Instead of carrying multiple cables, a multi-charger cable allows you to charge and use all your devices from one point using a travel adapter [[17]].
  • Travel Adapter: A universal travel adapter is recommended for charging devices in different countries. It is essential to have one for your trip [[18]].
  • Noise-Cancelling Headphones: Noise-cancelling headphones are great for remote work, sleeping on flights, and relaxation. Consider wireless options or noise-canceling earbuds for convenience [[19]].
  • GoPro/Action Camera: GoPro or action cameras are versatile and durable devices for capturing photos and videos during outdoor activities. They are particularly useful for capturing moments without risking damage to your phone or expensive cameras [[20]].
  • Travel Speaker: A waterproof travel speaker with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity can enhance your travel experience. Look for portable options that can be easily carried [[21]].

These are just a few concepts mentioned in the article. If you have any specific questions or need more information on any of these topics, feel free to ask!

The Ultimate Vacation Packing List: 50+ Essentials You Need - The Travel Method (2024)
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