For many people holidaying abroad for the first time, the initial question they ask is “What do I pack when I’m travelling overseas?” Well, I have the ultimate checklist for you!
When it comes to travelling, less is definitely more. My number one tip is to take two bags only… One carry on bag, and one suitcase (which will be checked baggage on your plane flight).
Carry On Bag
Everyone has a preference when it comes to carrying around a day bag. Some people prefer a backpack, some a shoulder bag, others a hard case. My choice for international travel is a tote bag. Whatever your decision, be sure to check out your airline’s policy when it comes to standard sizes and weight restriction for carry on baggage.
Also check out the Australian Government’s website for advice on what items cannot be taken onboard an aircraft (as they have the potential to be used to harm others – prohibited items include dangerous goods powders, liquids, aerosols and gels).
What to pack in your carry on?
• Travel wallet to hold your passport, itinerary, travel cards and a small amount of destination currency.
• Travel pillow – I’d highly recommend a u-shaped, microbead pillow – it’s my choice for ultimate comfort.
• A clear bag (a sandwich bag will do the trick) with travel size deodorant, paracetamol, hand sanitiser and any body creams you might need packed inside. When you go through customs, you’ll have to take this out of your bag and pop it in the luggage container. You are not allowed anything over 100ml, so don’t pack expensive make up or beauty products/perfume in your carry on, because they’ll be confiscated.
• Warm socks. There’s nothing worse than cold feet, so a pair of cosy socks can make your travel experience much more comfortable. Compression socks/stockings may also be an option for you, I’d suggest you heed advice from a medical professional or check out the discussion boards on Tripadvisor here for more information.
Suitcase (Check-in Luggage)
Similar to your carry on bag, you should always refer to your booked airline guide for specific baggage allowances and size restrictions when travelling overseas. Be sure to avoid packing any breakables or valuables in your check-in luggage as (sadly sometimes) items may get lost or damaged.
My suitcase of choice is a hard case, which are durable and therefore offer the best protection of the items inside, as well as being waterproof from the outside if carried on luggage carts in the elements. The case itself should be lightweight, ideally with four wheels (the number and type of wheels on your suitcase definitely matters). Ensure you pick a bag that is durable, to ultimately last you multiple global trips and also withstand some not-so-ideal manoeuvring by airport staff.
What to pack in your suitcase
Know your travel location – the weather, the culture, the religious beliefs, the government laws. You’ll need to pack appropriately.
Besides your clothes and toiletries in your suitcase, I’d just suggest some laundry soap (or body wash), which you can use to wash your underwear/clothes in the shower if you need too. Generally there are no washing facilities when you are travelling abroad, or if you only spend a night or two in the one location, you won’t have time to visit a coin laundry or wait for hotel laundering services.
Also ladies, don’t forget to pack sanitary products if you are due to get your period while you are away (it’s easy to forget about in the lead up, but you’ll be better off being prepared, rather than needing to urgently buy when you’re in a foreign country – especially in remote locations).
• A photocopy of your passport, itinerary and smart traveller registration.
• Clothes, beauty products and toiletries.
• A compact shoulder strap bag or belt bag (ie. an everyday bag) that is secure and practical to carry around in the cities you visit (you might be able to fit this bag in your carry on? Up to you. I just got mine out after we checked into each hotel).
Remember – Always take your passport, cash, travel documents, tech products and medications with you in your carry-on luggage.