How to pack for a trip like a pro? Complete packing list.

I hate packing almost as much as I love travelling. When I was going on my first big trip to Russia, my suitcase was waist-high. But never mind the size – I was stressed out that it won’t fit into weight limitations set by the airline. It turned out then that I didn’t even need more than half of this stuff.

Then I tired to limit the amount of things I take. But let’s not cheat ourselves. I always ended up with seven pairs of shoes for two weeks or fourteen t-shirts for one week.And at least two bags, way too heavy for me to be able to carry them both on my own.

Eventually, for my two months trip to the USA I packed into two small backpacks – a 45 liters, knee-high backpack weighing 13 kg and another smaller, carry-on one. I gave every item in my luggage a lot of thought. Packing cubes helped me arrange the luggage a lot.

I am also able to pack in a carry-on only if needed!

how to pack for a trip

How to pack for a trip (to the USA and not only)?

First of all, how to pack for a trip depends on the season and region you’re going to. I am on the south-west of the USA, mostly in California and I almost forgot what rain looks like. The temperature during the day rarely falls below 25 C. It gets really cold at night though. My luggage is prepared for summer weather but I’m also prepared for some cold days. My list will have to be adjusted if you’re going for a trip to freezing cold regions but in most destinations with mild climate it’s going to be fine. Except for this I am a sporty person so there’s not too many beautiful dresses and high heels 🙂

How to pack for a trip – DOCUMENTS

– Passport with visas / ID
– driving licence
– Debit and/or credit cards
– Insurance
– Some cash
– Plane / bus / train tickets or documents of your own car
– Booking confirmations

How to pack for a trip – CLOTHES

– 4 sport, breathable tops
– 3 sport breathable T-shirts
– 2 sport breathable shirts with long sleeves
– 3 regular tops
– 2 short-sleeved casual bolero jackets (I love them – you can combine them differently with the tops and your clothing becomes more varied 😉 )
– 1 regular t-shirt.
– 3 pairs of sport shorts
– 1 pair of jeans shorts
– 1 pair of long, breathable, sport leggings
– 2 pairs of regular long leggings
– 1 pair of jeans
– 2 warm fleece sweaters
– 1 jacket (not too warm but windproof. Worn with fleece sweaters it’s good even for freezing cold)
– 1 dress (I want to look like a woman once in a while! 😉 )
– 3 sports bras and 1 regular
– 7 pairs of underwear and socks
– Bathing suit
– Hat
– Raincoat

How to pack for a trip – SHOES:

– One pair of hiking boots (which don’t fit in the backpack so I have to travel in them 😉 )
– One pair of trainers
– One pair of flip-flops
(oh, it was hard to limit the amount of shoes to this only, believe me… 😉 )

How to pack for a trip – ELECTRONICS

– Laptop + charger + external hard drive
– Kindle e-book reader
– 2 phones (1 for a local sim card, the other for your original one) + charger(s)
– Camera + charger, additional batteries, small tripod, transfer cable
– Local plug adapter if needed
– power bank
– headlight + additional batteries

How to pack for a trip – COSMETICS

– sunscreen (!)
– toothbrush,
– toothpaste,
– comb,
– face and body lotion,
– shower gel,
– shampoo,
– facial wash + cotton balls,
– cotton buds,
– shavers,
– deodorant,
– concealer (that’s the only “beauty improver” I use when I travel 🙂 ),
– lip balm,
– sanitary pads

How to pack for a trip – OTHER ITEMS:

– towel
– manicure set
– sewing kit (having holes in one or two of your 7 pairs of socks can be annoying! 😉 )
– some medicine – painkillers, flu, throat ache
– sunglasses
– water bladder – great thing for hiking or biking. I also took a pair of biking gloves.
– selfie stick! 🙂
– little purse (guys, don’t forget 😉 ) – check this post on best travel purses!
– little gifts from your country for friends, hosts and people you meet.

how to pack for a trip

The list seems to be long and it’s hard to believe that all this fit in two small backpacks. But it did and I still have some space left for souvenirs 🙂

I must admit that packing cubes were a huge help in organizing all this mess. These are three cubes of different sizes – I mostly keep my clothes there. In result I am able to find everything immediately without digging through all my stuff. The cubes also make the clothes take less space. I strongly recommend them to you. But if you don’t have them, plastic bags should do the job 😉

I also recommend to roll your clothes instead of folding them – it’s easy to organize and you can pull one thing out without doing a mess with all others. They also don’t crease.

how to pack for a trip - packing cubes

So enjoy your trip! Travelling will become so much better without your huge suitcase full of unnecessary stuff, believe me! 🙂

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