Wanderlust Week: How to Pack & What To Pack

Ok, so yesterday I shared HOW to get there and some great TIPS on traveling, but now is the part that plagues so many of us: What do I pack? I'm sharing how I pack, packing tips, and what I pack for long trips (usually overseas).


  • Do your research. For example, if you're going to Australia or New Zealand, know the seasons are opposite. What's the weather going to be like? This is a common sense thing but SO many people just don't do it.
  • Check your itinerary. Are you visiting a church in Spain or Italy, for example? Make sure you are covered up (long skirts or dresses and covered shoulders) or you won't be allowed to enter. A sarong or scarf is great for this.
  • Jezebel recently had a great article on how to pack. They cover sample outfits for a beach, city, and country weekend.
  • Here's how to pack for a 10-day trip in a carry-on! With pictures!
  • I use the "rolling" method for my clothes (no wrinkles), but plenty of people swear by packing cubes.
  • Luggage-wise, I've used both a backpack and cheapo-luggage with wheels just fine. I've used carry-on and checked bags. My bags were only delayed once (LAX) out of everywhere I've been! My bags are aubergine-colored with neon luggage tags, so they stick out a little from the hundreds or black and red ones.
WHAT TO PACK (this is for long trips and obviously I'm leaving out clothes):
  • Books or magazines for entertainment. I never bring my laptop. Personal choice.
  • An item that really is a must-have is a collapsible water bottle. Water can be expensive (and is what I drink most of the time traveling. The other part is Coke Light because I can't find it in the States). Sure you can buy one bottle and refill it constantly (assuming the water is safe to drink) but this bottle collapses and folds up for super easy storage. AWESOME!
  • Travel solid perfume makes you feel and smell better. Put a little under your nose to alleviate the smell of stinky cabs or passengers. Try to get as many toiletries in solid form. No mess and can go in carry-on.
  • Need a quick sugar scrub in a pinch in a hotel or on a plane? Mix a sugar packet or two with a few squirts of a lemon to exfoliate and feel refreshed.
  • Ipod, charger, and extra battery pack
  • Camera, charger, extra batteries (if it uses those), media card
  • Paper soap or detergent. Just add water. Voila!
  • Solid lotion/balm. Again, so it doesn't melt and can be taken on a carry-on bag.
  • Meds!
  • Baby wipes--great for refreshing between flights or after a long day of traveling AND they get rid of deodorant stains on clothes.
  • Wisps  are disposable toothbrushes. No water needed!
  • Travel clock or use your phone. Check to see if your phone works overseas!
  • Gum/mints
  • Converters if needed. My Ipod (rip) and flat iron don't need one!
  • Solid shampoo--takes up so little space and lasts forever! Well, almost. I swear by these.
  • Copy of passport in checked bag. I've never needed it, but everyone says I need one.
  • Trail mix--M&Ms (Smarties) mixed with peanuts and raisins is a great snack & can be a food-lifesaver if there's truly nothing good to eat.
  • Travel towel if you're staying in hostels
  • Flip flops (havianas) for icky hostel showers and hotel rooms. Also, just to give your feet a break!
  • Bug repellant, if needed
  • Nasal spray/strips (I have bad allergies)
  • Chapstick--not only for moisturizing lips but also can be used on heels to prevent blisters
  • Hand sanitizer (you can also put it under your nose to rid the bad smells)
  • Travel journal & pen--so you don't forget where you went, the memories, playing tic-tac-toe games, to hold ticket stubs, to keep track of $$, and especially helpful with identifying pics
  • Paper/Post-Its--use the paper from your journal to write down directions or words to show the cabbie if he can't understand you
  • Foldable bag to carry extra souvenirs or just for walking around town
  • Sunnies
  • $$ and credit/debit cards, passport, ID. MAKE SURE YOU CONTACT YOUR CREDIT COMPANY BEFORE YOU LEAVE. I went to check into a hotel in Cancun, and my card was denied for "suspicious activity." Nightmare!
  • Makeup, brush, toiletries 
  • GPS (or maps on phone)
  • Travel clothesline, again if you're gonna be gone a while and you need to wash undies, socks, etc.
  • Travel pillow--I never sleep on flights or buses but I bring this anyway.
  • Sarah Von suggested a podcast from your friends and family--lovely idea when you get homesick!
  • I wanted to throw in a couple of random items for the SERIOUS travelers out there--as in you're backpacking it. One is this pocket shower that everyone swears by!
  • A few phrases in a foreign language. I've found that when in a shop/store, I always greet the owner/worker in the native language. Always appreciated.
  • A great attitude! Sure you'll get tired of traveling but try to soak in the memories and not get frustrated.
  • Remember: It's not wrong, just different! Yes, your drink might not have ice in it, yes there's no ranch dressing, yes this and that is different from back home. But that's the point! You're NOT at home. It's time to explore!
Whew! I could go on and on! Remember, I tried to leave common sense stuff out, but what did I miss?
 Leave your suggestions in the comments and I'll answer all questions on Friday!


  1. This list is positively SPECTACULAR, my dear! I'm a chronic overpacker and this is a huge help!
    xo Josie

  2. nice list! i love your last reminder - about not complaining - it's always a little embarassing when i'm with someone who does that :)

  3. WOW WOW WOW, you've basically covered everything here, nothing else to add but WOW, have a fabulous day darling, xoxo

  4. That is the best list ever...I love that you wrote it all down...Perfect! I am going to print this out:) Btw: solid perfume are the best!
    Happy Tuesday:)

  5. Nice ideas! I'm headed to NYC this weekend - my least favorite place to pack for ever! I know it will be hot, and I know I'll be schlepping around a lot before I can put my bags down. My light packing skills, which are not so good, will be put to the test!

  6. Thank goodness for bloggers like you that can help me pack, where would I be without you?

    Come enter my giveaway!

    xo Lynzy

  7. What an informative post!!! I am going away in the fall for twenty days and I want to bring everything in a carry on! The NY Times article has given me some inspiraion! Thanks for all the tips!


  8. Fantastic advice! I'm finding lately, a good go-to item for me when traveling to Spain, is the American Apparel U-Neck dress. I can wear it out, with cardigans, under skirts, bunched up as a t. Serves many purposes.


  9. thanks for your comment on my blog.. nice tips! please do more often to visit my blog and follow if you like it. thanks and have a nice day :)

  10. This is a GREAT list!!! You wrote all those items that people tend to forget, but regret later on. I love your perfume theory. I totally do that!

  11. Wow! That's a pretty extensive packing list! I'm more about packing the bare essentials and traveling light :)

  12. You are amazing!!!! I am seriously printing all of these out so I can use them for my next trip! :)

  13. I'm packing for my summer vacation tomorrow, so it seems I saw this right in time :-) I just made my own list today, but you have some good ones I've missed!


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