Free download – a customizable travel packing checklist
Here you can download an Excel sheet with a packing checklist compiled from the detailed list below. You can customize it, print it, and use it for your travels:
➡️ Download packing checklist ⬅️
My travel packing list
Here are my favorite things that I pack when I travel. I hope you can find some inspiration in this list for your travels :). I’m a huge fan of lightweight stuff (because of my back problems, I don’t want to carry a lot of weight) so a lot of what you find here falls into that category. I put in the links to what I use, and when that wasn’t available I tried to find something very similar. This list is for traveling around Europe while staying in AirBnbs – I would choose slightly different things if I traveled overseas or went camping.
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means I get paid a small amount of money if you click on them and buy something – with no additional cost for you. Or, translated to the legalese: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. This doesn’t affect which products are included in the article. Buying something through these links is an easy way you can support my blog while getting great stuff for your own travels 🙂
The most important thing – what to put all the stuff in? My trusted backpack is a lightweight and very comfortable Osprey Farview 40 that opens like a suitcase, so it’s easy to stay organized. (The men’s version is Osprey Farpoint 40.) It also fits the carry-on size for most airlines. For shorter stays, I always travel only with the carry-on.
And speaking of organization, Eagle Creek Pack-it Specter Compression Cube can come in handy. The compression function helps you to reduce the bulk of clothing. The white color is partially see-through, so you can easily see what is inside. I have the size M and I can easily fit in a warm hoodie and 7 T-shirts.
I also organize my clothes in packing cubes from Wish.
I use these sets of light bags (also from Wish) – the biggest one for dirty laundry, the smaller ones for stuff like charger and cables or my favorite teas.
As a daypack for going sightseeing, I have a smaller 16l backpack or a small shoulder bag.
The Important Stuff
Money, ID, and the travel insurance certificate. Here comes handy another lightweight item – the Montbell Trail wallet is small but very functional.
A passport (with a cute passport cover from Wish. I have the one with the inscription Time to go, explore, discover, dream.)
My keys (so I can get back home :))
A copy of my ID and passport that I keep in a separate place with some money – in case I lose my wallet, which sadly happens often. I also have a copy of my documents uploaded to Dropbox.
I use a small cosmetic bag in which I put all the prescription meds I’m using and basic medicine for travel like painkillers and antidiarrheals. I also use a nasal spray when I’m traveling by plane – it helps to reduce ear pain when I apply it before lift-off and landing.
My most important items are:
- travel-sized toothpaste
- small hairbrush
- elastic hair rubber bands
- hand cream
- skin lotion
- lip balm
- hand sanitizer
For my liquid toiletries, I use a clear bag that I can simply pull out of my backpack at the security in the airport. This way I don’t have to worry about having a Ziploc bag for the fluids. I don’t remember where I bought mine, but the Osprey Ultralight Liquids Travel Pouch looks similar to the one I use.
You can also buy a clear bag with travel-sized toiletries already included, or you can get a clear bag with empty containers and fill it with your favorite products.
I have a mix of different travel-sized containers and bottles that I fill with products I use at home. I use these squeezable bottles and also some containers of different sizes.
For all of my cosmetics thingies I use this handbag organizer from Wish that is very lightweight.
I never carry a regular towel when I’m traveling – they are unnecessarily bulky and take forever to dry. I always pack a microfiber towel that is lightweight and dries super quickly. I use a Czech brand Jurek that unfortunately isn’t available internationally, but I have found this microfiber towel set on Amazon that looks really good. The medium size is more than enough for me – unless you want to use it also as a beach towel, then I would recommend getting the large size.
I always wear a Fitbit – I originally bought it because I wanted to keep track of how much I’m moving, but it also serves me as a watch. Since I got it I started being (slightly) less late than before 🙂
My mobile phone that I also use as a camera is Honor 9 Lite. I chose it mainly because – you guessed it – it’s one of the lightest smartphones. It weighs 149 g. They don’t sell it anymore, but Honor 10 Lite is similar. It weighs 162 g.
Earphones – currently I started using Apple Airpods Pro 2020. They have a noise-canceling function, which is great. I also have a pair of good old regular earbuds because I don’t trust my wireless ones will stay charged all the time I need them 🙂
I pack also an iPad 10.2 that doubles as an ebook reader with the Kindle app. Before I had it, I carried with me my beloved Kindle Paperwhite. Both always loaded with e-books and travel guides, of course.
I use a USB charger with dual ports – like this one but with a European-style wall plug. But as I add more electronic devices to my arsenal, I have thought of buying one with more ports, like this one.
With the charger of course come power cords – unfortunately, I have to bring a different one for almost every device. I buy at least 2 meter long ones, in case the wall plugs in the place we stay are far away from any furniture when I want to charge my devices.
Now something for the end of the day. For quality sleep, I use Bose Sleepbuds. It’s a pair of small and soft earbuds that mask the surrounding noise. They can’t be used as regular earbuds because they have only a limited pre-programmed set of melodies. I recommend the one called Downstream – it’s the sound of a river and it always puts me to sleep in no time. Also, a small heating pad similar to this one (I’m always cold).
I love to write. Anytime, anywhere. To make sure I’m never without a pen, I wear a True Utility Stainless Steel Pen Keychain on my keyring. It’s a telescopic pen that is easy to use and comfortable to write with.
A mini-journal goes well with the mini-pen. It’s good to put in my pocket and write whenever I want. Mine are no-brand from a 1 dollar shop, but you can buy similar pocket-sized journals and choose from lined, ruled, and dotted versions. If you want to go for something more colorful, these ruled notebooks are the same size.
If you prefer a bigger size, I would probably choose this beautiful and easily organized journal or this practical one. Or this beauty. (You can tell I’m a stationery lover, right? :))
I also have an A4 folder with papers of the same size, and a pencil case with Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment pens (0.3 size), a yellow highlighter, a micropencil with extra refills, and an eraser. That serves me for writing in a park, in a café, or for even more writing or drawing when I get “home”. I have one light A6 folder for postcards (that I love to buy both for myself and to send to my friends.)
I have a lightweight True Utility knife that can pass through security in European airports (I’m not sure about the regulations overseas.) This one is similar to the one I have, as I couldn’t find the exact same.
I always pack some microtene bags for the sandwiches that we prepare for the day out. (I should really look into some more eco-friendly alternatives though.)
I carry an empty water bottle that I can fill with water after passing security.
Also all of my favorite teas, especially pu-erh (Yes, I know. People do say it tastes like the Dalai Lama’s socks – used ones – but I love it. It’s a great alternative to coffee in the morning.). A few protein bars or other similar snacks to keep me going until we go shopping for food. We prepare some sandwiches to eat on the airplane.
If we travel by car or have checked luggage, I take a yoga mat for my morning exercise.
I intentionally left out clothes because everyone prefers a different style. I just made a general list of what I pack. I included the clothes I’m wearing on the way (so they aren’t in the luggage).
- Underwear: one for every day, if the stay is longer than 7 days, I’ll take 7 and wash them. A spare bra if I’m travelling for more than a weekend.
- Socks: the same.
- T-shirts: the same.
- One big T-shirt for sleeping.
- Trousers: For warm weather: 1-2 pairs of shorts, 1 3/4 length, 1-2 long, and 1 comfy pair for “home”. For cold weather: 1-2 long ones, 1 leggings-underpants for chilly weather, 1 comfy pair for “home”.
- Sweaters: 1 warmer hoodie and 1 lighter sweater that can be also worn under the first to add layers. In warm weather I wear a feather-light hoodie that replaced my light shawl.
- Jacket: summer or winter one. I don’t usually pack it, but wear it – only when we travel from a cold to a warm climate I pack the summer one in the luggage.
- A winter hat or a baseball cap in summer.
- A scarf in winter.
- Leg warmers like these for evenings or chilly days.
- A light poncho for rainy days.
- And, of course, a swimsuit if we travel somewhere warm.
- Shoes: 1-2 pairs of solid hiking ones, 1 pair of sandals in summer, a pair of lightweight slippers for “home” if I have space.
And that’s it. Would you believe I can fit all of this in a carry-on? Me neither, but I always manage it somehow. 🙂