Packing Smart: Tips and Checklist

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Packing smart really means packing light and taking less.


Below are some useful packing tips gathered from different travel experts. Be sure to see the checklist that follows.


  • Items You Should Always Carry On

Luggage can get delayed or lost. So be sure to keep these essentials in your carry-on bag:

  • Passport & ID’s
  • Money, ATM cards, wallet
  • Eyewear
  • Medications
  • Change of clothing
  • Hiking footwear (for adventure travel trips)


  • Clothing Tips
  • Think layering. Pack only versatile layers that mix and match and provide insulation, ventilation and/or weather protection.
  • Before your trip, make sure your outer layer fits easily over your inner layer(s) without binding or bunching up.
  • Cotton can be fine in warm weather; but once wet, it drains your body heat. Synthetic fabrics are recommended; they wrinkle less and dry faster.
  • For 1 week or longer trips, plan on doing laundry rather than packing additional clothes.
  • Stick to 1 or 2 colors that mix and match well.
  • Dark colors look cleaner longer than light colors.
  • Men: A polo shirt is dressier than a tee and is easily layered.


  • Footwear Tips
  • Trail-running shoes offer maximum versatility (good for hiking, walking or running).
  • Stuff items inside shoes to consolidate space.
  • Pack shoes together in opposite directions and secure with rubber bands.
  • Use your socks as padding for sunglasses or electronic items.
  • Put shoes in a plastic bag (or cloth shoe bag) to keep dirt off of your clothes.
  • Going hiking? Make sure your boots are broken in beforehand to help reduce blisters.


  • Personal Items


  • Bring prescription and over-the-counter medications as needed. Carry-on travelers can avoid liquids and gels by taking tooth powder not toothpaste, bar soap shampoo, antiseptic towelettes, solid deodorant and solid sunscreen.
  • Bring a towel for budget lodgings that may not have towels. A high-viscose “multi-towel” is lighter and dries faster than a cotton towel.


Packing Smart Checklist

Your packing needs will vary by your trip destination, duration and personal comfort level, so vary this checklist accordingly.


  • Clothing/Footwear
  • 2 to 5 shirts
  • 1 or 2 long-sleeve shirts
  • Lightweight, micro-fleece jacket
  • Lightweight, water-resistant jacket with hood
  • 2 pairs of lightweight, quick-drying pants
  • Belt
  • Swimsuit
  • 3 to 5 pairs of quick-drying underwear
  • 3 to 5 pairs of socks
  • Shoes
  • Sandals for warm climates
  • Hat (to block the sun/rain or keep you warm)


  • Women’s Considerations
  • A long skirt (a reversible skirt adds versatility)
  • Sarong or shawl (doubles as a skirt or dress)
  • Black dress that can be dressed up or down
  • A head covering
  • A belt or scarf to accessorize
  • Sanitary products
  • Makeup


  • Children’s Considerations
  • Clothing (see adults’ list)
  • Diapers
  • Baby food and/or formula
  • Small spoon
  • Medicine (in original containers)
  • Snacks
  • Soap
  • Baby shampoo (works for adults, too)
  • Bib
  • Baby wipes
  • Pajamas


  • Personal Items
  • Passport and ID’s
  • Money/ATM cards
  • Eyewear
  • Prescription and OTC medications
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Razor
  • Small scissors
  • Comb or brush
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Small first-aid kit



  • Other Considerations
  • High-viscose towel and washcloth
  • Water bottle (collapsible is best; keep empty for airport security)
  • Insect repellent
  • Earplugs
  • Tissues and baby wipes (to freshen up)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Flip-flops (for the shower or beach)
  • Maps
  • Duct tape
  • Sewing kit
  • Collapsible umbrella
  • Plastic zip bags


  • Electronics

These are best placed in your carry-on or personal bag. Remember: The less you bring, the less you have to worry about losing or having stolen.

  • Cell phone with charger
  • Camera with media-storage device and charger
  • Laptop (or simply rely on internet cafes)
  • Adapter and converters



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