What to Pack For Travel in 2024: The Ultimate Checklist

What to pack for travel in 2019

With each passing year, travel can seem both easier–and harder. This 2024 travel packing list is a handy tool when deciding what to pack.

It’s getting easier because there are now ebooks to replace stacks of bulky novels and travel guides, cheap travel phones and SIM cards so you can use your phone abroad without paying international calling fees, and internet almost everywhere you go in case you need to check up on directions or do a quick translation of some mystery food on the menu.

And it’s getting harder because carry-on restrictions are tightening and airlines are steadily chipping away at baggage allowances until checking a suitcase can cost more than booking your own seat on the plane.

Your packing list needs to adapt with the times. This 2024 travel packing list is perfectly designed to help you remember what you need–and leave behind what you don’t. Travel will be seamless with the right apps, technologies, and clever systems of packing to minimize weight and hassle.

Knowing what to pack will make all the difference when you travel. We’ve created downloadable travel packing checklists for you to print out and have handy when you’re packing your suitcase!

The Ultimate 2024 Packing List for Travel

Clothes (Women)

  • Shirts (a mix of long sleeves/short sleeves/tank tops depending on weather and how conservative the country you’re traveling to is)
  • Light pullover top
  • Heavier jumper/sweatshirt/sweater
  • Windproof coat (can be a raincoat or a heavier coat depending on weather)
  • Raincoat
  • Dresses
  • Leggings/shorts/pants/skirts (cut below the knee for conservative countries)
  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Sleepwear
  • Swimsuit
  • Socks
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sandals/flip-flops
  • Dressy flats/heels/sandals
  • Sun hat or winter hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Jewelry
  • Belt

Clothes (Men)

  • Shirts (a mix of long sleeves/short sleeves depending on weather)
  • Light pullover top
  • Heavier jumper/sweatshirt/sweater
  • Suit
  • Windproof coat (can be a raincoat or a heavier coat depending on weather)
  • Raincoat
  • Shorts/pants
  • Underwear
  • Sleepwear
  • Swimsuit
  • Socks
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sandals/flip-flops
  • Dress shoes
  • Sun hat or winter hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Tie
  • Belt


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Nail file/nail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Brush/comb
  • Hairstyling appliances
  • Lotion/moisturizer
  • Band-aids
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face mask
  • Shaving supplies
  • Makeup/makeup remover
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Regular medications
  • Anti-nausea medication
  • Travel medications (malaria pills, motion sickness pills, etc.)
  • Pain relief
  • Small travel scissors
  • Sewing kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant

Entertainment, Technology, Apps & Programs

  • Smartphone — either unlocked or with an international plan
  • Book(s) or an e-Reader
  • A VPN (Virtual Private Network) loaded on all technology to protect your details when using unsecured WiFi networks in hotels, cafes, and airports (essential for travel to China)
  • Maps.Me or similar offline navigation app loaded with the correct regions
  • Playing cards or other compact games
  • A pen and small notebook
  • Charging cables for all technology
  • Power plug adaptor and voltage converter (check your devices before traveling)
  • Earbuds/headphones
  • Tracer Apps

Travel Documents & Other Necessities

  • Passport/ID
  • Visa (if required)
  • Printed copy of return/onward flight
  • Printed copy of itinerary
  • Printed or digital copies of booking confirmations
  • Printed travel insurance policy details or travel insurance card
  • Enough cash for visa on arrival, if applicable (USD or local currency)
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Travel guide
  • Secure place to carry travel documents (zippable shoulder bag/purse or concealed waist pouch)
  • Emergency contact
  • Vaccine Passport if required


  • Reusable water bottle
  • Umbrella


  • Camera with enough memory (or a Smartphone with a good camera)
  • Tablet or laptop
  • Collapsible backpack for day hikes
  • Water filter or water purification tablets
  • GoPro
  • Waterproof pack cover
  • Lightweight travel towel (especially if staying at hostels/in a campervan/camping)
  • Travel journal
  • Address book

What to pack in your carry-on:

  • Passport/ID
  • Visa
  • Printed copy of return/onward flight
  • Itinerary or details of first accommodation (name, address, phone number)
  • Cash
  • Credit/debit card
  • House/car keys
  • Travel insurance policy details/card
  • Emergency contacts
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face mask
  • Warm layer
  • Books/e-Reader
  • Cards/other compact games
  • Smartphone
  • Laptop/tablet
  • Charging cords/adaptors/battery packs
  • Earbuds/earphones
  • Camera
  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste (if flying overnight)
  • Medications
  • Jewelry and other valuables
  • Glasses/sunglasses
  • Empty water bottle (to fill after going through security)
  • Neck pillow
  • Sleep mask/earplugs
  • Food/snacks/gum
  • Tissues
  • Notebook and pen

Additional Packing List for Ski Holidays

Packing list for ski holidays

If you are traveling for a ski holiday, add these items to the Ultimate Packing List:

  • Heavy winter coat
  • Skis, boots, and poles or snowboard and boots (unless renting)
  • Ski goggles and helmet (unless renting)
  • Warm woolen hat
  • Scarf
  • Thick waterproof gloves
  • Snow pants/ski pants
  • Merino or other thermal under-layers
  • Long thick socks for wearing in ski/snowboard boots (or multiple long socks to layer)
  • Snow boots

Additional Packing List for Multi-Day Hiking

Packing list for hiking

If you plan on backpacking, add these items to the Ultimate Packing List:

  • Backpacking pack (easiest to use this as your checked luggage)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Lightweight sleeping mat
  • Tent (unless staying in villages or backcountry huts during your multi-day hike)
  • Hiking shoes/boots (unless your sturdy walking shoes are suitable for hiking)
  • Hiking poles
  • Water filter/water purification tablets
  • Freeze-dried meals (most of your hiking food will be purchased once you arrive, but if you are traveling overseas, you might not find good freeze-dried meal or trail bar options)
  • Trail bars
  • Lightweight backpacking stove (IMPORTANT: fuel cannot be carried on flights, so research in advance what type of fuel you will be able purchase once you arrive and choose your stove accordingly)
  • Extra water bottle
  • Small, lightweight travel towel
  • Headlamp and spare batteries
  • Battery pack and solar charger for technology (especially for longer multi-day hikes)
  • Small trowel for digging toilet holes in the woods
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Rain pants
  • Small amount of duct tape for emergency gear repairs
  • Compass/whistle

Additional Packing List for Beach Visits

Packing list for beach holidays

If you are planning to visit a beach during your holiday, add the below to the Ultimate Packing List:

  • Beach towel
  • Extra swimsuit
  • Sarong/other cover-up
  • A large bag you don’t mind getting sandy
  • Snorkel mask or goggles (or rent while there)
  • Flippers (or rent while there)
  • Beach toys (if traveling with children)

Additional Packing List for Travel with Babies

Traveling with young children is a whole different scenario than traveling with older children, and requires parents to decide carefully what belongs in checked baggage versus carry-on.

Add the below carry-on list to the Ultimate Packing List. Note that carry-on liquid restrictions do not apply to infant formula.

  • Diapers
  • Diaper cream
  • Wipes
  • Formula
  • Baby food/snacks
  • Shawl or blanket to cover up while nursing
  • Sleeping suit
  • Light, foldable stroller
  • Extra clothes
  • Pacifier
  • Bibs
  • Child’s medications
  • Small toys
  • Lap belt for a lap-seated child (if the airline does not provide this)
  • Travel cot for a long flight
  • Custody paper and consent documents
  • Child’s passport and/or ID card

Packing Tips for Savvy Travelers

What to pack for travel in 2019

There are several keys to packing for seamless travel. A few of these will help every traveler, while others are leveling-up strategies for frequent travelers who are willing to invest in the best possible travel experience.

Tips for every traveler

Empty your carry-on bag completely before you start packing.

There’s nothing worse than re-purposing a bag you use elsewhere, only to discover when going through the security check that your favorite pocket knife was tucked away in a hidden compartment.

Check in advance whether you’ll be able to do laundry while you travel.

There’s no point filling your suitcase with 20 pairs of socks if you can wash clothes once a week and save the extra luggage space for clothes that actually matter.

Assume your checked baggage will get lost.

99% of the time it won’t, but if you take everything that would be a major hassle to replace in your carry-on baggage, a permanently lost suitcase will be less of a disaster. This definitely includes all valuables, but can also include things like uncommon charging cables; any paperwork about your trip such as an itinerary, printed booking confirmations, or a travel guide; and essential equipment if you are traveling for a sporting event or similar. If you have extra space, you can even take a change of clothes in your carry-on bag.


Unless you are traveling to a snowy place in winter, you are better off with many lighter layers than one heavy coat. This saves on space and gives you more versatility to dress for varying temperatures.

Think of mobility when choosing your luggage.

If reaching your accommodation involves climbing stairs or walking down the narrow cobblestone lanes typical of old European cities, consider a suitcase or duffle bag with backpack straps. If that isn’t an option, use a backpack as your carry-on bag, leaving your hands free to carry your suitcase where necessary.

Bring less than you think you need.

Especially if your itinerary has you moving from one place to another every day or two, your clothes may never leave your suitcase. This means clothes that migrate to the bottom are likely to remain there until you return home. The less you bring, the more likely you are to actually use what you have.

Tips for frequent travelers

Invest in multi-use travel gear.

A pair of comfortable city walking shoes with good grip can double as hiking shoes (just don’t choose white shoes!). For women, a sarong or similar wrap can work as a summer dress or skirt, a swimsuit cover-up, a beach towel, and a headscarf. A pair of lightweight black hiking pants can pass as nice slacks when paired with a dressier shirt. A Kindle can hold both your travel guides and your leisure reading material. And the most versatile of all, a Smartphone can be your camera, your GPS, and your translator.

Consider traveling carry-on only.

This can save you a hefty amount on baggage fees, and it streamlines the process at both ends of the flight. Packing for only carry-on takes more planning than usual–see below for additional packing tips if you want to do away with your checked bags.

If you frequently take longer trips, buy quick-dry clothing.

Not every accommodation with a washing machine has a dryer, so you may occasionally need to hang your clothes to dry. And if you get caught in an unexpected rainstorm or decide to go for a swim on a hot day when you left your swimsuit behind, you won’t want to pack away soggy clothes.

Buy refillable travel-sized bottles.

This is especially handy for frequent travelers who pack carry-on only, because often your favorite brands of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, or makeup won’t be available in carry-on-sized containers.

Packing Tips for Carry-On Only

For travelers on a short getaway, or frequent fliers hoping to save on ever-increasing checked baggage fees, packing carry-on luggage only is a smart way to go. However, it requires a bit more planning than usual–and a minimalistic attitude toward luggage. Here’s how to decide what to pack for carry-on only.

Research your airline’s carry-on size restrictions carefully.

If you are flying multiple airlines, purchase a soft duffel bag based on the dimensions of the most restrictive airline. This will allow you to cram in extra luggage and still fit your bag in the measuring basket if the airline checks.

Wear rather than pack large or heavy items.

Wear your heaviest or bulkiest shoes on the flight.
If you need to bring a large or heavy coat, wear it (or carry it over your arm).

Pack the bare minimum.

Bring as many multi-purpose items as possible.
If you’re traveling for more than a couple days, plan to do laundry frequently so you can get by with only a few pairs of socks and underwear.
Check what toiletries your accommodation provides and leave behind any duplicates.

Pack in advance so you can make sure your bag fits the requirements.

If it is too heavy or too bulky, see if you can remove a few items of clothing or purchase certain toiletries once you arrive.

Use the personal item allowance.

If you’re struggling to stay below a carry-on weight limit, put your heaviest items in a collapsible bag or supermarket bag that can count as your “personal item”, especially if you’re struggling to stay below a carry-on weight limit. Airlines almost never weigh the personal item, just the large carry-on suitcase, backpack, or duffel bag.

Plan ahead for on-board luggage storage.

Get in line for boarding as early as possible, so you can be sure of finding space for your luggage in the overhead compartment. Some airlines frequently offer a free gate-check option for carry-on bags; others may force you to pay to check your bag if you can’t find space in the overhead bins and it slightly exceeds carry-on restrictions. (Yes, you can get too-large or too-heavy bags onto planes, but you’ll be caught out with hefty fees eventually.)
Put all valuables and breakables in your “personal item” bag for under-seat storage, and your less important luggage such as clothes in the large carry-on bag stored in the overhead compartment.

Packing Tips for New Zealand Travel



Weather in New Zealand is very changeable, so bring layers even in the height of summer.

Sun exposure

The sun in New Zealand is more intense than most other places in the world (due to the proximity of the ozone hole), so consider wearing a lightweight long-sleeve shirt for sun protection, as sunscreen may not be sufficient.

Drinking water

Tapwater in New Zealand is clean and safe for drinking, so bring a reusable water bottle for filling up at your accommodation.


Many accommodations in New Zealand are built into steep hillsides, and a surprising number do not have elevators, so a suitcase or duffel bag with backpack straps is very useful.

Rainy weather

Several parts of New Zealand receive heavy rain no matter the season, so bring a good raincoat and umbrella. If you plan to hike for several hours in a rainy area, rain pants might also be a good idea.

Phone service is patchy in remote areas of New Zealand, so plan accordingly when navigating. Maps.Me works even with no phone service, while Google Maps may not.

Credit cards

Credit cards can be used almost everywhere in New Zealand, so cash is hardly ever necessary (except in the case of roadside stalls or farmers’ markets).

Power plugs

New Zealand uses 240-watt power and angled 2-prong or 3-prong plugs.



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