Smart Packing for International Travel

Don’t Over Do It!

We have traveled for several years with one carry-on suitcase and backpack each. YES!  It is possible to pack everything you will need for your vacation in one small bag and backpack.  Even if you will be gone for one week or one month.  There is nothing worse than over-packing and trying to lug large heavy suitcases with you from one destination to another.  Plus, transport vehicles have limited space for carrying luggage.  More luggage means more to carry upstairs and down to get on trains and buses.

Most destinations will have laundry services available and you can wash smaller items in your bathroom sink.

Before packing, check each airline you are using for carry-on size restrictions and choose your bag accordingly.

Pack so that each skirt or pair of pants/shirts coordinates with at least 3 shirts/blouses and vice-versa.   Stick with lighter weight fabrics and plan on layering.  This will give you more than enough outfits for 2 weeks at a time.

Travel cubes are great for organizing and getting the most out of your space.  A layer of plastic between layers of clothing will cut down on wrinkling, but no-iron, quick drying fabrics always work best.

Wear you bulkiest clothing and shoes on the plane. Use belts and hooks to hang your neck pillow and blanket on the outside of your carry-on to save space inside your luggage and for ease of access.

Use your phone/tablet/computer to your best advantage.  Download books, magazines, games, travel guides and maps onto your device to cut down on items you will need to carry.  If you have a big phone or really good eyes, you can put it all on your phone and leave the tablet and computer at home, too.

Suggested Packing List

1 Light jacket (choose a waterproof windbreaker during rainy season)

1 Sweater

4 Pairs of slacks/shorts

1 Bathing suit

3 Blouses/shirts

2 Lightweight shirts

5 Pairs underwear

5 Pairs socks

1 Pair of walking shoes that have been broken in

1 Pair of comfortable sandals that will pair with everything (boots may be more appropriate in colder climates)





Passport and copies of your passport

Cosmetic bag/shave kit

Money belt

Chargers for your razor, phone, tablet, laptop, etc.

Adapters and converters as needed. 

Various sizes of zip top plastic bags

Women Should Also Pack

1 Dress or skirt

2 bras

1 pair of dressy sandals/shoes in nude, white or black for special outings

1 Scarf/shawl to cover your shoulders (many churches require covered shoulders) – but why not wait until you are there to buy one, especially if traveling to Italy.

Feminine hygiene products as needed

A purse that will pack flat in your suitcase, or you may want to buy a new purse at your travel destination.