Nobody: Me: Let me tell you what you absolutely need to pack on your next trip.
Having the right gear for you when travelling makes life so much easier, especially for those planning content for a blog or Instagram/ TikTok. While there are some nuances with what you should pack (for example, you wouldn’t pack shorts if travelling to a snowy/cold destination), if you follow this ultimate packing list and pack a few outfits, you’ll be prepared for anything to come your way.
What size luggage should you bring?
When preparing your packing list for vacation, ask yourself a few questions: 1. Are you staying in one place or changing accommodations often? If you plan to take one flight and stay in one accommodation, it might be worth it to bring a large piece of checked baggage. If you plan on travelling through multiple cities stick to carry-on luggage. From experience, lugging around a huge bag on the cobblestone streets in Europe is not fun! (I checked a bag on my way to Prague but planned to head to Vienna the next day. My checked bag did not make it on the plane with me and they had to send it to my hostel in Vienna for the next day). 2. Are you trying to keep costs low? Many budget airlines (such as Ryanair) are cheap because they charge for everything and checked bags are an additional fee. If you plan on using a budget airline, make sure you fit in their luggage sizes for a carry-on bag, or book a flight that includes a checked bag. 3. Are you short on time? If you are trying to hit as many places as you can in a short period of time, don’t bring a checked bag. You waste precious time waiting at the carousel for your bag to arrive. If you bring carry-on luggage only, you can hop off the airplane and leave the airport right away. 4. Do you care about bringing multiple outfits or are you willing to do laundry? Hostels have washing machines and if you’re pressed for cleaning your clothes you can hand wash your items in a sink! You can now purchase laundry strips (which are more eco-friendly anyway) and pack them in your bag for quick cleaning at your destination. If you don’t mind doing laundry, you can pack less and save space! 5. Do you like to buy souvenirs? If you do, you can: pack a piece of luggage that will have space at the end of your trip to bring home souvenirs (in which case you may want a checked bag): you can purchase a piece of luggage abroad to fill with souvenirs; or you can ship yourself pieces home! Exceptions: Content Creators and Photographers. Both of these types of travellers likely have additional gear to bring. I personally have a camera bag with all my photography gear and a second bag to store in the overhead compartment with my clothing/toiletries etc. A content creator may want to pack a variety of outfits/accessories for content and need the extra space in their bags. Of course it’s possible to pack and travel light as a content creator and photographer! Read on for some tips to save space in your bags.
If you’re looking for a camera bag, I love these ones (no affiliate links, just honest reviews): Budget: I have this travel camera backpack (currently unavailable) that is a great personal item size (fits easily under an airplane seat), keeps camera gear separate from my other items and is lightweight. At the time, it was a reasonably priced bag ($40) with lots of versatility for future trips. Mid-budget: I upgraded my camera bag to this one. It’s a great size to hold all of my camera gear and has lots of pockets for small camera accessories. When travelling, I will likely bring my camera bag with all my gear and a small carry-on to fit in the overhead compartment. Expensive: This Peak Design camera bag is an absolutely dream and definitely worth the price. It fixes a lot of the problems I have with my mid-budget bag including: the Peak Design bag swings to either side to pull out your camera; it is completely waterproof (no need for a rain cover); has a pocket on both sides and straps on the bottom to carry water bottles and your tripod; and more.
Once you’ve picked your size of luggage, you can start planning what you’ll put in to it!
How Many Outfits?
While this greatly depends on your style of travel, length of trip and size of luggage, I recommend packing a clothing capsule no matter what type of trip you’re on. A clothing capsule is a selection of pieces that can all be styled together for different looks. It’s based on layers and a few accessories to completely change your look. A good base for a clothing capsule includes (no affiliate links, just honest reviews): • Choose items in three coordinating colours. I like white/black outfits with pops of colour from a hat or jacket. • 2-3 neutral coloured shirts • 1-2 bottoms (shorts or skirt for warmer climates and pants for colder climate) • 1 scarf • 1 dress/nice outfit for dinner • One sweater (for colder climates) • A hat (I’m absolutely in love with this one I just got from Lack of Color) • This yellow jacket (read here for why you need one) • A pair of comfortable walking shoes (I love my Toms and Vessi’s are great because they are waterproof) • Enough underwear for every day and a pair of pajamas
I love organizing my outfits using the Stylebook App. The app allows my to keep track of what I have in my closet, track number of wears per piece (sustainable fashion), plan packing lists and create outfits!
Other things to consider when packing are: will you be doing anything outdoorsy (in which case pack a comfy outfit like leggings and a workout shirt); will you be getting into water (pack a bathing suit and/or cover up); will you be dining in a fancy restaurant (pack a dress); and is your destination rainy (pack a rain jacket, the yellow one above is water resistant) or cold (pack a jacket, read here for a winter packing list).
I personally love packing and wearing white shirts but be mindful of where you’re travelling/how dirty the shirt will get. I also love these vegan leather leggings from Aritzia – they feel like Lululemon leggings but elevate your outfit.
How to Plan Outfits
Your destination will have a huge influence on how you plan outfits and what pieces you will be packing. For example, in Dubai, as a woman, it’s best to avoid wearing any sleeveless shirts, sleeveless dresses, mini-skirts, and short shorts. In Morocco, you should also wear conservative clothing (All things lightweight and full coverage is ideal — loose trousers or maxi skirts are perfect). Other places, like Greece or Uzbekistan, you may want to coordinate your outfit to locations for photos. That’s why I love the yellow jacket!
For those who want to coordinate your outfits to the location for photos, my favourite places to find out how to coordinate outfits are by browsing Instagram tagged locations and finding my favourite photos, or doing Google street view in places I know are Instagram worthy. You can save photos to an Instagram list, or to a Google Slide document to refer to when you’re travelling.
I use a RFID Passport Holder. (RFID scanners can identify and store information from items such as chipped passports and credit cards.) I also travel with luggage locks for my camera bag (to deter pickpockets) and a larger lock for storage lockers in hostels. I have a luggage tag on all my pieces of luggage, including my camera bag.
1. Universal Travel Charger. A MUST if you do any international travelling. 2. A packable towel. Not all hostels have towels or some you have to rent so bringing a quick dry packable towel helps keep costs down. 3. Inflatable Travel Pillow. I never understood the need for a pillow until I recently could NOT get comfortable on the plane. I discovered how essential these are in that case, and an inflatable travel pillow saves space when you’re not using it. 4. Shower Shoes. These mesh ones are compact and dry quickly. 5. Everything in travel size. Shampoo, face wash, tooth paste, make-up etc. (see my post here on being more eco-friendly when travelling). 6. Hand sanitizer and sanitzing wipes (airplanes are icky.)Other Items I Love 7. Portable charger. It’s the worst when you have to wait in your hotel/hostel for something to charge or when your phone dies while you’re out and about.