Art of the Smart

Really Simple Travel Packing List

A list I use whenever I'm packing my bags for a trip of any length.

Categories: [lists]

Here's a really simple packing list for domestic or international travel that I use regularly.

Remember to stay flexible and adjust this list to your own needs and the length of your trip. Don't over-pack and keep your life simple. If it's not here, there's a good chance you won't need it or can buy it when you get there.


Aim to bring just enough clothes for the trip. They're by far the most bulky thing you'll carry. No one is going to judge you for wearing the same t-shirt twice, so don't over-pack in this category. Remember that you'll be wearing perfectly good clothes on your body. You can do laundry during your trip if needed.

FYI My sister got me a few of these compression bags over the winter holiday, and I never travel without them now. They save a ton of space.

Item Notes & Recommendations
2 pairs pants one more dressy (dark denim), one more functional
2-4 shirts consider some nicer ones and some grubbier ones
3-5 pairs socks one durable, one liner (like these), and a few regulars
2-4 pairs undergarments anti-microbial makes them last longer
night-wear like sweats and/or a long t-shirt
swimsuit even in cold climes, the hotel might have a heated pool
nice sweater quick way to look classy or stay warm
[optional] umbrella pocket umbrella, collapsible jacket, or water-proof jacket (below)
warm jacket, scarf preferably water-proof, definitely toasty
gloves / mittens you want these below 2°C (35°F)
hat useful for shade, preventing sunburn, and hiding that you haven't showered
walking shoes/boots these should be more durable
[optional] dinner shoes for looking sharp
sandals or flip-flops lightweight and easy
belt I recommend this elastic type for size & versatility


Staying clean and hygenic while out and about.

Item Notes & Recommendations
toothbrush, paste, floss your breath is worse than you think
shampoo, bodywash, container I recommend these containers for all liquids and gels below. TSA hasn't complained.
sunscreen, chapstick suns don't kill people, people with suns kill people
razor (shaving cream)
deodorant because you might smell
antibacterial wipes/gel sometimes you can't find soap
tweezers yes, these are allowed by TSA now
nail clippers yes, these are allowed by TSA now
gentlemen's/ladies' products you know what I mean
washcloth or small towel
unbreakable mirror
clothes detergent in case you do your own laundry
collapsible hangers in case you do your own laundry
flat sink stopper like these ones here

Accessories & Personal Care

Item Notes & Recommendations
rope or paracord a length of rope is very handy, e.g. as a clothesline
Ziploc bags, garbage bags a couple can be useful in so many ways
sewing kit a large needle can thread dental floss!
portable hangers dry clothes or keep fresh ones wrinkle free. Try these.
collapsible water bottle unless you want to buy water bottles
vitamins, necessary medications
painkillers tylenol, aspirin, or other
malaria tablets depending on where you're going
travel pillow especially if you're on a plane >6 hours
earplugs/sleep mask
contact lens case & solution
dark glasses & case


Just because your phone might not have connectivity, doesn't mean it can't be incredibly useful.

Item Notes & Recommendations
headphones don't get bored
portable battery I recommend this one
universal charging cable I recommend this one
flashlight your phone probably has one built-in
offline maps here's how to take maps offline (Android, iOS)
offline translation here's how to take languages offline (Android, iOS)

Luggage & Security

Item Notes & Recommendations
shoulder bag or backpack use a versatile travel pack as your TSA-allowed 2nd carry-on
daypack/waist-pack bring a collapsible daypack for smaller adventures
luggage lock(s) (cable?) in case you need to lock up your gear
emergency whistle
door lock you can buy an extra door lock for hotel rooms
insect repellent/netting mosquitoes are serious business in some places

Paperwork & Cash

Item Notes & Recommendations
badges, tickets work badge, tickets to the show
pen & small notebook
maps, guidebooks
phrase books
restaurant lists, membership cards
book to read
passport, visas always bring a printed copy just in case
copies of important documents this includes travel itinerary (template)
travel tickets
foreign currency
2 personal checks


Item Notes & Recommendations
camera & accessories lenses, tripod, extra cards & batteries, charger, download adapter
laptop computer power cord/adapters, extra cables, flash drives, etc
jump rope this gives you the cardio, see body-weight fitness for the strength
snacks for the plane
gifts for your friends/family