One of the most stressful moments in every trip is the night before departure. Each vacation and every person is different, so this list is simply meant as a starting point for you to create your own list. A giant caveat: I am creating this list from a male perspective and it is therefore missing many essential items for women.
What Should I Bring?
- The obvious: Clothes, toiletries, phone, wallet
- Phone charger & any other chargers you’ll need
- Laundry bag (or any plastic bag you can use for this purpose)
- Umbrella (if chance of rain)
- Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
- A notebook or journal with pens
But Wait…There’s More
Going on a Road Trip?
- Water & snacks
Traveling Via Plane?
- Entertainment for the plane (laptop & DVDs, books, iPad, etc.)
- A small head pillow
- A credit card with no international fees and/or cash to exchange into the local currency. Research ahead of time but usually it’s cheapest to exchange in your destination outside of the airport.
- Your hotel & flight confirmation as well as confirmation for any other tours, etc. you have booked
- Print out maps of the areas in which you’ll be and I also suggest downloading a maps app that you can use without data. Be sure to do this ahead of time as some take quite a while to download.
- Print out phonetic instructions on how to say “Hello,” “Thank You,” and other basic phrases if you don’t speak the local language – study on the plane 🙂
I always aim to pack as light as possible. Besides this garnering the obvious advantage of having less to lug around, budget airlines like Frontier & Spirit and even now United & American offer cheaper rates if you can fit everything into a bag under your seat. I have a medium-sized backpack (larger than a school bag but way smaller than a backpacker’s pack) that I use on most of my travels.
Here’s a few tips to lessen your load:
- Bring only the exact number of clothes you need – count out the number of nights you’ll be staying and bring that number of underwear, socks, shirts, etc. Always double check that you have the correct number so you don’t end up short!
- Roll your clothes – it saves a ton of space
- Wear your heaviest jacket on the flight – planes are usually chilly anyway and if it gets too hot, you can throw it in the overhead bin during the flight.
- After you pack, go through your bag and remove a couple things you think you could live without