travel essential items

Ultimate 2024 Travel Packing Guide: Pack Smart & Travel Easy

Are you planning your upcoming trip and wondering about the necessary items to pack? Our team of experienced travel gear editors has put together the ultimate packing list, along with recommendations for top-quality products based on extensive testing. Through countless journeys, both big and small, our editors have carefully curated this list. We have embarked on unforgettable road trips, backpacked across Europe, and explored breathtaking landscapes on incredible vacations. Whether you're looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous trip with loved ones, our packing list has got you covered. Our goal is to assist you in packing efficiently every time, so you can fully enjoy your adventures without any worries.

This list is specifically designed for those planning travel vacations and getaways. For those interested in camping trips, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the top camping gear currently available on the market. This list features the most essential items and recommendations from our thorough testing. If you enjoy the excitement of multi-day journeys with minimal baggage, you may want to explore our selection of the finest backpacking backpacks for women, perfect for your adventures in the backcountry.

When embarking on a journey, the task of packing should not be the most memorable aspect of your trip.

travel packing

Credit: Marissa Grootes

Checklist for Packing

Have you ever reached your intended location, excited for a well-deserved getaway, only to realize you forgot a crucial item? We can relate (ahem, underwear?). We understand the inconvenience it can cause during your trip. To avoid this, we have compiled a thorough checklist to assist you in staying organized before embarking on your journey. You can find a packing checklist below or opt to download one of our PDF versions.

Whether you consider yourself a highly organized packer or more of a "throw it all in and go" type, this packing list is designed to assist you in remembering all the small items that enhance your travel experience, as well as the necessary essentials.

Packing List for Essential Clothing Items

Travel essentials include undergarments such as bras, socks, and sleepwear. Other necessary items include activewear, T-shirts and casual shirts, dress shirts, sweaters, and pants and jeans. Don't forget shorts, dresses, and a mid-weight jacket for cooler weather. Accessorize with a scarf or shawl, belts, hats, and jewelry. Don't forget to pack a bucket bag and sunglasses for your adventures. And for shoes, bring along everyday sneakers as well as walking or running shoes and dress shoes.

Being well-prepared for your trip can greatly reduce the anxiety of traveling, regardless of whether it's a short weekend getaway or a month-long expedition.

Essential Items to Pack for a Beach/Summer Trip

Items to pack for the beach:
- A beach bag
- Additional swimsuits
- A beach towel
- A lightweight poncho
- A dry bag for keeping tech dry
- A sun hat

Flip flops and sandals are two types of footwear that are commonly used for warm weather or casual outdoor activities.

beach essential items

Winter/Snow Accessories

For colder weather, it's important to have proper gear such as a winter coat or puffy jacket. A good option for snow boots is the Vans Standard Mid Snow MTE. Don't forget to also wear a winter hat, scarf, gloves, thermals and blankets, which are available in various brands.

List of Outdoor Add-Ons

Check out these recommended items for your next hiking trip:
- Hiking boots
- Sun hat
- Binoculars
- Headlamp
- A water purifying bottle
- Rain jacket and rain pants to keep you dry during unexpected rain showers.

A waterproof bag, also known as a dry bag, is a crucial piece of gear for any paddler. It is essential for keeping important items dry and protected while on the water. Here is a comprehensive guide to the top-rated dry bags by Outdoor Gear Lab.

List of Additional Features for Businesses/Events

Footwear for formal occasions, such as dress shoes, are a must-have. Along with that, a proper business attire, including suits and ties, is essential. To keep your clothes wrinkle-free while traveling, a travel steamer or iron would come in handy.

A laptop bag, tote, or backpack can be found at this website.

Checklist for Toiletries

  • Dental hygiene products: toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss
  • Cotton swabs
  • Deodorant
  • Hair care products: shampoo, conditioner, and soap
  • Shaving supplies
  • Hair grooming tools: hairbrush and comb
  • Hair styling tools
  • Facial care products: cleanser and lotion
  • Body lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Vision care products: glasses, contact lenses, and solution
  • Makeup and makeup remover
  • Pocket mirror
  • Feminine hygiene products: menstrual products
  • Medications prescribed by a doctor
  • Nutritional supplements: vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Bandages
  • Balm for preventing chafing

Additional Items to Consider Packing

A packable tote or daypack, combination lock, and phone stand/tripod are essential items for any camping or hiking trip. It is also important to bring along a laundry kit consisting of a laundry bag, detergent, and stain remover, as well as an umbrella and binoculars, both of which can be found on the Outdoor Gear Lab website. Don't forget to pack insect repellent for protection against bugs.

List of Travel Documents

Required documents for traveling:
- Scanned copy of passport and visa
- Proof of travel insurance
- Booking confirmations
- Detailed itinerary
- Proof of necessary vaccinations
- List of emergency contacts
- Bank information and contact details

List of Items Allowed in Carry-On Bag

Essential travel items include a wallet for bank cards, cash, and ID, as well as a passport with a visa and a boarding pass. A document holder worn under clothing is also recommended. Other necessary items include a cell phone with charger, earbuds or headphones with charger, laptop with charger, camera with charger and extra memory cards, a portable charger, and a power adapter. Bringing a book and a pen is also useful. For comfort during the journey, it is recommended to bring a travel pillow, earplugs, and an eye mask. A scarf or travel blanket can also be helpful. It is important to have essential medication, wet wipes or hand sanitizer, and lip balm on hand. Don't forget a change of clothes, snacks, and an empty water bottle for refilling.

Essential travel items

No matter where you go, having the appropriate equipment with you will greatly enhance your travel experience. Credit: Jason Wanlass

Top Travel Equipment

Have you checked out this list of items to pack and noticed that you are lacking some essential things? Or perhaps you feel that it is time to replace the outdated suitcase that was passed down to you from an unknown source. Our experienced travelers have spent countless hours on various modes of transportation and have curated our best recommendations for travel, ranging from suitcases to sunhats.

Luggage for Travelling

The bag is the most essential item for carrying belongings while traveling. We have extensively tested and reviewed various types of bags, ranging from the finest rolling luggage to highly-rated duffel bags and our preferred messenger bags, ideal for city bike rides. We have also evaluated the best sling bags for camping and hiking. Here are some of our top picks for all kinds of travel adventures.

When selecting luggage, it is important to consider your travel itinerary. If your trip involves a significant amount of walking or navigating stairs, it may be beneficial to select a lightweight and compact option.

Oversized Suitcases

Our collection of top-rated luggage options offers a generous capacity ranging from 95L to 125L. These types of suitcases are ideal for extended trips, but may be too large for shorter weekend getaways. The specific features to look for in a suitcase may vary depending on your travel preferences. For those who prefer a well-organized suitcase, a model with a customizable compartment system may be the best choice. On the other hand, if security is your main concern, consider exploring our selection of hard-shell suitcases equipped with TSA-approved locks.

Top Pick for Suitcase: The 29" Travelpro Platinum Elite is a top-of-the-line travel suitcase.

Excellent Deal for a Protective Shell: The 28" Samsonite Omni PC Hardside suitcase can be expanded.

Top Choice for a Softshell: The SwissGear Sion roller bag, which expands up to 29 inches, features a softside design.

Having a carry-on sized bag allows for a quicker and more efficient airport experience, saving you the hassle of waiting at baggage claim and getting you directly to your destination. Credit for this tip goes to Abriah Wofford.

Carry-On Baggage

For those who find waiting at the baggage carousel inconvenient, a top-rated carry on luggage from Outdoor Gear Lab can enhance your travels. Carry on luggage is typically smaller than large suitcases and designed to meet airline size regulations, allowing you to keep your bag close at all times. If you prefer to travel with less baggage but have it with you during flights, take a look at our selection of the finest carry on luggage options available.

Top Pick for Carry On Luggage: The expandable spinner from Travelpro, the Platinum Elite, measures 21 inches in size.

The Softshell Carry On offers the best value: The SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable 21-Inch is now available.

When searching for a tough and adaptable bag that can accompany you on unconventional journeys, duffel bags are an excellent choice.

Travel Bags

At times, a traditional suitcase may not be sufficient, especially if you prefer a more rough or unpredictable way of traveling. Our team of travel gear specialists extensively tested our selection of the best duffel bags on different continents, on bush planes, and during numerous camping trips in order to determine the most durable, easy to carry, and weather-resistant options.

Top Pick for Duffel Bag: Duffel Bag from Patagonia's Black Hole Collection

For weekend getaways or as an additional luggage, we prefer using travel backpacks.

travel backpacks

Photo credit: Holly Mandarich.

Backpacks for Travel

Travel backpacks offer an alternative to conventional suitcases by combining the functionality of a laptop backpack with ample storage capacity similar to that of carry-on luggage. Our evaluations to discover the top-rated travel backpacks took into account the versatility, travel-related features, and overall comfort of each pack. For those who prefer to travel light and pack minimally, a travel backpack is the ideal choice.