My Go-To List of What To Pack For Vacation

It feels like we just got back from our European cruise and extended vacation to Barcelona and Majorca but in all reality we’ve been home a little less than two months and yet we’re already packing again. :)

What To Pack for VacationWhile we were on our transatlantic cruise we sat with and talked to three other couples during dinner each night. One of the topics of discussion Jeff & I brought up was how we regularly travel with one backpack each.

Everyone was curious how I managed to pack a months worth of clothes into a single backpack, especially since I mentioned I had enough clothes for dinner, including formal nights, and I was not planning on wearing the same outfit more than once. ;)

When we came home from Spain I made sure to take photos of all the items I carried with me through our entire trip. Below is a visual break down, followed by a list of all the necessities, that I refer back to when I pack for any trip.

What To Pack for Vacation Travel Gear

The photo above shows everything I brought with while we were away. I unloaded everything straight from the bag.


Then I opened the packing cubes and vacuum sealed bags. It may be hard to believe but everything shown above fit nicely into my Osprey Porter 46, as seen in the first image above.

What I Packed for This Trip and Why

Our cruise started in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean so I packed all the warm weather clothing like a bathing suit, shorts, tops, sandals and a day pack for excursions.

The further northeast we cruised, the colder the weather got. By the time we arrived in Spain we were met with 60-70 degree days & nights and so I had to be prepared for colder weather as well. In preparation for those locations I packed a pair of yoga pants, a pair of jeans, a pair of capri jeans, some t-shirts and a sweatshirt.

For the formal nights on the boat I brought at least 5 dresses, a skirt & top to match along with one pair of heals that worked well with all my formal wear. (If you hadn’t noticed, black, purple & pink are some of my favorite colors. :))

In addition to all the formal wear, I also packed one outfit to workout in along with my Vibram FiveFingers Flow.

I tend to roll most everything I pack. This trip was no different however I did use a combination of vacuum sealed pouches AND travel cubes to hold my clothes. The vacuum sealed pouches were a nice addition this time around to use for my dresses, seeing as I didn’t exactly want to roll them. Overall the combination of both pouches worked very nicely however I typically only rely on my travel cubes.

I don’t usually bring many accessories but on this trip I did. I brought a curling iron (that I only used once) and a straightener (that I used many times) along with jewelry, and all the typical toiletries.


The last few items I packed were my iPad to use for work, my iPhone & charger and our itinerary & travel documents – like my passport, money and of course sunglasses & headphones too.

Specifically for This Trip

For this trip there was a lot to consider. The change in weather conditions and being overseas and needing an outlet adapter were just a few.

The General Public Who Travel

I find it interesting to watch people roll through the airport with all their bags & luggage. It makes me wonder what people are bringing with them. And why they assume they need to bring so much stuff. If you simply pack the necessities, anything can be found in an emergency if you happen to forget something within a 30 minute drive from most destinations – even worldwide!

I guess that interest is part of the reason why I wanted to share what I typically carry.

A General List of Necessities to Pack When Traveling

If you’re looking for a checklist or guide of what to pack for vacation I hope this visual guide helps. There’s really not many items that need to be considered. Even shampoo & conditioner are items you can leave at home, as most hotels or Airbnb rentals tend to have those items available for you to use once you arrive.

The thing that tends to hold me up when I pack is wanting to have options when I wake up in the morning. :) I could pack one pair of shorts and be fine but I like to have multiple shirts to chose from. That’s typically the only dilemma I have to deal with when packing.

My Go-To Checklist of What To Pack for Vacation

On a typical trip, I tend to use the following list and add any additional necessities based on destination or other factors.

Equipment
Toiletries
  • toothbrush
  • floss
  • loofah & liquid soap
  • razor
  • contact solution/contact case
  • glasses
  • hair brush
  • deodorant
  • hair accessories, optional
  • jewelry, optional
  • make-up, optional
  • tooth paste, optional
  • shampoo/conditioner, optional
Electronics
  • headphones
  • iPhone & charger
  • laptop or iPad & charger
  • sunglasses
  • Klean Kanteen water bottle, optional
  • camera, lenses & other camera accessories, optional
Other
  • license/ID
  • itinerary with confirmation numbers, (most times digital rather than printed)
  • travel credit card
  • day pack, optional
  • insurance card, optional
  • passport, optional
Clothes
  • tops
  • shorts/pants
  • yoga pants or comfortable bottoms
  • flip flops or pair of multi-use shoes
  • pajamas (or use already packed t-shirt & comfortable bottom combo)
  • underwear & bra
  • clothes for training (1 shirt, 1 pair of shorts, sports bra & Vibram FiveFinger shoes), optional
  • 1 dress or a skirt & top combo, optional
  • 1 pair jeans, optional
  • bathing suit, optional
  • jacket, optional

Obviously your list of necessities will vary, especially if you’re a guy, but this is my go-to checklist.

What items do you have on your must-travel-with list? Am I missing anything?