What To Pack for Vacation
Marla Sarris

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 I’m already packing again. :)

While we were on our transatlantic cruise we sat and talked with three other couples during dinner each night about all sorts of things. One of the topics of discussion Jeff & I talked about was how we regularly travel with one backpack each. Everyone was curious about 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, where I was not planning on wearing the same outfit more than once. ;)

When we came home from Spain I made sure to take pictures of all of what I carried with me through the entire trip so I could recap and see for myself everything I wound up carrying while we were away. Since we’re leaving again today I thought now would be a good time for that recap of what I brought with me on our last vacation. I decided to write down my go-to list of items I typically pack for vacation as well.

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 Feature Image above.

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The cruise started in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean so I packed a bathing suit, shorts, tops, sandals and a day pack for excursions to be prepared for the hot weather locations. However, the further northeast we traveled the colder it got. By the time we arrived in Spain we were met with 60-70 degree days & nights and I packed a pair of yoga pants, a pair of jeans, a pair of capri jeans, some t-shirts and a sweatshirt to be prepared.


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 for all the formal wear. (If you hadn’t noticed, black, purple & pink are some of my favorite colors.) In addition to all of that, I also packed one outfit to workout in along with my Vibram FiveFingers Flo.

I tend to roll most everything I pack, but this time around I used a combination of vacuum sealed pouches and travel cubes to hold my clothes. The vacuum sealed pouches were nice to use this time around for the dresses, seeing as I didn’t exactly want to roll them. Overall the combination of both pouches worked very nicely.


I don’t usually bring many accessories but 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 regular toiletries.


The last few items I packed were my iPad to use for work, my iphone & charger and our itinerary & travel documents like our passport, money and of course sun glasses & head phones. ;)

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.

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. I guess that’s part of the reason I wanted to share what I carry.

If you’re looking for a checklist or guide of what to pack for vacation I hope this 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, so that’s what I’m working on.

On a typical trip I tend to use the following list and add any additional necessities to it.

My Go-To Checklist of What To Pack for Vacation

Toiletries
  • toothbrush
  • tooth paste
  • floss
  • loofah & liquid soap
  • razor
  • contact solution/contact case
  • spare pair of contacts
  • glasses
  • hair brush
  • deodorant
  • hair accessories, optional
  • jewelry, optional
  • make-up, optional
  • travel size body spray, optional
  • shampoo/conditioner, optional
Electronics
  • head phones
  • sunglasses
  • laptop or iPad & charger
  • iPhone & charger
  • Klean Kanteen water bottle, optional
  • camera & camera accessories, optional
  • mini flashlight, optional
Other
  • license/ID
  • itinerary with confirmation numbers
  • 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
  • work out clothes (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

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, that I may have not included in mine?

Comments

  1. What are “travel cubes”? Is that something specific, or just any container to hold misc. items together? Great timing for this post–I’m packing this weekend!!! :)

    • We got travel/packing cubes from REI. They’re lightweight polyester with full zip top and mesh on top so you can see what you have in there and the clothes can breathe. I have two black Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes, one for tops & one for bottoms. I also have a red Eagle Creek Pack-It Half Cube I use for all my accessories and non-liquid toiletries and I use a mini clutch cosmetic bag from Target for all the liquids.

  2. Love this – I’m so impressed! I have this dream of traveling to Europe with my kids and I have been mentally making plans for how to pack as light as possible. How much did your backpack weigh?

    • That’s so fun, and it can totally be done! :)

      I’m not exactly sure how much it weighed at the time but I can tell you Ryan Air has a 10kg limit for carry on luggage and I’m pretty sure I was just about there, that’s around 22lbs.

      • Good to know. I was trying to decide if, on this hypothetical trip, it would be better to have a big backpack or to have a combo of small wheeled suitcases, since I will have a small and occasionally pitiful 4-year-old in tow who might need to be carried. Definitely leaning towards backpack at the moment and the vacuum-seal bags are such a help when traveling, particularly for keeping dirty/wet clothes separate.

  3. Abigail says:

    Good job Marla!

  4. I can never find a moment to travel, between my job at Dish and school. When I do find the time for a vacation, my bag looks a lot like yours; I call it organized chaos! One thing you missed that is a travel essential of mine is wrinkle releasing spray, since my clothes always get jumbled in my suitcase. Otherwise, you covered everything, including the coveted iPad. Mine is a must in order to keep me busy at the airport or in my hotel room. I have the free Dish Remote Access app that allows me to connect with my usual channel line up from home through my sling adapter, so I can relax to my favorite shows when I’m done being a tourist. I always have troubles remembering my charger though, so I’ll have to print this out next time I take a trip to ensure I don’t forget a thing! Thanks for the list and happy travels!

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