20 Top International Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
The ideal packing list for international travel will obviously vary depending on where you’re going, what season you’re traveling in, what you plan to do during your trip, how you prefer to get around, and how long you’ll be gone.
That being said, there are a few items I never leave the house without, so I put together this international travel packing list. Below the list, you’ll find a list of things NOT to bring, as well as advice on what to wear while traveling and some frequently asked questions about international travel. Of course, any trip will be enhanced by a healthy dose of patience, humility, and adventure, so include them on your packing list!
International Packing List – 20 Must-Have Items
1.Cubes for packing
Packing cubes are high on my list of what to pack when traveling because they help me stay organized while traveling. Instead of constantly digging to the bottom of your bag for that lost sock or the last clean shirt you have, just pull out the appropriate cube.
2.Water Bottle Made of Stainless Steel
Most people spend a lot of time outside while traveling, whether it’s at a beach, on a hike, or simply walking around town. Staying hydrated can be difficult for travelers, especially in hotter climates. While bottled water is almost everywhere, it is expensive and generates a lot of plastic waste. Bring a water bottle to refill with tap water instead, or use your LifeStraw (see #1 in the following section) in places where the tap water isn’t potable. Because airplanes are also extremely dehydrating, pack the bottle in your carry-on and fill it up after you pass through security.
You’ll need a power adapter almost everywhere in the world, especially if you’re coming from North America. You should still check the specific types of outlets used in the countries you’ll be visiting, but this one covers the majority of them.
A sarong may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering what to pack for a trip, but they are an excellent travel item. Sarongs are lightweight, dry quickly, and can be used for a variety of purposes, including scarf, sheet, towel, curtain, picnic blanket, swimsuit cover-up, and so on.
Towels are not always provided by hostels and guesthouses in some parts of the world, so bring your own. Regular bath towels, on the other hand, are extremely bulky and take an eternity to dry, so leave them at home and bring a quick-drying towel instead.
Flip-flops are essential packing items for almost any trip, whether you’re staying at a five-star resort with a pool or a run-down hostel with shared bathrooms. Even if you don’t wear them frequently, they won’t take up much room in your bag.
You’ll obviously need your passport wherever you go, and it’s one thing you don’t want to lose. A passport holder like this one will keep it safe while also keeping other valuables organized. They’re less likely to be stolen than traditional wallets, and you can carry cash, credit cards, and even a cell phone in this one.
Most travel plans include a lot of walking, and wearing that cute-but-not-practical pair of shoes will inevitably make you unhappy by the end of the day. Bring a pair of decent-looking but comfortable walking shoes, and your feet will thank you.
9.Windproof Travel Umbrella
Without a travel umbrella, no international packing list is complete. You want to be prepared for any weather, and if it rains, you want to be able to get out and explore while staying dry. A good travel umbrella is small, sturdy, and waterproof. This one ticks all the boxes and includes a lifetime replacement guarantee.
Because you’ll have to measure your liquid products and pack them in a small bag on any flight, bringing solid shampoo instead of regular shampoo is more convenient. Even if you’re checking your luggage, fewer liquids means less chance of something leaking and causing a mess in your bag.
A cooling towel can be a lifesaver on trips where you’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun and heat. They’re small and easy to pack, and they can instantly cool you down. All you have to do is wet the towel and wring it out to make it 20-30 degrees cooler than the outside air temperature.
Whatever you’re doing or where you’re going in the world, you’ll almost certainly want to document it. Even if you’re not a photographer, you might appreciate having something other than iPhone photos, and the Canon Powershot is a quality camera that’s small and inexpensive.
Most people read more on vacation than they do at home, whether it’s on long train rides or on lazy days at the beach, making e-readers indispensable. A Kindle is smaller and lighter than a single physical book, and it can hold an infinite amount of reading material. You could technically read books on a laptop or smartphone if you bring one, but a Kindle is more convenient and protects your eyes from the blue light emitted by computer screens.
14.VPN (Virtual Private Network)
While using public wifi networks, a virtual private network (VPN) protects all of your digital information. It protects your personal information from hackers, so you don’t have to worry about credit cards, passwords, or other sensitive information being stolen. When traveling internationally, you’re bound to connect to a hotel or restaurant’s wifi, so protect your digital information with a VPN like NordVPN.
You’ll probably want to be able to share photos with your traveling companions, or even trade movies and music for long flights or bus rides at some point. A flash drive makes document transfer much easier and faster, especially in locations without consistent Wi-Fi. And nowadays, even the cheapest ones have enough space for a large number of large files.
Sunscreen is notoriously difficult to come by in some parts of the world, and when it is available, it is extremely expensive. However, it’s not something you want to skimp on, so bring some with you no matter where you’re going.
17.Insurance for International Travel
While insurance isn’t particularly exciting, it should be regarded as a travel requirement. Though it’s unlikely, you don’t want to be stuck paying to replace stolen items or struggling to get home in an emergency. Furthermore, knowing that you’re covered in those scenarios should give you some peace of mind while traveling.
18.First Aid Kit
When traveling, bringing a first-aid kit is a good way to be prepared for minor problems. It’s especially important to be able to care for cuts, scrapes, and blisters if you plan on hiking or spending time in the water. This kit is small and lightweight, but it contains gauze pads, adhesive tape, various bandages, and other essentials.
If you become ill while traveling, you will lose a lot of fluids and may become dehydrated, so mix these tablets with (clean!) water to replenish your electrolytes. Even if you’re not sick, staying hydrated in tropical environments can be difficult, so using them on a regular basis isn’t a bad idea. Electrolyte tablets are widely available, but unless you like the taste of chalk, this one tastes much better than most.
You might be surprised to see charcoal on a vacation packing list, but it’s useful to have on hand in case you get sick. When you take the tablets when you begin to feel ill, the toxins in your system are absorbed and the dreaded diarrhea is prevented.
Other International Travel Packing Essentials
Lock for Luggage
Repellent for insects
Aloe Vera Gel
Sanitizer for the hands
Solution for contact
Glove made of loofah
Wipes for cleansing the face
Journal of Travel
Cloth bag that can be reused
Backpack that can be packed
Bag for the shoulder
Bag for toiletries
Pillow for traveling
Cover-up for your swimsuit
scarf that is light in weight
Wipes for stain removal
Lock of a small size
Photographs for passports
Cards for ATMs
What Should I Wear When Traveling Abroad?
The best things to wear while traveling will obviously differ depending on where you’re going and when you’re going. However, there are a few general guidelines to follow for any trip. Whatever your destination, a good pair of walking shoes will make your trip much more comfortable. Bringing clothes that can be easily layered is another good idea, as are fabrics that dry quickly.
You’ll be more comfortable in lightweight fabrics in any tropical climate, but you may need a light sweater or jacket for evenings and chilly A/C. Avoid wearing white in dusty or muddy environments because it is nearly impossible to keep clean.
It’s important to dress modestly when visiting conservative countries, especially in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Covering the shoulders, cleavage, thighs, and knees is considered appropriate for women. Women should avoid tight-fitting fabrics and tops that fall below the hips in the most conservative areas. Foreign women are only expected to wear a headscarf in a few countries, though it may make you feel more at ease.
What NOT to Pack for an International Trip
1.Do Not Bring Expensive Electronics:
Aside from items you know you’ll use, such as a camera or Kindle, it’s a good idea to leave expensive electronics at home. On the road, things can get lost or stolen, and there’s no reason to take the chance.
2.Do Not Bring A Large Amount Of Cash:
There are ATMs almost everywhere, so you won’t need to bring a lot of cash. You don’t want to have to carry it around all the time, and using an ATM will likely get you a better exchange rate.
3.Do Not Bring Heavy Books:
Books are one of the heaviest items you can pack, and even just one or two will take up a lot of room in your bag. Rather than bringing physical books, get a Kindle – your back will thank you.
4.Avoid Bringing Too Many Clothes:
Most people overestimate the amount of clothing they need for a trip (resulting in heavy bags to lug around). Limit yourself to a few outfits and remember that you can always do laundry if necessary.
5.Do Not Bring A Sleeping Bag:
Sleeping bags are large and heavy, and they are rarely necessary. A travel sheet is probably a better option unless you’re planning on doing extensive camping and know you’ll need your own gear.
6.Do Not Bring A Mosquito Net:
Some travel packing lists for developing countries include mosquito nets, but they are not necessary. Most accommodations provide nets if they are required, and it is generally impractical to hang your own.
7.Do Not Bring Pricey Jewelry:
Wearing flashy jewelry, especially if you stand out as a foreigner, can make you a target for thieves. If you have expensive or sentimental jewelry, it’s not worth the risk of it being stolen or lost on the road.
8.Do Not Bring A Bath Towel:
Regular towels are bulky and slow to dry, making them unsuitable for travel. Leave them at home and instead bring a quick-dry towel on your trip.
International Travel Frequently Asked Questions
1.Can women travel alone safely?
Yes! The notion that “women shouldn’t travel alone” is a long-held myth. Many women travel solo all over the world without incident, and many even say it’s the best thing they’ve ever done. Of course, both men and women face risks on the road (and at home), so you should always use common sense and be aware of your surroundings. While planning your trip, look into travel warnings and take the advice of travelers who have recently visited your destination.
2.How can I communicate with friends and family back home while I’m away?
Wi-Fi is increasingly available in hotels and cafes in most places, providing travelers with regular access to email, social media, and Skype. Upon arrival, travelers can often purchase a local SIM card and pre-paid phone credit, allowing them to make phone calls, text, and use smartphone apps. Friends and family should use Skype or purchase an international calling card for your destination if they want to call your local phone number.
3.Can I travel abroad if all I know is English?
Absolutely. Many people who travel abroad only speak English; in fact, with the exception of countries where romance languages are used, very few people speak the local language in the places they visit. Most countries have at least some people working in tourism and hospitality who speak English, and gesturing will get you further than you might think. Having said that, learning at least a few basic phrases in the language will earn you favor with most locals.
4.How can I stay healthy while traveling?
Make sure you get any necessary vaccines for the countries you’ll be visiting, as well as malaria prophylaxis if necessary. If you’re visiting areas where mosquito-borne illnesses are common, use insect repellent and sleep under a mosquito net whenever possible. Check to see if the tap water in your destination is safe to drink; if not, drink only treated water and avoid other drinks made with tap water (or ice made from tap water), as well as raw fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled.
5.Where are the cheapest places to visit?
The cost of different countries varies depending on your travel style and the activities you intend to do while there. However, developing countries are generally cheaper than developed countries, with South and Southeast Asia being the cheapest regions, followed by Central America and Eastern Europe.
6.How can I save money on my next trip?
In addition to visiting budget-friendly destinations, living at the typical local standard – using public transportation instead of taxis or car rentals, staying in guesthouses instead of resorts or international hotels, and eating at local restaurants instead of touristy ones – is a good way to save money on the road. You can also look into CouchSurfing, Airbnb, homestays, hostels, and camping to save money on accommodations. To further reduce food costs, one option is to buy groceries for some of your meals rather than eating out three times a day. If you plan to travel extensively, it’s also a good idea to open an account with a bank that doesn’t charge ATM or currency conversion fees, such as Charles Schwab or Capital One.
7.How should I inform my parents, who are concerned about my trip?
What aspiring traveler hasn’t encountered a worried parent convinced that their child will be afflicted by disease, terrorism, or murder if they cross the border? True, some parents will hold on to this belief regardless, but others may be comforted by some facts and precautions. For example, over 70 million Americans travel abroad each year, accounting for roughly one-quarter of the country’s population. When you announce your travel plans, it’s also a good time to remind your parents that most places are not as they appear in the media. It may be beneficial to direct them to first-hand accounts of travel in the countries you intend to visit, especially if they do not have a good reputation at home. Taking precautions such as purchasing travel insurance, sharing a copy of your itinerary, and demonstrating that you’ve done some research on your destination may also assuage their fears.
8.How can I make new friends on the road?
Fortunately, meeting people while traveling isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. Staying in a hostel, which is naturally social, is one of the simplest ways to meet new people. Even if a bunk in a shared dorm doesn’t appeal to you, most hostels have private rooms that still allow you to use the common areas where people congregate. Participating in activities such as hikes, walking tours, day trips, classes, or pub crawls is another simple way to meet other travelers. There are also an increasing number of apps available to connect travelers with one another and with locals, such as MeetUp, Couchsurfing, WithLocals, EatWith, TravBuddy, and Bumble BFF. Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Joining travel-related Facebook groups, asking your own network if they have friends in the places you’re visiting, and searching hashtags on Twitter and Instagram can all lead to new travel connections.
9.Will my cell phone work in another country?
Depending on your company and plan, as well as where you live, your home cell phone may work in other countries, but you will most likely be charged exorbitant fees for calls, texts, and data use. It is preferable to insert a local SIM card into your phone when you arrive, or to keep your smartphone in airplane mode and only use Wi-Fi.
10.How can I find low-cost flights?
The Before searching for tickets, one of the most common pieces of advice is to set your browser to private or incognito mode. If you repeatedly search the same route in your browser’s regular mode, the price will most likely rise. It’s also a good idea to compare prices across multiple search engines; Skyscanner, Google Flights, Kayak, Momondo, and CheapOair are all good places to start. If your travel dates aren’t set in stone, compare prices for a week’s worth of flights using the “flexible dates” feature. Many search engines, however, do not include budget carriers, so if they do not appear, check their websites separately. In the United States, consider JetBlue, Frontier, and Spirit; in Europe, consider Ryanair, EasyJet, and Wizz Air; and in Asia, consider Air Asia, Tiger Air, and Spice Jet. Check before booking long-distance flights to see if it’s cheaper to buy separate legs of the trip separately (but keep in mind that you’re unlikely to receive assistance from the airline in the event of a missed connection). Similarly, always check to see if purchasing two one-way tickets is less expensive than purchasing a round trip ticket. Finally, if you’re not in a hurry to book, set up a fare alert on Skyscanner or Airfare Watchdog to keep track of the prices of flights you’re interested in.
Topic: 20 Top International Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring