What to Pack and Where to Put It.

A few years ago, I made a life changing decision.

In truth, it was more of a sock changing decision. Rather than run around like a crazy person the day before I leave on a trip, I decided to just leave my bag “mostly” packed. Many travelers find the decision process of what to take with them the most difficult part of the trip. Take that out of the equation and you’ll find a new freedom.

According to some reports, Albert Einstein would wear the same shirt/pants combination every day to conserve his mental capacity for more complex problems. I’m no Einstein… but I wear the same branded t-shirt every day on my travels. My videos look consistent and my QR code and logo brings attention to my website and social media. I mention this because not thinking about what shirts to pack, saves me time and allows me more time to contemplate my theories of relativity (okay, you caught me). If you can’t figure out what to wear, you can wear one my T-shirts too!

I’ve made a complete list with Amazon affiliate links. Click on the word and it will take you to the product. You can load up your bag with my list and then forget about it until it’s time to catch your flight.

Don’t pack like this.

Clothing: I pack light, I carry two pairs of shorts,1 swimsuit,  3 pairs of pants and 7 shirts. If I wear each shirt twice, I’m good for a 2 week trip without having to do laundry. One pair of good walking shoes and flip flops- underwear and socks. In winter, I wear my jacket rather than packing it. 

Power plug adapter -In days of yore, travel adapters had a bag full of attachments and took entirely too much space. They didn’t come with USB ports either. This handy gadget has has enough places to charge your batteries, laptop, camera, drone and other small electronics. There’s 3 USB ports and a type C. The plug input is universal as well.

Power bank – since your phone is your most important travel accessory, you don’t want to run out of battery when you’re trying to take a photo or find your hotel room. This power bank is one of the highest rated on Amazon and includes a solar panel for those times when you aren’t anywhere near electricity. There’s also a super bright flashlight and a compass you’ll probably never use. This unit is pretty indestructible as well. You can charge your phone several times off this power bank.

Flip flops– Flip flops are a personal item, but it’s hard to beat the Reef Fanning. Not only are they super comfortable, but they have a bottle opener on the bottom- perhaps inspired by the song Margaritaville. “I blew out my flip flops, stepped on a pop top”. If you want to replace or upgrade your current pair, you’ll LOVE these. 

Extra phone  – I keep an old iPhone 7 with me for a few reasons. If my primary phone gets lost, I have another “affordable” device to help locate it. If it turns up missing forever, I still can communicate, take photos and keep track of all my travel plans. If you’ve ever lost a phone while traveling, you know how devastating that can be. I have two other uses for the spare phone. If I’m in a country where my phone doesn’t work or costs a fortune, I slip a local SIM card in the spare and use it as a hotspot for my primary phone and travel companion’s as well as making local calls. 

Selfie stick – I’ve gone through a lot of selfie sticks in my lifetime from sitting on them or accidentally leaving them behind because they wouldn’t fit in my pocket comfortably. I have also have begrudgingly carried a tripod with me on solo trips. Then I found this little gem. It is a tripod and selfie stick in one and it folds up into a little cylinder that fits right in my pocket. It telescopes, has Bluetooth controls and I even use it as a stand to watch movies on my phone. 

Baggage– – Airline baggage rules have tightened to the point that checking on luggage is going to cost you an average of $40 per flight. Carry-ons that used to be free, often have a fee attached as well. This bag, if carried like a backpack, can usually pass as a personal item (which is free). Once you’re past the gatekeepers, it rolls effortlessly with its lightweight wheels and telescoping handle. There’s lots of choices for similar bags, but this is a good solid choice and it will pay for itself after the first flight.

Tile this gadget has helped me find my phone and keys on multiple occasions, but you could put one in your luggage, wallet or anything else that you can’t live without. It keeps track of where you’ve been and allows you to find whatever it’s attached to using your phone if you’re in range of the lost object. These have come a long way in the last few years and a great insurance policy. 

Passport wallet – I love my passport wallet because I only need to keep track of one thing rather than 2. I also wear it in my front pocket so there’s much less of a risk of being a pickpocketing victim or having it fall out on the floor. (Travel tip: staple your vaccine card into the back of your passport.) My passport is always with me, so I’m ready to fly anytime.

Moneybelt–    I never liked those Fanny pack style money belts that were the rage in the 80s. Every robber could see you were wearing one and they are uncomfortable as hell. This modern style is great because no one can see it, it’s adjustable and you can wear it as a regular belt even through airport security. You can fold up about $2000 in hundreds to use as emergency money if things go bad. 

Toiletries– I usually keep a stash of a couple shampoo bottles from a previous hotel visit. Most hotels provide them, but if they don’t, I’m covered for the next two showers at least- I then replace them at the next hotel so I never buy shampoo on my trips. If the hotel has a big bottle attached to the wall, I can refill them as well. Toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, deodorant, insect repellent, medication, etc. If you’re traveling internationally, many countries allow you to buy prescriptions over the counter at cheaper prices than the US

Electronics– I carry a Crown Royal bag of USB and phone cords, remote microphone, and headphones. 

Tissue– bring a roll of toilet paper or a small packet of wet wipes. These items will come in handier than you think.

2 Pens/Bag– there’s nothing worse than trying to find a pen when you have to fill out immigration forms- If you have one of those waiter books or a pencil bag, you’ll have something to write on when you’re standing in a line. Also, they come in handy for keeping currency (of countries you’re not currently in and plan on returning) as well as receipts.

Headphones – I keep a set of airline headphones in my electronics bag- you can get a new set on the plane, but they often aren’t distributed until after takeoff. You can start your movie as soon as you board the plane. 

Booze– save those little bottles they give you on your flights and refill them, put them in a baggie and leave them in your luggage for your next trip. They’re under the liquid allowance, even if you bring a dozen with you.