Your essentials checklist
Start by choosing a lightweight yet sturdy travel bag that’s also roomy enough to accommodate all that you need for however long you will be away from home. Also, if travelling by aeroplane, make sure you select hand luggage for all of the essentials you simply cannot do without once your checked bag is in cargo. Your hand luggage should also contain valuables with a high incidence of theft, such as jewellery, perfume, and hair irons.
You may also opt to carry a sling purse or messenger bag with you. Here, you can keep your wallet, smartphone, portable power bank, USB charger, headphones, pen and paper, travel documents, emergency contact list, and other personal identification.
Hand luggage must-haves
Items in your hand luggage should be belongings you cannot put in your handbag or messenger bag but you want to keep to hand at all times, for use in flight or should your checked luggage get lost.
Here are some suggestions:
- Dental hygiene set: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash
- Hand sanitiser
- Hair brush or comb, hair ties, other hair accessories
- Tissue, wet wipes
- Lip balm or lip gloss
- Eye drops, lotion, and other products to fight in-flight dehydration
- Perfume and scent products
- Personal hygiene products
- Extra contact lenses, cleaning solution, and contact case
- Sunglasses and eyewear, especially prescription
- Prescription medications
- Personal prescriptions for the above
- Multivitamins, sleeping aids, and other over-the-counter products
- Insect repellent
- Power board to charge multiple items simultaneously
- Tablet, notebook
- One or two full sets of clothes, including extra undergarments
- Swimwear and beach shoes (optional)
- Extra jacket and umbrella (optional)
- Hand towel
- Travel pillow
- Ear plugs
- Electrical converters and adaptersExternal hard drive and USB connectors
- Hair styling tools
- First aid kit
- Travel guide, maps
- Reading material
If you’ll be taking any liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes in your aeroplane hand luggage, make sure you adhere to acceptable quantities allowed for air travel. You also need to secure these items in airtight containers, and you will probably be required to place them in a transparent, resealable plastic bag. Note, too, that there are weight and size limitations for hand luggage on aeroplanes. Contact your airline to get the specific requirements for your flights.
Clothes packing list
How much you pack and what specific clothes you take with you depends on your destination, as well as the activities you’ll be participating in. For example, if you’re going for an island tour in the Bahamas, it makes sense to bring more than one set of swimwear. If you’re going to attend a business conference in Switzerland in winter, you will want warm business attire.
Look through your upcoming itinerary to plan out a wardrobe, including clothes for free time if you're travelling for work. Look for ways you can double up on some items to save space.
The packing list below includes all the basics wherever you may be headed:
- T-shirts, tank tops
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Lightweight jacket
- Lightweight clothing that’s suitable for layering
- Pants, shorts
- Dresses, skirts
- Pyjamas, sleep wear
- Scarves, bandanas, pashminas
- Hat, cap, or sun visor
- Walking shoes, trainers, sandals, and business shoes, if required
- Evening wear
- Portable sewing kit
Wherever you are going overseas, always be mindful of the cultural sensibilities of the citizens in your host destination and respect local culture. You may need to cover your bare arms or forgo boardies in more conservative environments.
While you can take every precaution to ensure your travel goes smoothly, being cash-strapped away from home would be a desperate scenario. So, in the unfortunate circumstance that you happen to lose your wallet, take the following precautionary measures:
- Keep some cash as well as a copy of your emergency contact list in a money belt, secret stash, or hidden pocket.
- Only bring the credit cards you need for your trip, and keep a list of their numbers outside your wallet in case they are stolen.
- Make sure you know the contact details and location of your embassy in the country you are visiting, as well as the airlines you are booked with.
- Always take a card from the hotel you are checked into so you can contact them if the need arises.
Travelling – whether for business or pleasure – is always an adventure. By referring to this packing guide, you’re guaranteed to have safe and smooth travels every time.