Preparation for a trip: Things to bring

beachMaster class on packing for a vacation – sharing years of accumulated wisdom and personal life hacks! We determine what to take with you when you go on a vacation to travel light, but have everything you need at your fingertips. We compile a list of the necessary things and think through options for difficult situations (such as loss of documents). In addition, find out what to take on a trip with a child.

As we travel often, we already got the hand of packing backpacks in a way that we do not regret the extra kilograms on the back. In this article, we present the minimum of things that we take with us on vacation – no matter how long or short the journey is planned to be. Also we tell you about some life hacks and give advice on how to pack your belongings and not forget anything before the trip.



No matter how experienced a traveler you are, do not leave all the work for the last day – start to get ready to go on vacation in advance. Sometimes it is better to do it very much in advance, if the trip is not planned for the week, but for a much longer period of time. The choice of insurance, the development of the route, visa applications, reservation of accommodation, research of information about the country (prices, food, transportation, etc.),currency exchange, and issues with bank cards – all it takes plenty of time.

We recommend making a list of things you need to bring in advance: take a sheet of paper, divide it into categories and write down everything that comes to mind. Record things that come to mind during one or two days – you definitely won’t forget anything. Tested! You can use special applications for smartphones, but we prefer a conventional notebook. Once compiled list can then be used repeatedly. Take it as a template, and change only small details.

bring on vacation


Cards, Money and Documents

First and foremost, you need to take documents and money. This is the most important in the journey – keep them close to your heart. It is better to have a small bag or backpack that you can always carry around and take in your hand luggage on flights.

So, what to take with you on vacation:

    1. Passports and their copies. In general, keep copies of all documents on the phone, flash drive, cloud storage / virtual disk or e-mail – and it is better to play it safe and choose several options. These copies may be required if the originals are lost.
    1. Printed and electronic versions of the reservation of hotels / apartments.
    1. Printed and electronic versions of tickets.
    1. Printed and electronic versions of the insurance. Do not forget the certificate of vaccination, if required (for example, in a number of African countries you will not be allowed to enter without the original certificate of vaccination against yellow fever).
    1. Credit cards (better to have several cards and accounts in different banks). Lifehack: keep money in the accounts and not on the cards, and transfer the money through online banking right before the withdrawal (preferably via VPN, we will talk about this later). In this case, if the card gets stolen, it will be empty since all the money is in the bank account.
    1. A little bit of cash. Cash should always be close at hand – and in the currency of the country where you are. For example, during our trip to Morocco we twice forgot to exchange money in advance, because of this we has to exchange currency in creative ways – once late at night in Casablanca from street money changers with the mediation of the police, the second time – also at night, only this time in the Sahara, near the Algerian border with the help of the inhabitants of the village where we were to spend the night.
    1. A small notebook with your notes, pen and pencil. It can be used for communication and trade.
    1. A phrasebook won’t hurt.
    1. Download apps with offline maps to your mobile phone or tablet, for example, OSMAnd or Maps.Me.
  1. An international driving license, documents on the car, “green card”, registration certificate and so on when traveling with your own car.

first aid kit


First Aid Kit – perhaps one of the most important things on vacation. Forgetting the first aid kit at home can be extremely expensive because you will have to buy medicine abroad (and some medications you simply won’t be able to buy because they are not sold without a prescription).

Life hacking: we usually have two first aid kits (and advise you to do the same), one – only with the most necessary drugs, which we carry with us (such as allergy medication), the second – all the rest. This is very important if you are going to the jungle or to other unsafe places.

A list of drugs that you should bring with you:

    • painkillers;
    • medicine for diarrhea;
    • medicine for fever;
    • medicine for alleviating symptoms of the common cold;
    • allergy medications;
    • antibiotics;
    • individual drugs for chronic diseases;
    • medications for trauma;
    • medicine for motion sickness;
    • cure for snake bites and insects;
  • sunscreen.



This is very individual: someone does not take anything other than a cell phone and camera, and someone fills the backpack up with equipment.

In our opinion you should take:

    • A laptop if you need to work;
    • A cell phone;
    • An mp3 player;
    • A camera (preferably not a bulky SLR with several large lenses can be replaced by a mobile phone with a good camera if you are not a professional photographer);
    • An eBook.
    • We also like to take an external hard drive, flash drive and a small speaker. We usually don’t buy local sim cards – you can chat for free on Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, and similar applications.
  • If you are traveling by car, bring a GPS navigator.

Life hack 1: for all wires (chargers, cords, USB) we have a special bag so we don’t lose them – very convenient. We usually bring all the gadgets together with the cable into the cabin of the aircraft – if the luggage is lost, the equipment will be with us.

Life hack 2: Do not connect to an unsafe public network, it is better to use a VPN. You should consider all public networks in hotels, hostels, cafes, shopping malls and so on to be unsafe.



As for the toiletries and cosmetics, the list of things for a trip can be infinitely long if you don’t stop yourself before you take all the makeup and other cosmetic stuff you own. Believe me, minimum set will be enough- new travel experience, tan and sun glasses will easily replace your makeup.

List of things to take with you on vacation:

    • toothpaste and brush;
    • razors;
    • manicure scissors / nail clippers;
    • comb;
    • deodorant (preferably solid);
    • baby wipes;
    • tissues;
    • shampoo (2 in 1) or in small tube samplers;
    • a bit of toilet paper and paper napkins;
    • a roll of disposable plastic bags – something that is very useful on a trip and on the road;
  • paper bags if you have motion sickness.

Additional items for women:

    • Q-tips and cotton discs, a makeup sponge;
    • pocket mirror;
    • moisturizer;
    • tweezers;
    • makeup (chapstick and lip gloss, eye pencil / eyeliner, mascara, concealer);
    • makeup remover;
    • feminine hygiene products;
  • pumice stone for hard skin on feet (especially important in southern countries).

Those who wear contact lenses need to bring a container and solution for lenses, eyeglass wearers – grab the spare glasses, just in case (glasses break and get lost – we encountered this more than once). Do not forget sunglasses.

This is, perhaps, the minimum amount of things that can be taken on vacation. It is better to transfer make-up remover and shampoo into special tubes that are 100 ml in volume – you can buy the so-called road set. It is useful if you are traveling independently, as not all the hotels provide complimentary toiletries. But when you are already abroad, it is easy to buy something if you run out of forget it at home – for example, a body scrub and facial, shower gel, and so on.

Be careful with liquids that you bring on the plane – the volume of the tube with the liquid must not exceed 100 ml, and the total volume – 1 liter. All liquids must be packed in a transparent plastic bag. In general, we recommend to pack almost all hygiene items in the checked luggage, except for baby wipes, comb, mirror, chapstick, toilet paper, paper and plastic bags – they can come in handy. Everything else you can safely check in – it is unlikely you will need shampoo on the way, right?

clothes and shoes


Picking out clothing and footwear for the journey should be approached with great responsibility. Think carefully about your wardrobe, so that you don’t find yourself in a situation when you have nothing to wear with shoes or a dress. 

In general, the list of clothing for a trip is individual, but there are general guidelines. First of all, dress according to the season, and carefully read the weather forecast, and the peculiarities of the climate of the country where you are going. In case of rainy and cold weather (or if it is a feature of the country / region / season), bring waterproof shoes and a raincoat.

Secondly, it is not necessary to bring a lot of clothes and shoes – many people know from experience that almost half of the clothes that were brought on a trip end up not being worn even once (especially in the warm countries). You will bitterly regret bringing a dozen dresses and as many pairs of high heeled shoes unless you plan on visiting fancy evening social events every day. In addition,  it is very likely, you will not be able to resist buying clothes on vacation, so leave a place for them in the suitcase.

Also, try to take only those clothes that you can combine with each other. Why would you bring a shirt that doesn’t go with anything?

In addition, choose only comfortable clothes that aren’t too tight and doesn’t hurt you when you wear it for a long time. Do not take the shoes you’ve never worn before – you will get blisters. Bring old shoes that you can easily throw away if something happens to it, and if it gets torn – throw it out and buy new shoes.

Do not forget a hat if you are going in a hot and sunny country. It is better to take a baseball hat instead of a classy-looking one, as it is difficult to put in a suitcase. Or just buy a hat on vacation.

What clothes you need to take on a trip:

    • pants / jeans (in tropical countries light and bright will suit, pants are particularly necessary in slim countries);
    • shorts;
    • a couple of t-shirts and / or tank tops;
    • a jacket;
    • lightweight running shoes / sneakers (it is better to travel in them);
    • shoes / sandals / flats;
    • slippers;
    • trunks / swimsuit, if you go to the sea;
    • several changes of underwear;
  • several pairs of socks.


The list can also include necessary and useful travel items, such as:

    • A Swiss army knife;
    • a bottle opener;
    • lighter and matches;
    • fumigator;
    • thread and needle;
    • pins;
    • small flashlight;
    • adapter for different types of outlets, as well as a tee or a compact extender (important for those who are going away for a long time and bring a lot of technology);
    • cloth (or a microfiber towel that absorbs moisture well);
    • toothpicks;
  • scotch tape or food film for wrapping a backpack at the airport, and so on – in short, something that can make life easier.

The things on this list, though not necessary to bring on a trip, but still very desirable – they may help out a lot in some cases.

In addition to all the items mentioned above, we always have two plastic cups and forks, a teaspoon, kettle and coffee pot – this way we can save on drinks and cook them ourselves at any time.

Despite the impressive list of things you need to bring on a journey, with the correct packing technique, you can fit all of this (and more) fit into a backpack of 45 liters (for each person). It is better to roll up items when packing them in a suitcase or a backpack, as they are not going to wrinkle as much, plus you can stuff rolls in shoes and cavities in the luggage to save space.

Do not forget about food for the road – something nutritious, such as dried fruits and nuts, as well as water. It is also helpful to have a couple of tea bags, coffee and sugar for the first night in a hotel.


If you are traveling with children, the number of necessary things will increase markedly. At this point you will not be able to fit everything in a small suitcase: you have to take care of what the child can do on a plane or on vacation, choose clothes for all occasions, and if the child is small – solve the problem of food and so on.

So, what to bring on a trip with your child?

Documents: Photo of the child shall be printed in the passport of the parent or the child must have his own passport, he should be issued a visa and medical insurance. If the child is traveling with only one parent, have an exit permit from the other parent.

Clothing: pick out clothes so that you always have a change if a child or tears the clothing or gets it dirty. It is better to have a light and a warm sweater in case there is an unpredicted weather change.

First aid kit (all the same drugs as described above, plus, individual drugs for the child if he has a chronic disease).

Toys: think about what you can bring for your child on a trip to occupy him – for example, take a tablet with downloaded movies and games, a coloring book, a few favorite toys.

Food: biscuits, sliced fruit, water and juice.

For young children it is necessary to bring absorbent diapers, antibacterial wipes, tissues, a small blanket and spare diapers, a light jacket (air conditioning on the plane is often on), baby carrier or a collapsible stroller. Prepare enough formula to feed the child until you find a supermarket.



We know that you probably want to bring a lot of necessary and useful things, without which, it seems, all the fun of traveling will go away. But let’s to take another look the items and ruthlessly remove them from the list items, without which you can easily live, or that you can replace at your destination.


Women would understand how difficult it is to love without a dryer. However, remember that many hotels have dryers available. If you are going on a long independent travel on a budget, it makes sense to get a haircut that doesn’t require complicated maintenance. You can also keep your hear in a ponytail / braid / and so on. If you absolutely must have a hair dryer, take a travel-sized one.


Travel-sized iron is a very handy thing on a trip, but you can live without. First of all, don’t bring clothes that are made of a material that wrinkles easily. If the garment did wrinkle, hang it in the bathroom while taking a shower – it will get less wrinkly form the steam. You can also spray it with water and hang to dry on a hanger. Many hotels have an iron available at the reception desk.


Books are heavy and take up a lot of space. It is much easier to take an e-book, tablet or read from a cell phone (as I do when I travel). Of course, if you really miss paper books, it is possible to take a small paperback or visit a bookstore abroad, usually, you will be able to find something in English there.


There is nothing to discuss here – it is better to leave expensive jewelry at home.

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