The Ultimate International Travel Packing List for 2024

Packing like a pro for a trip abroad can be overwhelming when you do not know what to carry. But don’t worry, this ultimate international travel packing list will go through everything you need to ensure a seamless journey.

Before you start packing, diligently research your destination and check what weather you should expect during your stay, the documentation you will need, and any laws you should pay attention to (for example some countries like Uzbekistan prohibit certain medicines). 

The first step to having a peaceful trip is creating a travel checklist and this list will be informed by how long your trip will be. This will also inform you whether you need to pack light or carry extra luggage. 

If you’re feeling like you’ve reached your wit’s end, this packing list for international travel will help you know what you should carry when packing for a solo trip or a family vacation. 

Ultimate International Travel Packing List

How to Apply for ETIAS
Ensure you have all your documentation included in your packing list for international travel

Documentation

Paperwork can turn a would-be great vacation into a nightmare. When traveling overseas, ensure all your documents are in order. There are different documents you will need to travel.

Passport

Your passport and that of anyone you are traveling with should be up to date. In fact, you should check your passport details before you book any flight tickets or make any reservations. If your passport is invalid you cannot enter a country or go back home.

Visa

One of the things you need to do is confirm whether you need a Visa to enter your destination. Some countries like the US require other types of entry documents. Do your research to see if anything can affect your Visa application or any other entry document. For example, if you are traveling to the US with a criminal record, the ESTA criminal record will flag your details and your application may be denied. 

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a great investment, especially when traveling far from home. Travel insurance usually covers medical emergencies and other traveling risks like loss of belongings.

Our partners at SafetyWing provide cover for travellers, backpackers and Digital Nomads. Get a quote here and ensure you have the proper cover for your trip.

Personal identification

Always pack your personal identification document. Some countries require you to show your personal identification card when entering. 

Tickets and reservations

As you put your documents together, ensure you have scanned copies of all the documents, just in case the physical copies get lost. It’s always good to have the original tickets on PDF rather than a screenshot so download these to your phone (I recently had problems checking in with Ryanair with a screenshot of my boarding pass).

International driving permit

If you plan to drive around, consider getting an international driving permit. Most local driving licenses lose their validity in another country, and an international driving permit shows that your license was received from a reputable source. The application for one differs between counties. 

International Travel Packing List – Luggage 

Travel Packing List - Luggage
Travel Packing List – Luggage

If you are traveling for a short trip, a backpack, duffel bag, or cabin bag will do. Longer trips require more luggage, and a well-sized suitcase will do. If you are going with a bigger suitcase, a 4-wheeled one is better as it will be easier to drag. Ensure that it also has a lock to protect your luggage.

Clothes

The clothes you pack will be determined by how the weather will be when you go. If you want to pack fewer clothes, think of packing clothes with multiple uses. The clothes you pack should be informed by the weather you will be expecting. 

What you wear on the plane will also matter. Wear what will make you feel comfortable particularly if you have a long flight.

Toiletries

Packing list for international travel - toiletries
Packing list for international travel – toiletries

Toiletries can be tricky to carry. You have to pack them in a way to avoid spillage. Most airlines give instructions on what is acceptable in a carry-on or check-in luggage. Some people prefer to pack a few toiletries and get the rest when they arrive.  

If you prefer to be prepared, carry everything you will need. You can also get toiletries that serve more than one purpose, like a lotion with sunscreen or a shampoo with conditioner. 

Your toiletries list should include;

  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Hair products including shampoo, conditioner, 
  • Makeup
  • Tissues 
  • Toilet paper
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume
  • Diapers and wipes if traveling with a baby
  • Insect repellant
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • A first aid kit

Carry-on luggage

Hand Luggage
Hand Luggage

A carry-on bag is essential, whether you are going for a short or long trip, and certain things should not miss. When choosing carry-on luggage, go for one that you can easily carry. You should also check with the airline to see how much your bag should weigh. 

Your carry-on bag should have

  • All your travel documents.
  • Cash in both your currency and your destination and bank cards. 
  • A change of clothes, including spare underwear. 
  • Something to cover you if it gets cold.
  • Medication. You can include an antihistamine, a painkiller, or any prescribed medication.
  • Basic toiletries like toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, and lotion.
  • Snacks, especially if you do not like airplane food. 
  • Your electronics including phone, laptop, and headphones. Do not forget the chargers.
  • A book.

Check-in luggage

When packing your check-in luggage, the temptation is always to overpack. However, less may be more. As mentioned, carry clothes you can use more than once. Go for wrinkle-free options just in case you don’t find an iron. 

Consider using packing cubes to organize your clothes and keep them wrinkle-free. You can also use packing cubes to pack clothes for different family members if you are traveling light. 

Packing List for International Travel FAQs

How do I pack for an international 7 day trip?

Packing for an international 7 day trip is easy. Ensure you have a week’s worth of clothes, just the toiletries you’ll need (keep it to 50ml bottles of shampoo and body wash) and all the relevant documentation including passport and visas.

What not to pack for international travel?

It’s easy to overpack and I have often done this myself. Don’t bring large bottles of toiletries and cosmetics that can add weight as you can buy these one you arrive at your destination.

What toiletries should I pack for international travel?

Toiletries to include for an international trip are a toothbrush and toothpaste, small bottles of shampoo and shower gel (under 50ml if only carrying hand luggage), deodorant and any other personal items you like to use.

What do I pack for an international trip?

When taking an international trip first assess what the weather will be like and pack accordingly. For warm places you’ll want light, comfortable clothes like shorts, a cotton shirt and T-shirts. For colder places ensure you have lots of layers. Ensure you have all the documents you need like passport and visas.

In conclusion

International travel can be an exciting adventure, but this excitement can easily turn into a horrible experience if you forget the essentials. Therefore, knowing what to pack is key to having a stress-free trip. Now you know everything you should include on your international travel packing list the only thing left is to decide which countries to visit!

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About the author:

Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has traveled to over 60 countries, lived in Armenia, China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.

Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of the world by train, bus and boat. He has been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and recently featured in the documentary Scariest Places in the World. See the About page for more info.

Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲