Packing Advice

The Greatest Packing List of All Time

En largo camino paja pesa.
On a long journey, even a straw weighs heavy.

-Spanish proverb

It’s packing time again–we (me, Matt and the girls) are off to Paris next week for work and play.  This packing list by Doug Dyment, comprehensive yet efficient, has forever been my favorite. If you’re traveling with specialized equipment for example as a photographer would, of course you’ll have to augment the list. Families with infants, or those with other exceptional needs, will need to add gear and other necessities to it, but for most of us, the list is quite perfect.

Each time I pull this list out, I’m reminded of the first time I took my high-school students to Europe. I handed it out to the kids to help them prepare for packing. At least five students came in with the same question the following day; they, and their parents, wanted to know why they’d need contraceptives for our trip–it was on the list…oops.

Tailor it to meet your own needs and you’ll be prepared for anything.

I’ve pasted the list here and provided several links to it within this post.

A One-Page Packing Checklist

dressy jacket

2-4 shirts/blouses/tops

2 pairs trousers/skirts (shorts?)

3+ pairs socks

3+ pairs undergarments

long (lightweight) underwear


dark (cardigan) sweater

rainwear (umbrella?)

parka, coat, or equivalent

long T-shirt or sarong (nightclothes?)

necktie, scarf, shawl, hairband, bandanna

gloves / mittens

sun hat / knitted cap, hat clip

1 pair dressy shoes (laces?)

1 pair walking shoes/boots (laces?)

flip-flops or sandals



travel pack or shoulder bag
(& luggage cart?)

daypack (fanny pack? purse?)

lightweight duffel/laundry bag

luggage lock(s) (cable?)


alarm clock/watch (batteries?)

flashlight, headstrap, extra batteries (bulbs?)

knife, screwdrivers, pliers, scissors

spoon (fork? chopsticks? spork?),
(coffee tin lid) plate or bowl



door lock


safety pins, cord, fasteners

sewing kit, including large needle
to accommodate dental floss

(Ziploc®) plastic bags, garbage bags

repair tape (packing tape? glue?)


toothbrush, cap, tooth cleaner, floss

razor, blades, shaving oil/cream

comb and/or hairbrush

shampoo, bar soap & container


nail clippers

[unbreakable] mirror

viscose towel (washcloth?)


inflatable travel pillow

earplugs (sleep mask?)

sleep sack (sleeping bag?
bivouac sack? blanket? tent?)


universal (flat) sink stopper

detergent, spot remover

(surgical latex braid) clothesline (carabiner?)

inflatable hangers [to dry clothes]


toilet paper, water squirt bottle,
antibacterial wipes

(chemical or mechanical) water purifier

analgesic of choice

diarrhea treatment of choice

infection treatment of choice

malaria tablets

insect repellent, mosquito net

sunscreen, lip balm


bandages (other first aid?)

menstrual, contraceptive,
and/or prophylactic supplies

vitamins, necessary medications

(collapsible) plastic water bottle & cup

dark glasses, retainer, case

lens cleaning cloth/supplies, copy
of prescription (spare glasses?)


pen(s), small notebook, glue stick
[for notes, addresses, diary, …]

personal address book (stamps?)

maps, guidebooks, phrase books, Post-it® notes, restaurant lists, membership cards, business/calling cards, telephone access numbers

reading material

large envelopes [to mail things home]


passport, visas, extra passport photos, vaccination certificates

copies of important documents

(international?) driver’s license, health insurance information

travel tickets

charge & ATM cards, cash (traveller’s cheques?)

2 personal cheques

security pouch [worn under clothes]


Specialty Items

camera (lenses? flash? tripod? extra cards & batteries? charger? download adapter?)

cellular telephone (charger?)

travel computer (flash drive? power cord/adapters? network cable(s)?)

jump rope

(solar) calculator