Essential gear

Making sure you have the essential — and only the essential — gear for whatever destination is always a challenge. I organize and plan my packing list with the aid of a Google Keep checklist. The list  includes all the things I may need for travel in general. But for each individual trip, I select only the things NECESSARY for what I’ve planned.

Keep in mind, that most toiletries, clothing, shoes, cables, etc. can be easily acquired in almost any country. And often cheaper than at home. So consider getting these things on arrival.

Travel Packing List

Here is my extended packing list:


  • Passport
  • Transportation Tickets (electronic if possible)
  • vaccine record
  • photocopies of documents (1 set in large backpack, 1 in day bag/computer bag)
  • credit/debit cards
  • drivers license (you never know when you’ll need to drive)
  • 5-8 passport-size photos (for visas applications, sharing, etc.)
  • insurance card (Don’t travel without good insurance. Shit happens.)

Clothes & accessories

Travel packing listincluding things I am wearing

  • 1 pair of shoes (on my feet)
  • a dress shirt
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of trousers/jeans (including wearing one pair)
  • 1 pair shorts/swim trunks
  • belt (that I am wearing)
  • scarf/sarong (multiple uses: towel, blanket, clothing, bag, etc.)
  • small backpack/day bag
  • money belt (wear)
  • jacket/sweater/fleece (even in summer as planes and buses can be freezing
  • gloves
  • 2 or 3 pair socks
  • a pair of sunglasses
  • reading glasses (I’m at that age.)


  • headphones/earbuds
  • telephone, camera, laptop and/or tablet
  • chargers for the above
  • thumb drive/SD Card
  • plug converter
  • electric power strip
  • small LED flashlight


  • Travel Packing List Light Loaddeodorant
  • toothbrush & toothpaste
  • dental floss (multiple uses)
  • soap  (Having no hair, I don’t need shampoo.)
  • lip balm
  • medicines / first aid kit
  • chewing gum


  • travel towel
  • pillowcase (You’ll want something clean to lay your head on in cheap hostels. Make a pillow by stuffing it with clothes. Also you can use it for dirty clothes/laundry. Or a towel. Or…)
  • sleeping bag or sleep sheet
  • inflatable pillow
  • something to read (Ebooks make this very simple.)
  • a couple of plastic baggies
  • 2 or 3 small carabiners clips (attached to exterior of bag)
  • padlock (useful in hostels and bus/trains in some countries)
  • umbrella/raincoat
  • Post-its
  • ink pen
  • 4 or 5 safety pins

I have yet to need all of these things for any particular trip, but I’ve come close. Still, it should all fit in one carry-on sized bag plus a small backpack/camera bag/laptop bag.
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