Packing for International Travel

Packs on the Inca TrailPacking for international travel can be a little overwhelming.  What do you bring?  Will my charger need an adapter? I use this basic packing list as my basis for any trip I do overseas,  modifying for any special occasion (Winter, hiking etc).  Using my guide you should be prepared for your next international trip too!

Remember you can always do laundry while traveling so don’t go overboard on packing.  My general guideline is 4~5 “outfits” (IE Pants/Shirts combos).  Then, when I run out of clean underwear, I just find a washing machine and repeat.

Chances are you will pack too much on the first go-round so gather everything and ask yourself Do I really need this.  If your answer is anything but a certain Yes don’t take it!  Worst case is you buy it there – in reality a little adventure in itself!

What to Pack

While this list is aimed at a man any woman can use this as a general guide too.  You’ll be surprised how little you can get by with and what you can find in local pharmacies.  I will say, so I’ve heard, tampons can be hard to find in some South American countries (and possibly elsewhere too – although Europe/UK should be just fine) so be sure to pack those as needed.

  • Toiletries bag (all travel size stuff, you can always restock if you run out)
    • includes all the bathroom stuff, sunscreen, personal items, 1st aid/ medical, etc.
  • 5 pairs of underwear (I pack ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs – they can be washed in a sink in a pinch)
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 pairs of hiking pants that zip-off into shorts
  • 1~2 t-shirts
  • 1~2 polo shirts (I primarily travel with ExOfficio snap shirts)
  • 1~2 button-up long sleeve (You can always roll up the sleeves)
  • 1 waterproof rain-shell type jacket with hood (While not cheap I have the Arc’teryx Beta SL jacket – it’s so packable!)
  • 2 pairs of shoes total (or 3 if you really need them, but only take 2 on the trek)
    • 1 pair of multi-use walking/hiking shoes (I like Trail Running shoes)
    • 1 pair of sandals (to get a break from your hiking/ walking shoes, also important to air your feet out each evening after a day of hiking)
  • Eyeglasses/ contact stuff if needed
  • Sunglasses, bandana and visor
  • Gadgets (to be kept to a minimum)
    • Compact digital camera (I cary a Fuji X100 but anything is fine). Would advise against bringing a bulky SLR.
    • iPhone (or something equivalent to make calls in emergency, enable you to check email, and make internet enabled phone calls for free – most hotels have Wi-Fi.  See using your smartphone abroad for more info.)
    • Chargers for everything, extra battery (charged) for camera  just in case
    • Power Converter plugs
      • UK, Australia, and EU all have different plug standards.  Look up what plug standard your country uses and buy one – they are cheap!
      •  For basic things like phones, laptops, and cameras you only need the plug adaptor and not the voltage convertor.
      • For other items check your label to see if it can operate on multiple voltages.
  • Water Bottle (or two) – I always carry a Vapur collapsible water bottle that’s come in handy too many times to list.  It literally folds into my pocket
  • Day Bag – I use a packable one from Barefoot.
  • Photocopies of your passport
  • Printed copies of your itinerary, as well as all important addresses and numbers you could possibly need (do not always depend on gadgets or internet!)
  • Stuff to read (books and magazines, to be thrown out after you finish them on the spot).
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