Traveling is one of the most effective ways to see the world, meet new and exciting people, and explore new cultures and ideas. Despite the incredible benefits, only 11 percent of people from the United States have visited ten or more countries in their lifetimes. If you’re not an experienced traveler, you’re likely facing the dilemma of what am I forgetting to pack as your trip approaches.

Bringing your essentials is critical to a memorable and relaxing vacation, but you don’t want to bring too much and weigh yourself down. Learning to travel smart starts with knowing what to pack for your destination.

A travel checklist is an excellent resource when gathering your belongings, but there are other traveling tips you should learn before you head to the airport. The good news is that you’ve found this illuminating guide to the travel essentials you should pack for your next trip.

Continue reading to develop the perfect packing list for your travels today!

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes might seem unnecessary, but they’ll save you tons of room when cramming your belongings into a backpack or suitcase ahead of your trip. You’ll fit far more belongings into your luggage when packing for your trip. It’s also much easier to stay organized when you have packing cubes.

Durable Travel Bag

A durable travel back is another must-have item when preparing to travel smart with all your essentials. The bag you choose should depend on your preferred travel style.

Consider a backpacking pack if you plan to live the digital nomad lifestyle for an extended period. These packs are designed to endure harsh weather conditions, so airplane cargo sections and buses won’t harm your bag or its contents. You’ll be shocked at how much you can fit inside a backpacking pack, especially when using packing cubes.

Your lifestyle choices will also determine the best type of bag for your trip. A minimalist will need a much smaller bag than someone bringing several outfits for every possible occasion. Packing for your journey is much simpler when living a minimalist way of life.

The goal is to find a bag that is comfortable as well as durable. You’ll spend significant time with this bag on your back, so investing in one that doesn’t destroy your body is worthwhile. If carrying a pack on your back doesn’t appeal, consider the best rolling bag options for your next trip.

Day Bag

In addition to your large bag, it’s helpful to pack a day bag with you. A day bag is perfect as your personal item on the flight to your destination, and you can game the system by packing some of your travel essentials in this smaller bag. A small backpack is a must-have item when exploring your destination during your stay.

It’s the perfect companion when shopping for souvenirs, exploring old cathedrals, or hiking stunning mountain passes. Don’t leave your day bag behind when creating your packing checklist. You’ll kick yourself when wondering what am I forgetting to pack for your upcoming trip.

Travel Adapter

You should think ahead when packing your travel essentials, which starts with considering the electrical outlets in the country you’re visiting. You’ll likely need to invest in a travel adapter to charge your smartphone, laptop, and other devices.

Different countries and continents have different outlet shapes. You want to avoid arriving at your destination to discover that your phone is dead and you cannot charge it. Shop online to find the perfect adapter weeks before your flight to ensure you can add it to your travel checklist.

A universal adapter is an excellent investment, especially if you fall in love with traveling abroad. You’ll be prepared no matter where your journey takes you. Investing in a power bank for mobile charging capabilities is also wise.

Reusable Water Bottle

The reusable water bottle is a staple of any travel checklist. You’ll see many travelers filling their reusable water bottles up in airports worldwide, and you can join their ranks upon purchasing a reusable water bottle for yourself. They’re an excellent way to eliminate waste and pollution during your travels.

You’ll also save money since you won’t need to continue spending on plastic water bottles. The only exception is visiting countries that lack safe drinking water. Your best option is to purchase filtered drinking water and store it in your reusable water bottle to keep it cool.


Your passport should be the first thing on your list when packing for a trip. Your trip will only get far or last long if you remember your passport, and forgetting it could cause you to miss your flight.

Ensure your passport is up-to-date with no risk of expiring during your upcoming journey. If the expiration date is nearing, work with the government to get your passport renewed. It’s also wise to check on the visa requirements for your trip.

Overstaying your visa can result in severe consequences, including fines and bans from visiting other countries. Check the length of stay you’re allowed on the visa you qualify for when visiting your vacation destination.


Bring any prescription medications from the United States to your vacation destination. Leaving your medicines behind could result in health complications that derail your trip.

Talk to your doctor before booking your flight and vacation if you’re worried about traveling with the supply of medicine you currently have. They’ll work with you to ensure you have the medication you need throughout your travels.

Debit and Credit Card

Investing in travel credit cards is one of the most effective ways to plan when traveling abroad. The best travel credit cards will help you earn points for future travel, especially if you spend a specific amount of money with the card in a set period. The points you earn can help you get a free flight home at the end of your vacation.

The best cards protect you from canceled or delayed flights, lost luggage, and changing flight costs. You’ll also enjoy protection from foreign transaction fees when using your card abroad. Premium travel cards will even provide lounge access in thousands of airports worldwide.

It helps to research your debit card options before preparing to travel abroad. The best debit cards reimburse you for ATM fees, saving you hundreds of dollars over extended travel experiences. Protect yourself and your finances by packing the best cards for your next vacation.


No travel checklist is complete without some good books to indulge in. You’ll find plenty of free time when traveling, and a good book is an excellent way to pass the time and keep yourself entertained. It’s also the perfect companion when you arrive at your destination and want to relax on the beach.

Focus on paperback options to limit the weight and bulk of your luggage. You can also invest in a Kindle or purchase e-books on your smartphone for increased convenience when traveling. It’s the ultimate travel hack for roving bookworms.

Journal and Pen

Documenting your trip is an essential part of the travel experience. You want to remember every detail of the most extensive trip of your life, and it’s much easier to remember each day when you document your experiences in your journal.

Remember to bring your journal and pen to write down everything you did and the people you met at the end of each day. You’ll have a written record to accompany the pictures and videos you capture. It’s the best way to remember each detail of your trip.


A camera is another travel essential you should remember to pack. Add your camera to your packing list to capture the best shots of each place you visit. A smartphone camera will do the job, but none of your pictures will do justice to the incredible scenes you witness.

Your camera is the perfect tool to document what you’re witnessing as you travel from one country to another. You’ll be grateful for the crystal-clear images and rawness of what you’re capturing. Taking a trip down memory lane will be far more enjoyable when you have pictures that take you back to those incredible memories.


Only book a flight with quality headphones ready to go with you. You never know when you’ll find yourself on a 14-hour flight filled with families and crying babies. You’ll prevent several headaches and frustration when you plan and pack noise-canceling headphones for your trip.

Consider downloading your music on your phone while in Airplane Mode. Thanks to your headphones and playlists, you’ll arrive at the suites at Westgate Palace before you realize it.

Audiobooks and podcasts are other quality options when preparing your headphones and entertainment for the journey. You can continue learning and growing while waiting for your flight to arrive at your destination.

Comfortable Walking Shoes

Blisters are a sure way to put a damper on your travels, so remember to bring comfortable walking shoes in your backpack or luggage when planning a trip. Most destinations require much walking, and uncomfortable shoes will quickly put you in crippling pain.

Pack shoes that you feel comfortable standing or walking in for hours at a time. Your trip will be far more enjoyable if you plan with what you wear for tours, hikes, and travel.

Proper Clothing

Plan for the climate at your destination when running through your packing list and wondering what am I forgetting to pack. It’s tempting, but you won’t need your goose-down winter jacket for your trip to Thailand.

Always put your comfort ahead of style when packing for a vacation. Bring a few outfits for nice dinners and romantic settings, but focus most of your travel checklist on clothing suitable for the weather and conditions at your destination.

Focus on the world and sites around you during your travels. The less time you invest in your outfits, the more you’ll indulge in new cultures and the kind locals.

Rain Jacket

A rain jacket is a travel essential no matter where you travel. You can’t predict the weather, but you can prepare for it with the proper equipment. Your rain jacket will keep you dry during random downpours and the rainy season in your travel destination.

Invest in a quality rain jacket that packs down. You’ll save space in your luggage while preparing for changing weather conditions. Rain jackets are a much smaller alternative to carrying an umbrella with you. You’ll stay warm and dry during your travels when you remember to pack your waterproof jacket.

Sun Protection

It’s easy to write off sun protection as unnecessary, but many countries charge an arm and a leg for sunscreen and sun protection products. You’ll save significant money when purchasing sun protection in the United States and packing it for the journey. It’s not worth risking the discomfort and skin damage caused by sunburns during your vacation.

Microfiber Towel

You’ll also want a way to dry off when visiting waterfalls or spending time at the beach during your adventure. A microfiber towel offers a quick-drying option that packs down for your travels. A sarong is another option to consider since they pack down and provide several uses.

Luggage Locks

Luggage locks are an excellent investment if you put bags under the plane rather than using a one-bag strategy. You can travel with peace of mind that your belongings are safe. Quality luggage locks will prevent unwanted people from opening your bags and taking valuables.

Now You Know What Am I Forgetting to Pack

If you’re wondering what am I forgetting to pack for your upcoming trip, it’s best to reflect on what you want to bring and compare it to a packing list. Bring comfortable shoes to prevent blisters and pain when exploring your destination.

A power adapter is another travel essential to pack to charge your devices anywhere. Remember your passport and visa documents, and bring noise-canceling headphones for your flight.

Preparing for your next vacation is a mix of anxiety and excitement. Check out more of our Lifestyle content for helpful guides and tips to prepare you for the next adventure!