Tips & Tricks
Essential Items and How to Pack When Going on Vacation

Essential Items and How to Pack When Going on Vacation

Packing mishaps can bring you a lot of inconveniences. Sometimes you find yourself missing an essential item or get infuriated by having packed an item that you do not get to use. Some items can cause you problems with clearance at various entry points too. These mishaps can be prevented by creating an ultimate packing list that will guide you as you pack for every trip.

Planning ahead of time on what to carry and what to avoid eliminates the burden of paying hefty prices like airline fees. In this article, I share some ideas I have mastered over the years while packing that will help both first-time and travellers and any seasoned globe trotter.

Travel Bag

Before you even decide what to pack you need to choose the right travel bag. It’s important to consider the duration of the trip you are taking as this will properly guide you to choose a proper bag. Keep in mind the mode of transportation you are going to use. Airlines have a limit on the weight of the bag you bring with you and heavier bags than recommended will be charged. Ensure the bag is in good condition for example by ensuring the wheels, zippers, and handles on the bag are not broken. I have different travel bags for different trips starting with carry-ons, wheeled backpacks, and duffel bags.

Travel Essentials

Vacation trips tend to have a lot of activities. All these activities will require different gear. If you will be travelling to different destinations during the vacation you need small bags of essentials you will require. Imagine a situation where you are digging into your bag of clothes to get your headphones, not a good picture right? I recommend a day pack, waist pack, or shoulder bag for your few personal items.

The few items I carry in my small backpack include a phone, a laptop, headphones, a camera, my chargers, a water bottle, chapsticks, lotions, and hand sanitisers.

Ensure you carry the necessary type of clothes for your location. Consider the weather before packing. Carry light clothes, like sundresses, shorts, swimsuits, flip-flops, hats for a vacation during the summer (and, if you’re going to be spending time at the beach, these sand free towels from Evolve Travel Goods fold up to the size of a burrito, so will leave plenty of room in your bag). For the cold season carry heavy clothes like rain jackets, umbrellas, warm pyjamas, and wool socks.


When travelling you will need to pack light but very crucial toiletry bag. You don’t have to carry the whole bottle of your lotion. You can get a 100 ml container and clear zip-top bags that can carry enough toothpaste, body lotions, face creams, shampoos, and conditioners. The following is a small list of things I always include in my toiletry bags: sunglasses, personal hygiene products, eye contacts, solutions and contact cases, sunscreens, and a well-labelled prescription medicine if any. The toiletries bag is especially essential if you are a picky person who may not be comfortable with some items provided where you will be staying.

Essential Documents

Collect all your important documents- passport, credit cards, pens, boarding passes, tickets, and IDs- and organize them well in a travel document organizer. If you don’t have one, you need to get one because it will keep all the important documents you have in one place. This helps you to retrieve them promptly when needed and also minimizes the risk of some of them getting lost. I would advise you to check the expiry dates on your passports and confirm that they are not expired. Also, make sure they won’t expire while you are out on your vacation as this may cause delays and panic during your vacation.

Travel Health

If you are planning to travel internationally it’s important to check with the Disease Control and Prevention’s website for information such as travel vaccines and any local travel advisory. I prefer getting any necessary vaccines before travelling in case of any eventualities and this is usually done at least two months before I travel. I also ensure to make a home-made health travel kit with a few medicines and first aid equipment I have in my medicine cabinet.

In my kit, I ensure to have a first aid kit, personal prescription, and copies of scripts in case I need to refill. Depending on what you plan on doing on your vacation, it might be worth learning some basic first aid as well in case you have a fall while hiking, for example. There are multiple courses out there, like Hamilton’s first aid training program, for example, which can help you become qualified in first aid. I also pack pain relievers- especially when I’m travelling with my kids- a thermometer, allergy pills, multivitamins, sunburn reliefs, insect/mosquito/sting repellent, motion sickness pills and bands, and any medication and vaccine relevant to my location.

It is important to note that every trip will require you to have a different packing list. The variance will depend on the location, mode of transportation, weather, and the number of days you will be away among other reasons. Packing light is always advisable when travelling, but let that not be a reason to leave out these essentials.

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