Global Traveler Essential Packing List 1

Trying to pack can be one of the hardest things to plan, especially if you’ll be gone for several months and through changing seasons or across several different climates.

To save you a few hair-pulling hours, here are some of the basic necessities.

The more creative you can be, the fewer situations you’ll find yourself in where you cannot find a way out.  Be creative, have patience, be resilient, and try to experience both the good and the bad with a smile on your face.

Onto the list….

Table of Contents

Must-Haves / Necessities:

Do not leave home without these!

1. Extra cash and credit card in your carry on.

Cash – $120-$150.  $20 each way to/from airport.  $100 spending money for snacks and incidentals.

2. Passport

3. ID

4. Credit card

5. Credit card backup

6. Debit card

Note: Some ATMs around the world will not let you take cash out using a credit card, even if you have a PIN number.

7. Digital photocopy of your passport

8. Digital photocopy of your ID

9. Secure site or location on the cloud to store your photocopies and credit card numbers

10. Change of clothes in your carry on

With the items above, you can assure you won’t get stranded.

Tip: Separate your card from your backup card and your ID from your passport.  This way, if one of your bags is stolen or you happen to get mugged (not likely but just in case), then you’ll have some sort of backup and you’ll spend less time looking for help.

Tip:  I would also carry an extra set of clothes in your CARRY ON if you have room.  Even just something light, like underwear and a t-shirt.  Don’t forget toothbrush, wet wipes, and deodorant too!  This way, you can take a “shower” (wet wipes) if you get stuck on an unexpected layover and deodorant ensures you’ll still have friends.  You can also purchase what you forgot with your spare cash.


  1. Underwear – enough for 1-2 weeks
  2. Socks – 6 pair
  3. Flip flops – 1 pair (optional shower pair also)
  4. Tennis shoes / walking shoes – 1 pair
  5. Dress shoes – 1 pair (optional)
  6. Jeans – 1 pair Pants – 1 pair
  7. Shorts/Capris – 2 pair
  8. T-shirts – 3
  9. Tank top – 2
  10. Long tops – 2 (best if these can go over the tank tops, good to pack layers to put on and undo)

Tip: Cut out anything and everything that you can.  Bring the basics and you can buy the rest if needed – purchases while traveling double as great souvenirs.  Study the season(s) beforehand.  Is it cold at night?  How do they dress?  Will you be doing hiking? If you are in a very hot climate, you won’t need much at all.  If it is temperate during the day but chilly at night, pack smart layers.


1. Travel laptop

Tip: If you’re working, I would recommend a travel laptop.  If you want to save weight/space and travel free of worry, I would rely on trusty, cheap Internet cafes.

As of this first writing, I was using an Acer netbook.  Then, I traveled with an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard.  For the past 3 years I’ve been using a MacBook Air.  The key is light and functional.  That will depend on you and how much you need to work while traveling.  I recommend a 11 or 13 inch Mac Air.

2. Pocket-sized camera + camera card

Tip:  If you aren’t working on a photo or film project, why not just get the practical, cheap camera that you wouldn’t cry over losing?  I sold my two nice Canon cameras and bought a Canon SD-110.  I don’t have to worry if it’s lost or stolen and I back my pictures up regularly online.

3. Smartphone

The smartphone doubles as a camera, so save on the space if you can.  I always travel with my unlocked iPhone.

Tip: Back up your phone and laptop regularly.  Technology can be replaced; photos and memories cannot.

4. Mi-Fi / Mobile Hotspot

With your unlocked smartphone, you can get a local or International SIM card with a data plan.  But, you can also get an unlocked hotspot that will allow you to have a multi-connection, speedier, mobile Internet hotspot without draining your mobile phone battery.

Toiletries / Other:

  1. One bar of soap in shower-friendly container
  2. Shampoo/conditioner combo in small bottles
  3. Toothbrush with cap, small toothpaste tube
  4. Razor(s)
  5. Makeup – only necessities
  6. Towel – microfiber towels are light, easy to travel with and dry quickly

Remember: You can always buy more when you run out.  Travelers are also great at helping out if you are in a pinch.  It’s tempting to load your bag with innovative travel kit accoutrements, but it’s even more fun to go to the store to find what you need in a foreign country and you’ll be happy you’re carrying less!

Well, this is my list.  I would love to see your list.  What am I missing?  What can you not live without?

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