What do You Pack When Travelling?


I’m currently writing an ebook on packing tips – and I want your input – what are your essentials that you never leave home without?

How much do you take for a week?

How much do you take for 2-3 weeks?

What do you leave behind?

How big is the bag your take?

What are the essential items in your your carry on luggage?


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  • I never travel with more than what I can carry on. If I’m going for longer, I just recycle things, um, creatively. But I rarely go anywhere for more than a week… I don’t travel with lots of shoes. Ever. I bring 2 pairs I can walk in (max).

    Depending on where I go, clothing can change, but usually includes Ts that can be multipurposed as clothing, yoga gear and sleepwear. I also travel with good toiletries in mini size.

  • What are your essentials that you never leave home without?
    Trial-size bottles of shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, lotion. Saves you time.

    How much do you take for a week?
    Two pairs of jeans, which I rotate with 4-6 tops. A black cardigan that goes with everything. A dress in jersey fabric that doesn’t wrinkle. Two pairs of shoes.

    How much do you take for 2-3 weeks?
    I’d probably take the one week formula and multiply it by two. Perhaps less if I had access to a washer and dryer.

    What do you leave behind?
    If it doesn’t pass the wrinkle test, it doesn’t come with me.

    How big is the bag your take?
    Either a 21″ samsonite upright, or a 18″ canvas tote bag.

    What are the essential items in your carry on luggage?
    Reading material, my iPod and portable notebook.

  • 25 years ago we invested in top quality backpacks. They are still going strong, having travelled with us for every trip, whether quick getaways, camping or backpacking through Europe for months. They are so versatile, with straps that zip away, turning it into a soft suitcase when required.

    Also, as I travel often, I keep a checklist of the “regulars”. That list is located in my cosmetics bag, which is also partially stocked. It takes but a moment to add what’s missing – appropriate makeup, jewellery etc. – and I’m ready.

  • I am a novice at travel. In fact, a post I am working on asks for advice about my clothing for an upcoming trip. Great idea!

  • I think that you don’t need to take more for 2-3 weeks than for a week ! I try to take the minimum, since I usually buy a thing or two in a new place. Besides it’s always easier to buy what you need, than to discard something you don’t !
    I take clothes that I wouldn’t be sorry to leave behind, in case I needed space for new buys. The old T-shirts that I am taking to S.America will be left on the way, when I buy some nice local ones !

    I also like taking leggings, they are light and when worn underneath they will make a warm layer ! I also started to take pocket slippers, they are perfect to relax in a bus or plane, or walking around a hotel room.

    You might also want to take a look at the Lonely Planet forums, there was a thread there with fantastic packing tips !

  • Ok, maybe I should be more specific: 2 trousers (never jeans !), 3 tops, 1 pair of shoes, sometimes also one skirt, and one cardigan.

  • I’m a great packer, according to DH. The only big extravagance I pack is my super-duper blow dryer. Nothing else gets my long hair dry as fast. For a week (winter travel), I take:
    – one pair of dark trouser jeans, hemmed for flats
    – Tod’s loafers
    – grey casual sweaterdress with an open neck
    (3 possible outfits here: I can wear the button down underneath, a sweater over top or the dress on it’s own)
    – white button down
    – 2 sweaters in jewel tones, probably one v-neck and one cowl
    – colorful scarf
    – a few long, colorful necklaces
    – chunky black belt

    Then, I usually wear my more bulky items and I travel in:
    – Cowl-neck sweaterdress
    – Long belted sweater
    – High-heeled tall boots
    – Tights

    I’m a minimalist….but it works!

  • Now that we’re being CHARGED to check luggage, I’ll have to rethink, but my preference is to bring a big rolly suitcase regardless of destination and length of stay. I prefer to have options, as it keeps my travel shopping in check!

    My carry-on essentials are a journal, a few fashiony magazines, my iPod, a novel, and kleenex. Takeoff and landing make my nose run. 😉

  • OK, three words: Black. Matte. Jersey.
    Packing: 2 skirts and 2 pants in this fabric, 4-5 tees (cotton or cashmere). One beautiful jacket, usually leather.4-6 shawls/scarves (Shawl can replace jacket when mild). Low wedge or flat shoes, ballerinas for evening. (2 pr shoes plus ones on my feet- you can dry clothes if caught in downpour but shoes take days.) Leggings for lounge or under pants/skirt if cold. Light folding umbrella. Silk panties from Wintersilks (breathable and dry fast). Bras, 2 camis to add warmth if cool. This works for all temps except extremes.

    Like Starlight, 1-3 weeks is the same.

    For tropics: Substitue jersey for krinkle silk. Linen tanks/tees (cooler than cotton); sarongs to tie into many shapes or wear as shawl. 2 Sun hats.

    Can’t do without: yoga mat; Arden Eight Hour Cream; expandable suitcase that folds into pouch (for shopping); sachets of lingerie wash.

    Carryon: Reading, small toiletry kit, pashmina (always drafty on plane) iPod, at least 3,000 calories in energy bars/snacks, $50-$100 in local currency or US dollar bills; phone card; good jewelry (if I have to take it); any meds; bottle of water.

    1. Don’t travel in anything fragile; a silk skirt seam came open once enroute from Germany to India and no one had a needle- not in airport or on plane.

    2. Buy “Poudre Papier” or “Mattifying Tissues” instead of carrying face powder. Save perfume samples for travel.

    3. Have a small zip pouch in your carryon that goes with you to toilet…my passport and cash were stolen once when I left my seat.

  • I can’t answer these questions; I always seem to do it at the last minute and forget something.
    Can’t wait to see the e-book though.

  • When traveling for one week I pick one color and stick with it to get me through the week. That way I can limit my shoe choices to one casual/comfortable and one slightly more “dressy”. I take basic items that can be mixed and matched.

    Where I overpack is accessories. I bring twice as many earrings as needed and the same goes for necklaces.

    Looking forward to your e-book!

  • My travel clothes right now are based on black/white/grey (a previous trip was based on black/pink/burgundy). Pick a colour for your base & go from there.

    For one week: 2 prs pants (black jeans & knit pants), 4-5 knit tops, 1 hoodie or jeans jacket, black cardi, 7 prs undies, 2 bras & some jewellery (not the real deal stuff).

    For two weeks or more: exactly the same but include some laundry detergent!

    Always travel with one out of season number…ie shorts in winter or knitwear in summer. You just never know!

    Always always carry undies and a clean top in your carry-on. Even if you're travelling home. This was a huge lesson I learnt travelling home from Hong Kong when the plane was delayed, we were put up in a hotel but our bags were still on the plane.

  • I start with the events and/or activities I will be attending and plan my outfits (including jewelry), using each piece twice, if possible. I try not to wear the same thing two days in a row. A basic black dress can be accessoried many ways. People don’t realize it is the same dress if you got a different blazer or cardi over it. I usually take 3 pairs of shoes.

  • I pack much too much wherever I go. I try not to pack items of clothing that can crese easily, but my main items are books, ipod and laptop. Not much of a glamour traveller, ain’t I? Ciao. A.
    PS We’ve been following the terrible bush fires with a heavy heart over here. The images we got here were devastating. I really feel sorry for all those poor people!

  • I’m the worst… I am of no help to you. I’m a last minute packer… I just make sure I have a different for everyday and shoes to match and lots of FUN jewelry.
    I throw all tolietries into bag just before I run out the door.

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • I pack one carry on bag for me. I have always hated carrying loads of luggage (or paying some one to carry them for me).

    I think underwear is essentail. I always pack more underwear then the days away (so for one week I’d pack 12 days worth).

    White button up (I make us of my hotel– if I need something pressed, or cleaned it is always easy).

    One pair of flats

    One pair of “dress” shoes– tasteful jeweled flat sandals are great at the beach.

    I always bring a bathing suit (never know if the pool is heated)

    I never leave home without:
    floss (I was stuck in Colombia held by rebels for weeks and not having floss just about killed me)
    tweezers and nail clipper (again, a lesson from Colombia)
    and I always pack a photocopy of my passport– which is helpful if yours gets stolen and I usually leave a copy with someone not travelling with me.

    I never take more than two books or four if I am going away for 3 weeks I take magazines like the New Yorker because they are easier to pack and have good stories in them Fashion mags just make me depressed or can make me want to go shopping when I am stuck in the jungles of Colombia for example.

    I also never take loads of credit cards.

  • Wow – thanks everyone for these great tips – it’s interesting to read what everyone does – what your essentials are!

    SWC – I have to know why were you in Columbia and getting caught by rebels? Were you a drug lord in a previous life?

  • The biggest tip I give myself when I’m already on the trip is to start the list when I’m already there. So if you are going to a hotel and you forget to bring thongs for when you go down to the pool, for example (I always get so cranky about that one) Or when you are camping (I’m really more of a room service gal myself) you would have ‘extension cord’ on the list so you don’t have to run out and buy one. But I still haven’t gotten around to it.

    Then on my “going to the US’ list I would have ‘passport’ so that when I’m halfway to the border, I don’t have to turn around and drive BACK to the house to get it.

    I NEVER have enough clothes with me because I have this thing about packing light but then I get there and it’s cold and I have nothing warm, or it’s hot and all I have with me are turtlenecks.

    I think it’s a good book you are writing!!!

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