Packing Lists by Trip

Make planning for your trip easier with these packing lists.

Packing overwhelms even the savviest travelers. What do you really need, and how much should you bring? While the answers may be partly subjective, the experts we spoke to agreed: Whatever the destination, and no matter how long or quick the trip, the biggest mistake is to overpack. “Most people bring along too much stuff and don’t end up using half of it,” said Hitha Palepu, author of “How to Pack: Travel Smart for Every Trip.”

Lugging unnecessary items is time-consuming and cumbersome, she said, because there’s more to pack and unpack and more to keep track of when you’re on the road.

Lists are key to streamlining the process, so we’ve created lists to take the stress out of packing. Christine Sarkis, deputy executive editor of the online travel magazine SmarterTravel, said the secret to packing well is to adapt a packing list to your travel style. “You’ll hone it as you go, and it may change over time, but ultimately, relying on a list is a huge time-saver,” she said. Our suggestions are pared down to the absolute musts for a basic, seven-day trip.

BASIC TRAVEL CHECKLIST

Clothing

Stick to one or two color palettes so outfits are easier to coordinate.

  • 4 to 5 tops, types will depend on the weather and reason for travel
  • 3 bottoms, types will depend on the weather and reason for travel
  • 1 semi-formal outfit, like a dress or a suit
  • 7 undergarments
  • 7 socks/stockings
  • 2 sets of separate exercise clothes including socks, if needed
  • 2 sets of pajamas or other sleepwear
  • 1 lightweight foldable jacket or other outerwear, climate-appropriate
  • foldable rain jacket

Accessories:

  • 3 pairs of shoes: a dressy pair, stylish sneakers that double as workout and walking shoes, and flip-flops for your hotel room, the pool or spa
  • 2 bags: a tote or backpack and a smaller crossbody or clutch.
  • Sunglasses
  • Inexpensive jewelry, if needed
  • A voltage adapter, if traveling internationally

Toiletries

  • Dental supplies: toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
  • Soap, shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup and makeup remover, if needed
  • A hairbrush and accessories like bobby pins, if needed
  • Sunscreen
  • Face cleanser and moisturizer
  • Body moisturizer
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Shaving supplies, if needed
  • Laundry soap sheets or packets of travel-sized laundry detergent, if needed

For Your Carry-On

  • Eyeglasses, if needed
  • Prescription medication and vitamins, if needed
  • A mini-medical kit: bandages, a pain reliever, a topical analgesic and diarrhea medication
  • Chargers for your electronics
  • Travel documents, including passport if traveling internationally, along with copies of your passport, identification and copies of your identification.
  • T.S.A. size-approved toiletries
  • Earplugs
  • Lip balm (helpful for chapped lips, common in-flight)
  • Valuables: jewelry, camera, tablet and/or laptop
  • Headphones
  • Neck pillow and blanket
  • A change of clothes
  • Melatonin or other sleep aid to help with jet lag, if crossing time zones
  • An empty water bottle (fill this post-security)
  • Entertainment: books, magazines, iPad
  • A pen
  • Travel-friendly food: nuts, energy bars, whole fruit or a sandwich