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What you need to know when packing for international travel

Written by on April 5, 2017 in Travel Packing, Travel Planning with 2 Comments

Packing for international travel is arguably the most stressful part of the whole trip preparation. This is due to the many variables that constantly change over the time and need constant adjustment.

Not only the lack of knowledge about the travel destinations: from climate zones to weather conditions and its peculiarities, but also local requirements and airline baggage regulations that have a considerable impact on the way you will be packing your luggage for an overseas trip.

Packing For International Travel - What you need to know

This post will help you identify all core elements for packing for a trip overseas.

The basics for packing for international travel

There are a few things that will help develop a travel packing style when travelling overseas. Here they are:

  • Choosing the right type of luggage for your international trip
    A wheeled suitcase is a universal piece of luggage that matches well with any type of travel. However depending on the activities you plan, a duffel bag or a travel backpack is definitely a better choice. If you travel 80% of your time outdoor and plan to join multi-day tours too, a duffel bag or a backpack will allow you more freedom. Moreover this type of luggage will comply with the requirements of local tour operators that often ask to re-pack your stuff into a soft bag. On this post you can read about luggage pros and cons.
  • Prefer lightweight luggage
    For international travel using a lightweight luggage is essential. Not only it makes your luggage more handy and comfortable to carry around. With the strict airlines baggage allowances regulations, a lightweight luggage will save space and weight. Furthermore make sure you pack your cabin luggage to comply with weight regulations and items restrictions of all airlines involved in your international travels.
  • Learn the art of Packing Light
    One good thing to do is setting a limit of weight for each international trip. By setting a limit like 20-25% below the average baggage allowances of average 20-30 kg (44-50lb) for international airlines and average 13-20 kg (28-44lb) for low-cost airlines, you will travel with peace of mind. It means you will never pay for baggage excess. Packing light also means mindful packing by choosing lightweight clothing.
  • Check local requirements and restrictions
    Before packing your luggage make sure you are aware of the country regulations, like food, electronics, medical prescriptions and so on. From an adaptor to a phone charger, to memory cards and more electronics spare parts, make a list of all what you plan to pack and check what the regulations at your destination are.

Once you have the 3 steps set, it will be easier to start packing your luggage for all your international travel destinations.

What to do before packing your luggage for an international trip

  • Research about your Travel Destination
    What time of the year are you travelling? How will be weather conditions like? Which clothes are best suited for your destination and the planned activities?
  • Go through your travel itinerary
    Make a list of all planned activities: From outdoor, leisure, cultural, entertainment etc. Divide activities by groups and allocate a percentage of time to each category. Start making a packing list according to each category. This list will help you start packing for an outdoor adventure.
  • Choose wisely which clothes and shoes to pack
    Prefer lightweight clothes and outdoor shoes that are light and easy-care. Multi-functional clothes that can be used for different purposes and are easy to combine. Choose clothes and items that are breathable, keep you warm and have maximum protection from wind, rain, sun and dust. If you are heading down under, here is my list on what to wear when travelling in Australia.

Techniques for packing your luggage for a trip

  • Use packing organizers, packing cubes or travel packing bags.
    These are the most common and I like all of them. Depending on the nature of the trip, I will try to use a combination of them or pick those that are more appropriate for your travels. Packing cubes are easy to fill but comes in standard sizes whereas zipped packing bags are not as bulky as packing cubes and easily adjust to your own needs. Prefer transparent packing cubes or see-through bags to easily recognise the items packed in each bag. Check out these handy travel luggage organizers.
  • Map-out your luggage compartments and pack your suitcase accordingly
    By keeping in mind your own luggage map it will be easy to store and locate things, once you need them. There is nothing worse of having to rummage into your bag and trying to find something. A clear luggage map in mind will help you stay organised throughout your travels.
  • Create your own travel packing checklist
    Once you have finalised all the above steps. There is not one-size packing checklist that fits all. Work out your own travel packing list that fits well with your style, your needs-and-wants and go through it. Trim out things that are doubles and triplets and narrow it down with the intention to make a minimalist packing list. This is the best way to control luggage weight and develop your own packing light style.

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A Guide about Packing for International Travel

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About the Author

About the Author: Michela is a passionate traveller and outdoor enthusiast, who has been travelling solo around Australia for +13 years, sharing her adventures to help fellow travellers. She is the founder and publisher of Rocky Travel, the smart travel planning guide for the solo traveller. .

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2 Reader Comments

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  1. Rex says:

    Thanks for the tips. It’s always nice to see different perspectives on packing. Earplugs have been one of the must packs for me. Packing less means being able to bring more home. This is always great for clothes. Bare minimums for me. Thanks again!

  2. Guru says:

    Thanks for sharing great tips.

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