One essential to carry-on travel, in my experience, is to have complete packing lists. They make both the challenges and benefits work better. Not only do they make sure I won’t forget things, but they keep me from over-packing! Which, by the way, experts feel is the number one travel mistake.
Not everything on this list gets packed for every trip. Take only what you need.
Wardrobe: (Including what you have on)
|2-4 Pants, shorts, or skirts||Neutral colors, quick-dry fabrics or jeans|
|4-6 Shirts, blouses, or tops||In colors that make a capsule wardrobe|
|1 Dressy jacket or cardigan||+ Neck tie or 2 Silk scarves (more outfits)|
|1 Outdoor jacket or coat||+ Travel umbrella ?|
|1 Shawl or pashmina||Double as throw or swimsuit cover|
|1 Swimsuit or thermal underwear||(Or shorts for swimming)|
|2 pair Shoes||Packed in cloth bags (odors/dirt);
Shoes that work as both shoes/slippers, etc.
|3 pair Socks/hose||1 to wear, 1 to wash, 1 clean|
|3 sets Undergarments||1 to wear, 1 to wash, 1 clean|
|1-2 sets Sleep wear||Sweat suits or swimsuit covers do double-duty|
|1 Belt||Emergency suitcase handle or Tourniquet|
|1 Hat + Gloves||For sun/rain or cold|
|1 Bandana||Scarf, headband, hair tie, neck tie|
|2 cloth Handkerchiefs||For nose, as wash cloth, emergency sanitary pad|
Laundry & Toiletries:
|1 bag Soap nuts or organic soap powder||No liquids to spill or get through customs|
|1 Universal sink stopper||Fits any sink|
|1 Laundry bag||Keeps refolded dirty clothes separated|
|1 Homemade travel clothesline (clothespin free)||Or buy one here.|
Note: if I’m out of laundry soap powder, I take a bar Laundry soap instead.
|Soap + shampoo||Both in bars (no liquids)|
|Deodorant||Stick or crystal (no liquids)|
|Toothbrush + tooth powder||No liquids|
|Waxed Dental floss + needle||Thread, tie things, fire starter, shoe laces, clothesline,
cut food, quiet drippy faucet, cutter cuts threads
|Coconut oil||Hand/skin cream, makeup remover, shaving cream,
aftershave, hair conditioner, baby lotion, lip balm
|Comb/brush + mirror||Mirror: signal reflection in emergency|
|Nail clipper + file + razor||Snip threads, shave sweaters|
|1 Towel + 1 wash cloth||Peshtemals, fast-drying, compact, lightweight – but huge!
Towel doubles as robe, sheet/blanket, and many things!
|Bandana||Wash cloth, hair towel|
|Hair dryer||Travel-size, dual voltage|
Tools & Repairs:
|Compass||For map-reading in a metropolis or wilderness travel|
|Carabiner clips||Clip bags together, clip items to bags, hang up flashlight|
|Whistle||Calling a taxi, self-defense, emergencies|
|Suitcase locks||Even for carry ons in overhead bins to prevent theft|
|Door lock||Hotel, train, etc.|
|Eyeglass repair kit|
|Sewing kit||Buttons, needles + threader, safety pins, threads (thread braid)|
|Safety pin uses:||Repair hems; Hold drapes, pockets, bag/purse zippers shut;
Replace buttons & zipper pulls; Clothespins; Secure bandages
|Leatherman tool||(Not in carry ons)|
|Extra shoe laces||Also use as carry cords, make-shift suitcase handles, tying things|
Tiny Repair Kit: (in own case; see above)
|Rubber bands/elastics:||Bookmarks, keep items together, non-slip hangers|
|Small binder clips||Bookmarks, protect razor blades, keep items together|
|Bread twist ties||Keep things together, fasten luggage tags, zipper pulls|
|Lengths of cord, twine, string||Tying things together, pants legs shut (anti-insect)|
|Matches||Strike as air freshener, light fires|
Comforts & Paperwork:
|Travel blanket||Of lightweight viscose (held rolled by elastic band)|
|Bandana (from clothing)||Use as eye mask or window shade on car/train/bus|
|Eye mask + Ear buds||Wrap ear buds around square plastic bread clips|
|Reading material||Small, lightweight; device batteries can run down|
|Mini playing cards||Measure less than 1 x 2.5 inches (2.5 x 6.35 cm)|
|Small notebook||Make your own minimalist notebook|
|Tiny Post-it® notes||Bookmarks, leave a note|
|Addresses||Either a book or on device|
|Phone calling cards||Don’t forget to take phone numbers & country access codes|
|Documents & Valuables||Passports, visas, IDs, licenses, tickets, reservations, vaccinations
Money, bank cards, credit cards, personal checks;
Security pouch (to wear under clothes);
(Keep copies, scans, or photos of documents separately)
Travel aids & Special items:
|Day pack||I use either my zip-off backpack OR
Compact, foldable nylon backpack from IKEA®
|Tiny purse||See below|
|Maps, Guide books, Phrase books||Or photocopies of pertinent pages|
|Laptop or tablet + charger||+ adapter?|
|Phone + charger||+ adapter?|
|Computer key, SD card||Data storage|
|Camera + charger||Also use as a “visual notebook“|
Health & 1st Aid:
1st Aid Medicines: (plus recommended natural remedies):
|White willow||Pain & fever|
|Frankincense & Devil’s claw||Anti-inflammatory, pain|
|Probiotic cultures (pill form)||Diarrhea, intestinal & tummy troubles|
|Ginger/Dried ginger root (sugar-coated)||Motion sickness, nausea, colds, flu|
(with 2 drops of ea. essential oil as insect repellent)
|Colds, flu, sunburn, sunscreen (SPF 4),
cold sores, Repellent: tea tree, citronella, peppermint
|Tea tree cream||Wounds (antibiotic), anti-itch, after bite (insect)|
|Arnica cream||Sprains, strains, bruises (external use ONLY)|
|ALWAYS seek advice from health professional||before taking or using any medicine or remedy!!|
Medical & Sanitary Supplies:
Special tip: Pack these in a cute cosmetic pouch that could double as an evening bag; tip from Onebag.com.
|Band aids, gauze, medical tape||Band aids for blisters, butterfly band aids|
|Antiseptic wipes||For when water is unavailable|
|Tweezers & Scissors||Scissors in carry on?|
|Pack of tissues||Emergency toilet paper|
|Bandana (from clothing)||Tourniquet; sun shade (for back of neck); face mask (dust);
wrap sprains; anti-mosquito neck scarf
|Women’s sanitary needs||Moon cup is reusable|
|3rd world health/sanitary needs||See Onebag.com’s suggestions|
|Prescription medications||Plus copies of Doctor’s prescriptions|
|Insurance paperwork||+ vaccination records|
|Other over-the-counter medications||Or herbal teas|
Food & Picnic Supplies:
|Granola-type bars||Don’t crumble, keep well & good energy boosters|
|Cheese & bread sticks||Store well out of fridge & good nutrition|
|Fruit & Fresh vegetables||Stores well & good nutrition|
|Sandwich (in reusable bag)||Olive oil & vinegar not mayonnaise;
pack lettuce & tomato separately
|Water bottle||Refillable (possibly even collapsible)|
|Collapsible cup||For wine, juice, cola, etc.; use as toothbrush holder|
|Fork, knife, spoon (mini camping set)||+ IKEA® paring knife with own protective sheath|
|Corkscrew||What’s a picnic without wine?|
|Collapsible bowl (Tupperware®) + lid||Doubles as dish pan, laundry tub; Use lid as plate|
|Cloth napkin + bandana (with clothing)||Bandana doubles as place mat, dish rag, or dish towel|
Now, lest I get accused of perjury, I want to state that my packing list has ideas I’ve gleaned from various places.
There are many great sites out there that discuss minimal or simple travel, and I’ve learned so much from them! We’re just apprentices. But I’ve published my packing lists because they’re tailored a bit more to our needs. And I always know right where to find them!
And one last thing. Here are two of my most special items:
I don’t take my regular purse when traveling. Our special luggage (a small backpack on wheels) comes equipped with a handy zip-off, smaller backpack.
As most of our travel is for ministry (or business, you could say), this works great. It’s made for carrying either a tablet or up to 15-inch laptop. And has a handy organizer section where we can keep office supplies organized.
And this makes taking a larger purse both unnecessary and a nuisance. So I travel with this handy tiny purse. With car travel, Mario likes taking his regular bag along. Because yes, men carry bags here in Europe! And he loves his “man bag,” as he’s never liked sitting on wallets. But I also take his tiny (red) bag along, because I can take any necessary liquids along in it. And if we take a day trip, he can just grab the tiny bag instead.
You know how most women have little cosmetic pouches in their bags?
Well, to simplify my packing, I keep my tiny purse right inside my everyday handbag. When it’s travel time, I just pull it out, and I’m ready to go. I always keep pen, paper, phone charger, camera charger, etc. in my smaller zip-off backpack, so all I need are the extra essentials I keep in the tiny purse! It sure has simplified things!
Have you ever tried traveling with just one carry on bag? Even if you don’t think you could do it, give it a try!
Because travel should be about good memories and new experiences. Not aching backs and stress! Buon viaggio!