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What to Pack for a Trip

One Week, Two Weeks, a Month : Travel wardrobe is the same!

What to pack for every trip is almost always the same, with a few minor amendments. I only need a basic travel wardrobe for every trip. Here's how I pack light for a trip:

<< See menu for what to pack by country, time of year, climate: Australia, Haiti, Algarve, Dominican, China, winter climate (Canada) etc.

Not sure what to pack for a trip? Just pack light!

Limit yourself to one checked bag. That should be enough for checked baggage. I also take a back pack or large carryon bag for smaller or important items. See How to Pack Suitcase.

I found a small IKEA string back pack worked really well for day trip use (snacks, water, camera, shopping), yet folded up nice and small in my larger backpack.


TIP! Major airlines are always changing the allowable baggage weight limits. As well, they charging much higher excess baggage fees. Check with your carrier to be sure, as well as for the total number of bags and weights allowed.

The most current information should be included on your airline ticket. But if you book well ahead of your departure date, this too, may change. In these cases, the airline usually sends an email to update baggage details.

Domestic Flight Baggage Allowances differ from International Baggage weight limits:

Take into account all the airlines you will be flying on during your trip. Domestic flights within your destination country (Flights you plan to take within, for example, Chile, Canada, Australia) will have much lower baggage allowances than international flights.

  • Traveller A flew from Toronto (YYZ) with British Airways to London (LHR). In Toronto, she was allowed to carry on her back pack and travel purse (2 items). In London, for the return flight, she had to put her purse into her backpack as she was allowed only one carryon, and that back pack still had to meet the size requirements.
  • Traveller B ~ Checking in at Pearson (YYZ) Toronto Canada, Traveller B had two checked bags, plus a carryon that weighed 33 lbs (well over the 22-lbs limit) and a large purse. Long story short : $125 in excess baggage charges and no valid credit card. We never found out how this was resolved.

What to Pack tips to pack light, and pack smart, and not forget a thing!

Packing Checklist Many travel planning items on your list need to be done only once (photocopy your passport), or updated as needed, such as buying new travel pants ( men, women travel pants).

Before you know it, your own What to Pack List will become second nature. Keep a travel toiletries bag ready to go, and refresh as needed.

The basic rules apply regardless of the climate, though it's more of a challenge for trips that include both hot and cold climates. See travel packing tips for details.

Top 5 Reasons to Pack Light (Lecture Alert)

  1. You will look like a seasoned traveller, not a tourist.
  2. Bellboys do not enjoy lugging heavy suitcases. Really.
  3. It's embarassing to have the airline slap a 'HEAVY' sticker on your luggage.
  4. You should be able to carry your bag up five flights of stairs. Or onto a plane, a bus, a subway. Sometimes, you're all you've got!
  5. You can stow your luggage in the overhead bin (if permitted) and bypass the baggage carousel.

What to Pack is up to you!

It's YOUR trip! No one else really cares if you wear the same thing every day. From what I am wearing in photos of a trip through China, it looks like I traveled the entire country in one day!

And you can always rinse out a few things at night, so take along some laundry soap kit and clothes line (See on Amazon.com). Always remember it's YOU that's taking a trip, not your wardrobe.

You are not obligated to showcase your personal style and trendiness to a host of strangers -- just obliged to cover your body in a socially accepted manner.

How 'What to Pack' tips came to be:

I never used to know what to pack for a trip, so my packing method consisted of tossing much of my wardrobe and toiletries into one enormous, and cruelly over-stuffed suitcase. Is this you?

This practice ended abruptly one day seven years ago, in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. I was leaving to go to the airport for the 5-hour flight to Toronto.

As I heaved this enormous suitcase into the car trunk, something in my back made an ominous and very painful crack that took more than six months of various therapies to put right.

This painful lesson forced me to pack light. On my very next trip (two weeks in Australia), I had a new, smaller, wheeled suitcase, and a very streamlined travel wardrobe. This new suitcase could easily be wheeled down airplane aisles and fits nicely into the overhead bin.

What to Pack Field Tested Tips

Over the years, the more I travel, the more tips come to mind, so these pages have grown. But it's not that hard to do if you first think through your trip itinerary and pack accordingly.

Pack clothing that you can layer to keep comfortable no matter what the weather. It takes some thought and planning but at least you'll be warm when it's cold, and dry when it's wet, and you won't be schlepping a whole whack of useless clothes around.

And you will enjoy your holiday more when you don't have to worry whether or not you'll have enough clothes for your trip. You will. And you won't have to carry around clothes that you won't need or wear.

Changing your long-standing packing habits isn't the easiest thing to do, but once you learn what to pack and to pack light and pack smart, your body will thank you. Best of all, you can relax, knowing that whatever the day brings, you are prepared to handle it!

What to pack applies to every trip, of any length, anywhere:

Pants * Skirts * Shirts, Tops * Shoes, Sandals, Socks Bathing Suits: * Underwear * Sleepwear * Rainwear Ponchos