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Things you must pack for your trip

How to pack for a trip abroad.  Prepare yourself before travelling abroad.  Things you must pack before you trip.

I’ve traveled to over 50 countries around the world, so I’m a seasoned traveler.  Every time when I want to travel, I leave an open suit case in my solarium or somewhere that’s not in the way.  I do this about one week before my trip date.  I would throw items in the suit case as they come to mind.  Trust me, no matter how prepared you are, you will always forget something.  Thus, this is why I created this list. 

Bath Bag

Bath Bag - Purchase a few nylon bags to hold all your bath items.  Make sure it's light and collapsible.

Floss - sure many countries have this.  But is this something you want to look for when arriving at 1am in the morning?

Electric toothbrush or regular toothbrush

Electric toothbrush charger – Most Asian countries uses 220V plugs.  Make sure that your charger supports this standard otherwise the fuse will blow.

Toothpaste – Make sure these are travel size toothpaste. You can purchase these at the dollar store.  Place them in your liquid zip lock bag before your flight.

Face wash – Everyone’s skin is different and thus everyone requires a particular face wash.  The last thing you want is to use the hotel soap as face wash.  Place them in your liquid zip lock bag before your flight. To prevent messy spills, unscrew the lids and place a simple patch of saran wrap on the top and screw them back on. This will prevent any liquids from ruining your trip.

Soap – If you do pack your own soap, wrap it in a wash cloth, and place it in a zip lock bag to prevent it from leaking.

Hair products - For the guys, hair wax or gel.  For the females, purchase small 4oz bottles and pour your favorite shampoo products in each.  Properly label each bottle.  Try to limit the number of bottles to four  - shampoo, conditioner, hair treatment, face wash.  Place them in your liquid zip lock bag before your flight.

Scapicin -Your scalp might not be equipped to handle dry locations causing it to constantly itch. Bring a bottle of Scapicin to relieve scalp itch. Make sure it's within 4oz and placed in a zip lock bag if you intend to fly.

Shaving Razor - If you're going to bring an electric shaver, be aware that most of the world uses 220V  electrical outlets.  Make sure your shaver supports this otherwise purchase a voltage adapter.

Shaving Cream - Purchase a small bottle from the dollar store.  Place this in the liquid zip lock bag as well.

Scissors - If you are checking in a luggage, pack a pair of small scissors. You will always need a pair of scissors.

Suction Cups - For any sore spots from walking all day, suction cups does wonders to a sore spot by drawing blood to the area.

Q-tips – Hotel Q-tips never have enough cotton on them.  Bringing your own allows to clean your ears and great for removing nail polish.  Place this in a zip lock bag to prevent them from getting dirty.

Band-aids  - Bring about 50 bandages.  One cut goes through about 10 bandages before it heals.    Place this in the same zip lock bag as the Q-tips.  This will prevent them bandages from getting dirty.

Neosporin - This is a topical medication to prevent cuts from getting infected.  Place this in the same zip lock bag as the bandages.

Deodorant - You will be spending all day visiting various tourist attractions.  Don't forget to take care of your sweat.

Tweezers - Great for plucking unwanted eyebrows or nose hairs.  You can also use this to get rid of nasty splinters during your trip.

Contact solutions - (optional) This obviously only affects people wearing contacts.

Glasses - Your contacts may irritate your eyes during the trip. Make sure you bring a pair of glasses for backup.

Eye drops There are times when allergy or dust gets in your eyes.  China is known for the poor air quality.  Purchase a trusted brand that works well with your eyes.

Eczema cream– If you normally have eczema, going to dry places (ie Middle East) will cause your skin to be more drier.  Finding eczema cream in a foreign land is a nightmare.  Place them in your liquid zip lock bag before your flight.

Retainers (optional) - This obviously only affects people wearing retainers.

Aloe Vera – Purchase a small tube of aloe vera.   When you travel, you're constantly in the sun.  This dries up your skin and cause it to crack.  Aloe vera keeps your skin constantly moist and prevents inflammation.

Suntan lotion – Check if the weather warrants for this.  Even on cloudy days, I would recommend wearing sun screen since you will be out and about for many hours. Place them in your liquid zip lock bag before your flight. To prevent messy spills, unscrew the lids and place a simple patch of saran wrap on the top and screw them back on. This will prevent any liquids from ruining your trip.

Mosquito  spray - Check if the city you're traveling to has a mosquito problem this time of year.  Make sure the spray is within 4oz.  Place them in your liquid zip lock bag before your flight.

Itch cream - From mosquito to bed bugs, you always need itch cream.  Nothing ruins a good night sleep like an itchy body.

Tampons and pads

Nail clippers – In dry areas, your skin will become dry and thus cause you to have hang nails.  Additionally, since airlines don’t allow you to bring scissors, you can also use nail clippers to cut off price tags.

Touch up nails polish – After one week of traveling, you are sure to chip your nail polish.  Bring a small bottle to touch up.  Place them in your liquid zip lock bag before your flight.

Alcoholic wipes - Use this to clean off your old nail polish.  It can also be used to disinfect cuts or scrapes.

Makeup - Bring only the necessary makeup that don't require much space.

Poo-pouri - If you're planning on sharing a room with someone, consider getting poo-pouri. One drop into the toilet after you're done your business will instantly clear away any bad odors.

Zip lock bags - purchase brand name zip lock bags that don't break easily every time you open it.  This is needed to pack all your liquids during the flight.  Place the zip lock full of liquids in your backpack so that it's easily accessible during the airline security checkpoint.


Pepto Bismol - Get a big bottle of Pepto Bismol.  Place it in a zip lock bag and customs will normally let you go even though it's way beyond 4oz.  They prefer that you not throw up on the flight.

Sleeping pills - Some people find this as a remedy for jet lag.

Altitude sickness - This is required if you're traveling to a high altitude location

Birth control - Make sure you have enough birth control pills during the entire trip including any flight delays. The last thing you want is a surprise 9 months from now.

Nausea / Gas / Heartburn - Be prepared to get some stomach issues eating foreign food.

Canker sore patches or sprays - when you're constantly traveling along with lack of sleep, your immune system will cause canker sores to break open.   Be prepared by bringing patches or sprays.

Pain medication - Aspirin, Ibprofen, Aleve

Muscle rub / Pain patches - After a full day looking at tourist attractions, your feet will be sore.

Massager - bring a personal massager to massage your feet after a long day of walking.

Massage Balls
- bring these balls along with you during the day.  Anytime you're resting, roll your feet over these balls and your feet are automatically rejuvenated.  You're now all refreshed to walk again.  They are about 2 for $10.


Feet arches - Strut Sole Angels helps reduce heel, arch, ball of foot, knee, hip and lower back pain and reduces discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis.

Clothing Items

Socks – Hand wash and dry them while you rotate through your pile. Pack thin and thick socks if you have different size feet.

Compression socks – This helps with the blood flow during your long walks.

– Hand wash and dry them while you rotate through your pile.

Shorts – Make sure you have lots of pockets to carry stuff.

Shoes – Grab your most comfortable pair of walking shoes that matches most of your outfits.  It's best to stick with a dark colored shoe.

Jeans – I’d recommend bringing two pairs - one blue and one black.

Belt – Don’t forget your belt to hold up your pants.

Hooded Sweater – The hooded sweater could be used as a light jacket during cold flights and cold nights.

Jacket with hood – The hood will protect you from the wind or rain.

Portable Turtleneck – The person sitting next to you might turn on the air conditioning and blast it your way. Wear a turtle neck to protect yourself.

Scarf – Scarves are great to protect your neck during cold flights and cold nights.

Slippers - Flip flops are great for lounging around the hotel or beach

Umbrella / Hat – Umbrellas are really clunky to carry during a trip so I prefer wearing a hat.  Hats also shades you from the sun.  Only bring an umbrella along if there's a very high chance of rain.

Sunglasses - Everyone looks great in photos when they are wearing sunglasses.  Make sure you bring along a small hard case to protect the sunglasses during the flight.  During your travels, just carry it by hooking it onto the top of your shirt.  The ladies can also use it as a head band.

Dresses and dress shirts - for the fancy restaurant

Dress shoes or Heels – If you intend on going to fancy restaurants, check their dress code.  If  needed  bring a nice pair of dress shoes or heels.  Make sure they are comfortable heels.  You may want to wear it on regular days as well.  For the guys, if possible, try to get away with using black runners.  Shoes take up the most room in a luggage.

Purse - Bring a purse that is large enough for your sunglasses but small enough to fit your second carry on bag.

Jewelery - Don't forget to bring your wedding rings or any costume jewelery. Use a pill container to keep jewelry organized and untangled.

Money belt – A money belt is a belt you wear underneath your clothing.  You would place you valuables in the belt to protect it from thieves.  For any third world or dangerous countries, I’d recommend carrying a money belt.  The money belt should only include enough money for the night, a credit card, and your room key. Store some spare money in an empty chapstick tube.


Electric Plug converters - Check the required plug adapter for your travels at this webpage :

Smart phone - Load all the music but make sure you leave enough space for photos and videos you may take during the trip.

Ipad –  Download all your You tube videos you want to catch up on during your flight.  Use your iPad and download "MyTube for YouTube" app.  This app is free and will allow you to download any Youtube videos. The TSA has the right to get you to unlock you ipad. Make sure you do not have any private items that you don't want security to see.

External Power – Bring along an external power bank to charge your phone during the long flights. Bring them along with you during your travels to charge them during the day.

Headphones – Bring two headphones just in case one breaks.  I'd recommend using ear buds over headphones.

Speaker Amplifier – Bring a speaker amplifier if you want to listen to your music in your hotel room with louder volume. I recomment using this portable amp for iPhone

GPS – If you’re renting a car, bring your own GPS to save some money.  Make sure the maps for the destination country is loaded onto the GPS.  For example, during long walks in Canada I use the GPS to find my location.  I can’t use Google maps on my iPhone since I don't have service in the country.

Camera / SD Card / Charger – Don’t forget to get a large enough SD card for all your videos.

Sim Cards Keepgo Sim Cards allow you to use data and phone between different countries.

Ipad SD Card Reader -If you're planning to take a lot of photos or video during your trip, you will run out of memory on your camera.  To resolve this, purchase an camera card reader for your iPad. Copy all the photos from your SD card onto your iPad.  From your iPad, you can back it up onto your iCloud or Dropbox account so that it's safe.  The SD card that I recommend is called a Sharkk 5 in 1 Card Reader.  Detailed instructions on how to set this up are located here :

Mini-tripod – When you don’t have anyone to take the photo, use the camera timer and place it on a tripod.  You will always get the shot that you want.

Ipad/Iphone chargers - Always bring a two chargers in case one breaks or gets lost. You can also use the TV's USB port in your hotel room.

Powerstrip - This is great for hotels when you only have one plug converter. This is also great for airports when there are only a limited amount of plugs.

Travel wireless acess point - Some hotels rooms only offer an ethernet network cable to plug into your laptop. But what if all you have is an iPad or smart phone that requires wireless internet access. A travel wireless access point allows you to plug into the network cable and provide secured wireless access within your room.

Baby Items

Formula - Purchase 2 oz portable formula bottles. These can be stored in room tempurature for longer periods until the cap seal is opened.

Baby Food / Spoons - If your baby can eat solids, bring portable packs of solid and don't forget to pack a few plastic spoons.

Clothes - Pack a few t-shirts and sweaters. This gets dirty the easiest since they drool and eat with these clothes. Pack only 1 pair of pants and jackets. A few socks.

Bibs - Make sure you pack about 3 bibs for the flight and 5 for the check-in. Wash and rinse the bibs and dry them everynight. Bring the waterproof plastic ones if your baby is eating solids.

Baby Bjorn - This is a necessity during long flights. It allows you to walk around or hold your baby without relying on your arms.

Stroller - Purchase the Pockit stroller. This is the most compact stroller in the industry right now. It does not require a curbside check in since it fits perfectly fine in the overhead luggage compartments on the airplane.

Diapers - Estimage the average amount of diapers your baby goes through and times it by the amount of days gone. Add 10 extra diapers to be certain. Pack a small amount of diapers for the airplane ride and a the rest goes into your check in luggage. Once everything is used up by the end of the trip, the extra luggage space can be used for souvenirs.

Wipes - Bring a large pack of wipes in the check in and a small pack for the airplane.

Entertainment - Download youtube videos of your favorite shows and store it on your iPad. This will keep them quiet during the long flight.

Airplane Items

Trip information - Print out your flights, hotels, tours and transportation information (car rental or hotel shuttle).

Carry-on Luggage - Make sure that it conforms to the airline's size guidelines.  If possible, do not check in any bags.  If there's a transfer between flights, and the transfer time is too short, your bags will not make it to the final destination.  This small problem can ruin your entire trip if you don't have your luggage with you.

Large backpack - Go out and find the largest back pack that you can get.  Most airlines are more concerned about the size of your carry-on luggage that they don't notice the size of your back pack.

Wallet – Take out any unnecessary items.  All you need is money, 2 credit card, 1 debit card, driver’s license, travel health insurance card, travel insurance information, and auto insurance card.

Money - Withdraw about $400 and hide $200 in one of your socks.  Hide that sock in your shoe.  Try to use your credit card as much as possible.   If you ever run out of money, use your debit card and withdraw more cash as needed. I don't recommend travel checks since it costs money and very hard to exchange.

Tip Money - Withdraw $20 worth of US one dollar bills.  This will be accepted anywhere in the world as tip money.  I once had to borrow a cell phone and luckily had some singles to tip the person.

Foreign currency– If possible, exchange your money before hand otherwise you will have to exchange your money at the airport.  This may be a problem because 1) Expensive processing fees 2) Require a minimum exchange amount 3) They might not be open if you land in the city late at night and require to pay for a taxi to the hotel. If you do have to exchange it at the airport, find an ATM. They offer much lower rates than what you can get from the airport currency exchanges. On your last day in a foreign country, use all your money to pay for your check in luggage. If you still have money left, purchase snacks for the airplane ride. Everything else, place it into a donation jar found throughout the airport.

Magazines – Subscribe to a bunch of magazines using your spare air miles.  Accumulate them and read them during your trips.

Ear plugs – Purchase ear plugs if you have a long flight.  Sometimes there are renovations or construction around the hotel.  It's best to be prepared.

Pens - Some places require you to fill out customs form before entering their country.  Make sure you have a few pens easily accessible.

Neck pillow – Purchase an neck pillow for long flights.  Make sure it's inflatable so that it doesn't take up too much room in your luggage.  Make sure it there's a button to instantly deflate the pillow to save time.

Sleep Mask – Sometimes during flights, the person beside you turns on the light so they can read. Hotels facing east may have light curtains, allowing the morning sun to shine through.  Sleep masks are a great way to keep things dark during your sleep.

Napkins – Pocket size napkins during the flight to wipe your mouth or nose.

Food – Purchase some snacks and pasteries if your flight does not include meals. For a full meal, pack a large cup of noodle. Just ask for hot water and voila, instant filling meal that is guaranteed to taste good. Some places don't open on Sundays and close early. If you are arriving on Sunday or late in the day, be prepared with some food to last you through the night. Check if your hotel has room service.

Mandarin Oranges - Since water is not allowed through security check points, bring mandarin oranges. It gives you a good shot of vitamin C and quenches your thirst.

Filtered Water Bottle - Since airlines don't allow you to have water bottles, you can make your own filtered water.  I recommend using Bobble bottle.  It's great when you need filtered water in the middle of the night and don't want to crack open the hotel's $4 water bottle. If the country you are travelling to does not require you to filter water, bring an empty water bottle and fill it up after passing security.

Travel insurance information
– Make sure your traveling companion knows how to access this information in case you do end up in the hospital.

Passport – Use your cell phone or tablet and take a photo of your passport (the cover and information page) and all your travel information. If you ever lose your passport, go to your country's embassy and show them the photo of your passport.  This will save a lot of processing time.

Packing Tips

Leave some space - Save some space in your luggage for items you may purchase during the trip. Tip : If you do happen run out of space in your luggage, ask the store for the largest shopping bag. Tip #2 - tie any extra shoes to the outside of your backpack to free up space.

Organize for airport security  - Place the zip lock bag full of liquids in your back pack close to your iPad or computer.

Packing list - Create your own packing list based on this list.  Remove or add any items on the list to fit your needs.  Leave a copy in your luggage so that you can go through this check list every time you travel.  If you don't need the item on a daily basis, leave it in the luggage.  This will prevent you from having to search for various items next time you travel.  Examples include neck pillows, small toothpaste, bath bag, small liquid bottles, etc.

Luggage Markers - Place a "Fragile" sticker on your luggage. Even if it's not, marking your bag with a "fragile" label leads to gentler handling by airport staff. Also, they're often loaded on the top of the other luggage meaning it's one of the first to come out at the baggage claim. If you have a generic looking luggage, consider placing a pink ribbon on the handle so that you can easily identify it. I had my luggage accidentally taken of the carousel. Luckily, I noticed my identifiers and caught it on time.

Dryer Sheets - Put a dryer sheet at the bottom of a suitcase to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

Clothes - Roll your clothese rather than folding it to save on luggage space. Use tissue paper to keep them from wrinkling. Use vacuum seal bags to save space. Pack your suit coats inside out to keep them clean and avoid creasing.

Labels - Once everything is packed, print out two card that says :

If lost, please contact
(###) ###-####
Note : For telephone number, you can setup a Google Voice telephone number
and have that redirected to your cell phone.

Laminate the cards at Office Depot. I printed a bunch and laminated the cards using Scotch Self-Sealing Laminating Pouches.  Locate two locations on the luggage and attach the laminated card to your luggage and back pack using a zip tie.

Things to do the night before you trip

Flight Check in - Most flights allow you to check in 24 hours before the flight.

Baggage Weight - Check the airline's baggage weight limit.  Use a regular scale and place a board on top of it. Weigh the board and then place the luggage on the board. Subtract the board's weight from the total weight.

Itinerary - E-mail a family or friend your itinerary so that they are aware of your whereabouts at any moment.

E-mail Out of Office - Set up your out-of-office reply for your e-mail.  Specify a person they can contact during your absence.

Voice Message - Update the voice mail for your cell phone and work number. Indicate in the message the duration of your trip and who they can contact during your absence.

Credit Card Companies - Contact your bank and credit card company that you will be using your credit and debit card abroad.  List all the countries you are visiting and their duration.

International Calls- Create an account with Skype. This allows you to make phone calls with your smart phone using any wifi internet connection.  This is much cheaper than using calling cards or the hotel telephone.  If you ever need to make a call, go to a coffee shop and you're smart phone can now make calls anywhere in the world for about 3 cents a minute.  Go here to view all the long distance rates :

Car - If you're planning to go on a trip for more than 2 weeks, give you car keys to a friend.  Every two weeks send them an e-mail to remind them to start up the car so that the battery doesn't get drained.

Street Cleaning
- Check if your car is parked on the street legally during your trip. Some cities require you to move your car for street cleaning.

Remote Computer Access
- Go to Log me in and install their software. It's a free service that allows you to access and control your laptop from anywhere in the world using another computer or iPad.

Charge Battery - Fully charge your cell phone, iPad, and camera.  You want to have the maximum battery life during your long flights.

Left Over Food - Donate good food that will go bad once you come back.  Watermelon is a good example.

Mail - Contact the post office to hold your mail during the duration of your trip.

Flyers - Get a neighbor or friend to pick up any flyers in front of your home twice a week.  Burglars notices when unoccupied homes have fliers left on their doorsteps.

Transportation - Arrange transportation to the airport ahead of time so they can prepare their staff.  If you have a car, try using Greenbee Parking.  It gives you daily parking rates for hotels near the airport.  You will then drive you car to the hotel and park it there.  An airport shuttle will then drive you to the airport every half an hour. For example, daily parking in San Francisco airport is $30.  I got parking at a nearby hotel for only half the price.

Garbage - Throw out all your garbage so that it doesn't decompose.  If it's not garbage day, leave it in your back yard, otherwise you will come home to a nasty smell and fruit flies.

Timers - Turn off any timers in the house such as humidifiers.

Wake up Alarm - Set up two alarms to wake you up.  Wake up at least 3.5 hours before your flight.

Last Minute Check List - Create a list of items you are still using but need to pack on the date.  Examples include toothbrush, cell phone, cell phone charger, hair gel, deodorant, etc

Flight Outfit - Prepare an outfit that you intend to wear on the day of your flight.  This includes your underwear, belts, bra, and jacket.  Find a jacket with lots of pocket and place these items in there :  wallet, passport, wedding ring, headphones, ear plugs, smart phone and pen.  These are items you need to have on you during your flight.

Hotel Maps - Print out the map location of your hotel. Show the street intersections and any landmarks. You can show the taxi driver this map once you land there.

Embassy Maps - Print out the map to your country's embassy in case something happens and you know how to get there.

Things to do on the day of the trip

Last Minute Check List - Collect and perform all items on the last minute check list.

Water Tank Heater - Turn off the water tank heater so that it doesn't have to constantly heat up while you're gone.

House Alarm - Set your house alarm before you leave.

Automatic Light
- Plug a light onto an automatic timer. Set the timer to turn on during the evenings so that burglars think there's someone at home.

Security Checks - During security checks, place your computer and the zip lock bag full of liquid onto the tray. Take your wallet, phone, keys, wedding ring, shoes, and flight ticket place it inside the your shoe. This will prevent your from losing anything.

Wifi Passwords - Download a wifi finder app for your smartphone. Get the WiFi password for many establishments by checking the comments section of FourSquare. Alternatively, you can sit right outside an airport club lounge: Wi-Fi signals often glide through the walls.

Prepare Hotel Location -While you're waiting for your flight, find your hotel on Google maps.  Zoom in until you see the various streets names around the the hotel.  Turn on airplane mode and turn off data to use the GPS without connecting to the internet. To use Google Maps offline, type “OK Maps,” and the visible area will allow you to have a functional map to navigate the area. Keep the app open. 

Once you land in the foreign land, go to the information desk and show them the hotel on Google maps.  They should be able to locate the hotel just using the map's intersection.   The information desk will give your directions based on various transportation methods.  If you chose to walk or take the subway, you will have to rely on this map once you are in the vincinity of the hotel.  If you cannot find your hotel, walk into any hotel and show them your Google map.  They should be able to point you to the right way.

---- That’s it!  You should be all set to travel to your location. Bon Voyage! ----