Table of Contents

What To Pack for 2024 – 19 Travel Essentials For Any Vacation

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Everyone deserves a vacation! Whether you plan to take a wild adventure or simply relax on your trip, you’re sure to have a fantastic time. Depending on your destination, it can be hard to remember everything you’ll need to pack for your trip.

We’ve created this comprehensive vacation packing checklist to help you figure out exactly what to pack for your next adventure whether it’s local or international!

We’ll also touch on what to wear on vacation, what NOT to bring, and some useful answers to frequently asked questions.

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Us on vacation in Costa Maya!
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What to Pack for a Trip – 17 Essentials

  • 1. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    Having your own travel towel in an unfamiliar hotel or B&B can be a lifesaver. These microfiber towels weigh less than half a pound and are ultra-packable. You will find yourself using them to dry off after showering or swimming, as a picnic blanket, a beach towel, or to face whatever moisture you come up against! They dry 10x faster than cotton and without a doubt, are perfect for day trips and general travel alike.

    travel towel

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  • 2. Waterproof Phone Case

    A waterproof phone case is a super useful item to pack for your trip. Keep your smartphone safe and protected from the elements while you’re out and about. This one’s great because it even allows you to take photos and videos underwater!

    Waterproof Cellphone

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    An overlooked but incredibly important item to have on a trip is a reliable VPN. Turn it on whenever you connect to WiFi in a public place, such as in an airport, cafe, or hotel to avoid having leaving your sensitive information available to hackers.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

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  • 4. Neck Wallet

    A neck wallet is a must-have item for your trip, no matter where your vacation takes you. Keep your valuable items, like smartphone, wallet, keys, tickets, passport, and more organized and safely tucked away out of reach for pickpockets. This handy neck wallet can be worn around your neck and under your clothes for maximum protection.

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  • 5. LifeStraw Water Bottle

    No matter what you’ll be doing, you can’t go wrong bringing a reusable water bottle with you on your trip. You’ll need to stay hydrated, and using single-use plastic water bottles is expensive and bad for the environment. This LifeStraw water bottle comes with a built-in filter to ensure the water you’re drinking is clean.

    LifeStraw Water Bottle

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  • 6. Universal Power Adapter

    If you’re leaving the country, it’s more than likely that you’ll need a good universal power adapter to plug in your electronics abroad. This one is perfect because it works in over 100 countries and comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee, so you’ll be prepared wherever you’re going!

    Adapter Plug Ports

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  • 7. Activated Charcoal

    On vacation, the last thing you want to worry about is an upset stomach or food poisoning. Bring along these activated charcoal pills to take at the first sign of discomfort, and they’ll quickly absorb and expel toxins in your system to keep you on your feet!

    Activated Charcoal

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  • 8. Packing Cubes

    Packing cubes are an absolute game changer for any trip, big or small! They’ll keep you organized and help you to avoid overpacking, which is important on any type of trip. This particular set is awesome because it comes in a variety of fun colors and includes separate laundry and shoe cases.

    aqua packing cubes

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  • 9. Jet Lag Relief

    If your trip is taking you overseas, you’ll want to protect yourself against the nasty effects of jet lag. These homeopathic jet lag relief pills act as both a prevention and a cure, so you’ll be feeling great and ready to explore during the first day of your vacation.

    Jet Lag Relief

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  • 10. Lipstick Sized Portable Charger

    A handy thing to have on any type of trip is a compact lipstick-sized portable charger. You’ll never have to worry about your phone running out of battery at an inconvenient time, especially if you’re relying on it for photos, navigation, music, communication, and more.


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  • 11. Gorgeous Outfit

    Regardless of the type of trip you’re going on, it’s a good idea to pack at least one gorgeous outfit because you just never know! This jumpsuit is cute, affordable, versatile, and looks great on a variety of body types. Wear it to dinner or for a night out on the town.


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  • 12. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    Especially if your travel destination is particularly wet or rainy, you’ll be glad you packed a sturdy windproof travel umbrella. Useful in day to day life when you return from your trip, this umbrella packs down small and can fit two people beneath it when expanded.

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  • 13. Daypack

    It’s a great idea to bring along a reliable daypack for your trip. Perfect for day trips and excursions, this one is lightweight, durable, and large enough to hold a change of clothes, water bottle, snacks, valuables, and anything else you might need during a day of exploring.

    pink daypack

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  • 14. Travel Insurance

    If your trip is bringing you more than 100 miles away from home, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got good travel insurance to protect your trip. is always our number one choice because they cover a wide range of activities and pay for the costs of flight cancellations, lost or stolen items, and emergency medical. Plus, you can compare policies from top companies to find the best option for you.

    Travel Insurance

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  • 15. Pashmina Shawl

    A pashmina shawl or scarf is an infinitely useful and versatile item to bring on any trip. Use it to keep warm on a chilly evening, to cover your shoulders or head at religious sites, as a swimsuit cover up, picnic blanket, curtain, and so much more.


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  • 16. Affordable Waterproof Camera

    An affordable waterproof camera will capture the best parts of your trip from unique angles, including underwater! This one is awesome because it’s durable, compact, and can easily be thrown in your purse or daypack to use whenever you need it.

    Affordable Waterproof Camera

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  • 17. Cooling Towels

    Does anyone else get a bit crabby when they get hot? (Hands please!) This cooling towel is great for the entire family because I think we all hate memories of near melt-downs in 90-degree weather. All those potentially disastrous moments — waiting in line to see an attraction with crying little ones with no shade in sight… or walking to get the train mid-August in a humidity-induced daze — have since faded away simply because I discovered this remarkable little towel! It’s non-toxic, chemical-free and once you wet the material, the ice cold cooling effect lasts for 30-60 minutes. Want it to get cool again? Just wet, ring out, and repeat. It also comes in a compact carry case that keeps my other belongings from getting damp. Boom.

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  • 18. Anti Blister Balm

    This anti-blister balm will truly be a godsend if you plan to do a lot of walking or hiking during your trip. Simply apply some of this to your feet before putting on your shoes to prevent uncomfortable blisters that could ruin your vacation!

    Anti-blister balm

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  • 19. Swimsuit Cover Up

    If you’re heading somewhere with a beach or a pool, you’ll be glad you brought a trendy swimsuit cover up like this one. Throw it on over your swimsuit before stopping into a beach bar or cafe. We love this one because it’s cute, comfortable, and affordable.

    Swimwear Crochet Dress

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What to Wear on Vacation

What to wear on your trip will really depend on the destination. No matter where you’re going, do your best not to overpack as you won’t want to lug around a heavy suitcase and you’ll want to leave room in your luggage for souvenirs!

It’s important to consider the season, weather, and what types of activities you’ll be doing during your trip to determine what type of clothing you’ll be wearing. Note that in the northern hemisphere, summers are warm to hot and winters are mild to cold wherever you go. However, in the southern hemisphere, seasons are switched, so September through March will be warm and April through August will be colder.

If you’re headed somewhere where the culture tends to be more conservative or if you’re planning to visit religious sites, make sure you bring breezy clothing that isn’t too tight or revealing and will cover your shoulders, chest, and knees. Don’t forget a swimsuit for warmer destinations, and a fleece jacket for cooler locations.

What Should WOMEN Wear on Any Trip? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

Depending on the destination, women should do a bit of research and try to dress accordingly. Respect the cultural norms and make sure you’re dressed appropriately in more conservative cultures. In European destinations, women tend to dress in smart, dark colored clothing. In Africa, women opt for brightly colored, more conservative attire. In Asia, Australia, and North and South America, it’s best to look relatively put together and to dress for the season.

What Should MEN Wear on Any Trip? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

Men should dress appropriately for the destination they’re traveling to. Depending on the weather, season, and activity, men should seek to fit in and try not to wear overtly “touristy” clothing. You can never go wrong opting for neutral colored clothing regardless of your destination. Bring at least one nice outfit, including long pants, a button down shirt, and attractive non-sneaker shoes.

How to dress for different activities on vacation – (Click to expand)

Beaches – If you’re heading to the beach, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit! It’s wise to bring a trendy cover up to throw on over your suit so you can easily head into a beach bar or cafe. Bring flip flops, a beach bag, some sunscreen, and you’re good to go!

Nightlife – Depending on where you are and what you’re doing, nightlife attire can vary widely. If you’re planning to hit the clubs in Barcelona, opt for a chic outfit with high heels, a button down and nice, dark colored shoes (no sneakers) for men. If you’re just going out to dinner or are planning to hit some chill bars, a stylish but more casual outfit and nice sandals or flats will do just fine.

Hiking and Camping – Depending on how hardcore your hiking and camping experience will be, and depending on the weather, you’ll want to dress accordingly. In cooler destinations like Patagonia, don’t forget a warm hat and gloves and be prepared to layer. In warmer climates, zip-off hiking pants, a light jacket, and sturdy hiking boots will be what you need.

Exploring Cities – Regardless of the city you’ll be exploring, it’s important to wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking. If your destination is notoriously rainy, bring a windproof umbrella and a rain jacket. Try to look put together and opt for neutral clothing to best fit in in most of the world’s cities.

Religious Sites – If you plan to enter mosques, churches, synagogues or any other holy or religious sites during your trip, be sure to dress appropriately and cover up. Women will want to have their shoulders, chest, knees, and potentially head covered, while men will usually need to have their shoulders and knees covered as well.

What NOT to bring on a trip

  • 1.DON’T PACK unnecessary valuables

    Bringing too many electronics and flashy jewelry puts you at risk of breaking, losing, or having your precious valuables stolen. Bring only the essentials and leave the rest at home!

  • 2.DON’T TAKE too much stuff

    Regardless of your destination or the duration of your trip, you won’t want to be bogged down by overpacking. Bring just what you need and try to pack versatile items that can be worn more than once.

  • 3.DON’T BRING too much cash

    It’s better to only keep what you need on you at any given time to protect against pickpockets. Bring an international ATM card with no fees so you’ll be able to take out more cash whenever you need it.

  • 4.DON’T BRING liquids in larger quantities than TSA approved amounts

    If you’re flying to your destination, don’t end up in a situation where TSA makes you toss out the liquids you brought! Use these handy TSA approved travel-sized bottles instead.

  • 5.DON’T PACK stereotypically “touristy” clothes

    Avoid Hawaiian shirts, fanny packs, neon-colored clothing, socks with sandals, and the list goes on. Looking like a tourist puts you at a much higher risk for pickpocketing and petty theft.

  • 6.DON’T TAKE a bath towel

    Traditional bath towels are bulky and take forever to dry. Instead, opt for a quick drying microfiber travel towel like this one. It’s lightweight and compact so it’ll take up minimal space in your luggage.

What clothing should I NOT wear on vacation – (Click to expand)
Don’t wear clothing that identifies you as an obvious tourist, like fanny packs and hawaiian shirts, if you’re heading to a crowded, cosmopolitan city. Exceptions to that will be in beachy or naturally touristy destinations, or if you’re going camping or to a festival and want to dress the part.

As a general rule, try to leave expensive items and flashy jewelry at home, as those things tend to make tourists a target for pickpocketing and petty theft. In traditionally religious regions, such as South America or the Middle East, avoid wearing overly revealing clothing and opt for loose fitting attire with more coverage instead.

FAQs about going on vacation

  • 1. What’s the best way to get around in my destination?

    Depending on where you’re traveling to, you’ll want to look into the fastest, cheapest, or most convenient ways of getting around in your destination. In Europe, for example, it’s often fastest and cheapest to take quick, cheap flights or to utilize the region’s expansive train system. Do some research before you to figure out if you’ll mostly be walking, biking, or taking cabs or public transit within your travel destination.

  • 2. Can I use my smartphone in a foreign country?

    Some smartphone data providers offer plans where you can pay a certain amount, say $10 per day, to use your smartphone abroad. You can also get your smartphone “unlocked” and simply replace the SIM card with a cheap, local SIM card once you arrive in your destination. Local carriers often provide cheap data options to use while you’re abroad. If all else fails, you can use your phone’s internet with no charge any time you are connected to WiFi in a foreign country.

  • 3. What are some good apps for travel?

    There are tons of apps out there that can be super helpful while you’re traveling. Google Maps and Google Translate are both really useful for navigation and communication while abroad. is great for offline maps, and Uber is good to have if it’s available in your destination. WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook Messenger are all useful communication apps that many people use while abroad. Duolingo and Pimsleur both offer fun ways to learn a new language which can help you practice before you go!

  • 4. Is it safe to stay in hostels?

    Usually, yes, it is safe to stay in hostels. I love using or because they’ll offer reliable ratings and reviews so you can get a good feel for where you’re staying before you go. Hostels are a cheap, clean, and social alternative option to staying in hotels or Airbnbs, often well-located and catering to young people. Most hostels have someone working at the front desk 24 hours a day and utilize some amount of security precautions.

  • 5. How can I make friends if I’m traveling alone?

    Traveling solo is an amazing experience, and if you ever have the opportunity to give it a try, you definitely should! When you put yourself out there, making friends while traveling is easy. Sign up for a free walking tour, take a class, or attend a conversational meetup.

  • 6. Do I need to get a visa for my trip?

    It’s important to find out whether or not you’ll need a visa before embarking on your trip. CIBT Visas is a reliable online resource to figure out if you need a visa for your destination and if yes, how to go about getting one.