The Ultimate Packing List for Travellers in 2024

One of the most common questions we’re asked is “what is the ultimate packing list for travellers?”

We’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years. That’s a lot of time to trial different items and products to get the ultimate packing list right.

The Ultimate Packing List for Travellers in 2024

One of the most common questions we’re asked is “what is the ultimate packing list for travellers?”

We’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years. That’s a lot of time to trial different items and products to get the ultimate packing list right.

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

We may earn affiliate commissions from websites we link to, at no cost to you. Click here for details.

The Ultimate Packing List for Travellers

Over the years, we’ve literally packed, unpacked, and repacked thousands of times.

You could say that we’ve learned a thing or two about what items are essential and those that are not.

When we put this ultimate packing list for travellers together, we had just completed an incredible adventure to visit every country in the world

So, how exactly do you pack for long-term travel in all types of climates? What do you pack to ensure you’re prepared for sub-zero temperatures at Base Camp in Tibet and sweltering heat in the Middle East?

We’ve had to consider essential items to get us through many changing climates while respecting several different cultures.

Our ultimate packing list for travellers includes our best packing tips and hints, as well as our favourite travel gear.

The Ultimate Packing List for Travellers

1. How to choose a backpack

We’re firm believers that less is more. Experience has taught us that we can travel with much less than we think we’ll need. We prefer travelling the world with a backpack as opposed to a suitcase. It gives us much more flexibility and freedom to move about easier.

We’ve learned that the more space you have in your backpack, the more things you collect to fill the space. This, in turn, will increase the weight that you carry on your back.

We travel the world independently, which means we spend a lot of time on public transport. We frequently climb up hotel stairs and walk around cities with our backpacks on, trying to find our hotel or pre-booked guesthouse for the night. 

It is absolutely essential that we don’t overpack. After a long travel day, the last thing we want to do is haul a heavy backpack. If the load is lighter, it’s much easier to cope.

We LOVE our Osprey Backpack

We’ve travelled to 100+ countries with the Osprey 40L Farpoint backpack.

The best thing about this backpack is that it is carry-on size and for us, it is the most important item on this ultimate packing list for travellers.

southeast asia packing list

We always carry our luggage on board flights (well, except for that one time we did it and got stranded in the Pacific with no luggage).

Lesson learned – don’t check it in if you don’t want to risk losing it. Oh, and remember to include some patience in your packing list for travellers. It’s a super handy item to have, and you’ll need to get it out regularly.

Our Osprey 40L backpack is the perfect size to squeeze it in the overhead luggage storage. Furthermore, it’s easier on overnight buses or to sit on public buses with it sat on our laps.

It’s difficult to overpack with a 40L-sized backpack. We worked out very quickly what items are essential for our long-term travels.

2. But what if I’m more of a suitcase traveller?

If backpacks just aren’t your thing, or if it’s just not comfortable for you to carry, that’s OK too. This packing list for travellers is suitable for everyone.

It’s cool to travel with a small suitcase too. We’ve had many debates with friends about backpack vs suitcase – which should you choose?

Marty travels with a small carry-on Samsonite suitcase when she worked as a Trip Leader during European Summer. If you’d prefer to roll your belonging along with you, these suitcases are perfect.

RELATED POST – 20 Jobs that PAY YOU to Travel the World

3. Do you need a small day pack?

Travelling with a small day pack is a personal choice. We travel with one as we prefer to keep our valuables with us at all times.

This is especially important when taking overnight train/bus rides. A small day pack is essential to our ultimate packing list for travellers.

We carry this small Osprey day pack

We often lock our large 40L backpack to something stationary when we sleep and our small daypack containing our valuables will remain on our person, inside our silk sleeping sheet while we sleep – it feels much more secure to do this to deter any opportunistic thieves.

When we’re on the move, our small Osprey day pack sits on the front of our body with our Osprey 40L backpack on our backs, this makes it easy to quickly access passports or money.

4. The Ultimate Packing List for Travellers – Clothing

ultimate packing list for travellers
Ultimate packing list for travellers – This is Marty’s pack, ready to see the world!

Below is the ultimate packing list of all the clothes we pack for our worldwide adventures.

TOP TIPS:

On days when we need to take a flight, we need to ensure that our carry-on baggage is well packed and as light as possible. We always wear our heaviest and bulkiest clothes and our heaviest shoes these days. 

This ensures the check-in staff doesn’t have any problems with the size or weight of our carry-on backpacks – meaning we’re ok to board the flight with them.

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5. Shoes

We’d love to travel with more shoes if we could, but it doesn’t make sense to make more than 3-4 pairs of shoes. They’re bulky and they take up vital space in your luggage. Choose your most comfortable and versatile shoes – and leave the others at home. These are our go-to shoes and part of our ultimate packing list for travellers. 

The Ultimate Packing List for Travellers
Our Ultimate Packing List for Travellers includes Birkenstocks. We love them!

6. Accessories/Extras 

how to get to tsingy national park
Ultimate Packing list for travellers must-have shoes for every kind of adventure.

7. Toiletries

We’re lucky to be able to share some toiletries on the road – so it gives one of us a little more room in our backpack. If Marty carries the toiletries, I’ll carry our espresso machine and fresh coffee to evenly share the load.

We try to keep toiletries to a minimum as they can be heavy. We also travel with carry-on baggage, therefore all of our toiletries must be 100ml or less.

  • Hanging Toiletry Bag
  • Small containers (100ml) for refills
  • Shampoo/Conditioner 100ml each
  • Bar of soap
  • shaver/razor (we never have a problem at airports with this in our carry-on)
  • hairbrush
  • Roll-on deodorant
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • Exfoliating shower glove (we found these in Morocco..love them)
  • 100ml sized sunscreen – We like Nivea or Neutrogena brands
  • Nivea face moisturiser SPF30
  • Blistex and lip balm
  • A few pieces of makeup (which we rarely use, but sometimes it feels nice to dress up) 1 tube of foundation, bronzing powder, and brush, 1 mascara

8. Technology/Electronics

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9. Medicine

We have to be entirely honest here – we carry very little medicine with us on our travels. We don’t really believe that you need a massive bag of medicines in your ultimate packing list for travellers.

We try to rely on the fact that food is our medicine – so we try to eat healthy on the road and drink lots of water to avoid falling ill.

Of course, there are times when we have a cracking headache or might suffer from a bout of constipation from the dramatic change in our diet every few days, but other than that, we don’t bother with packing much medicine at all.

Obviously, everybody is different and you can choose to carry more medicine if you need to.

  • Doxycycline Malaria tablets – We spent the majority of 2018 in malaria-affected countries in Africa. We bought a few packets in Australia before we left and for the remaining months we spent travelling in West/Central Africa, we picked them up on route.
  • A few packets of Ibuprofen tablets 500mg
  • A packet of Cold & Flu Tablets
  • Laxatives
  • Sewing needles and some cotton
  • A small bundle of plasters/bandaids

10. Random stuff – The Ultimate Packing List for Travellers

  • Organiser for random cords/electronics
  • Number Coded Padlock
  • Packing cubes to keep random stuff in one place
  • Small laundry bag (to keep dirty laundry separate from clean clothes)
  • A reusable shopping bag
  • Travel Sling Bag (to carry a camera, iPhone, and some cash)
  • A few pens
  • Carabiners (handy to clip shoes onto your bag)
  • Poncho
  • Headphone splitter (so we can watch movies together on our Macbook)
  • Earplugs
  • Eyemask for sleeping
  • Insect Repellent – DEET (can pick up in many countries, so we buy it as we go)
  • travel pouch filled with tea bags, spices and snacks (muesli bars, nuts)
  • Plastic set of eating utensils
  • Corkscrew
  • Deck of playing cards
  • Face wipes
  • Hand Sanitiser
  • Tweezers

If you’re planning on travelling to a continent with only warm temperatures year-round, perhaps our Southeast Asia Packing List might be a better option.

Heading to Europe? Our Packing List for Europe is ready for you!

And, if you’re ready for it – of course, we’ve got the Ultimate Packing List for AFRICA for you.

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11. Lonely Planet Travel Guides

We love Lonely Planet Guide books, and we use them frequently on our travels. They are naturally part of our Ultimate Packing list for travellers.

You can buy the standard guidebook or the E-Book version on your iPhone at any time. This link gives you 10% off all Lonely Planet products.

These guidebooks are really easy to use, the information is regularly updated, and they always have amazing online sales where you can save heaps of cash.

Caribbean Islands Hopping backpacking
Backpacking the Caribbean Islands

So there you have it! Travel anywhere in the world with our ultimate packing list for travellers. Is there something you love to travel with and consider your secret item?

Let us know, and we may add it to our ultimate packing list for travellers.

More Travel Tips

We have so many tips to help you travel more!

These 21 cheapest countries to visit will help you stretch your hard-earned dollars further.

Read our top 6 travel hacks to save money and the 20 best travel apps to make travel easier! 

For food lovers, don’t miss our top 10 best countries for foodies. And, if history is your thing, these 30 amazing historical places worldwide will fascinate you!

We have many tips to save money for travel and consider these 20 jobs that PAY YOU to travel the world to help you travel longer.

If you become a trusted housesitter, you can also get FREE accommodation worldwide. Read more about how this works.

Check out our ultimate packing list for travellers, and remember to pack travel insurance! We recommend these two travel insurance companies for excellent coverage.

Our 12 essential tips for safe travel in any country are worth a read. 

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling the world. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View eSIMs for individual countries, or consider a Global eSIM if you travel to multiple countries or regions. This eSIM connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text eSIM.

The Global eSIM has been a game-changer; we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

If you want to travel with like-minded travellers, consider joining a group tour. Get the best deals on worldwide group tours with Tourradar.

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

Did you enjoy this article? Share it with friends and family!

Travel Planning Resources

✈️ Flights: We use Skyscanner to book cheap flights worldwide.

🏨 AccommodationBooking.com is our preferred platform for booking hotels and accommodation. We use Vrbo to book apartments and long-term stays.

🏥 Travel Insurance: We recommend Heymondo (Get 5% off Heymondo) & SafetyWing

🚌 Transportation: Trainline is the best website to reserve trains. We use Omio to book transport worldwide. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go. 

🚘 Car Rental: We use DiscoverCars to book rental cars worldwide.

👫 Group ToursG Adventures OR compare multi-day tours worldwide with Tourradar.

📸 Day Tours & TripsGetYourGuide & Viator are the only two platforms you need.

📚 Lonely Planet: The Best Range of Travel Guides & Ebooks, and FREE Shipping! (use code RACHELDAVEY10 for a 10% discount)

🎒 LuggageOsprey Farpoint 40L Backpack or Samsonite Luggage Range.

🛄 What to Pack: Don’t forget your Universal charger and a good power bank.  To help you pack the essentials, here is our ULTIMATE Packing List for all Travellers.

🐶 Become a House Sitter: Join Trusted Housesitters and enjoy FREE accommodation worldwide. Use our invite to receive 25% off your new membership.

💰 Send Money Anywhere: WISE & Revolut are the best online accounts that let you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. Both are so easy to use and way cheaper than any bank transfer.

📶 Stay Connected: Airalo eSIM allows you to get connected the moment you land at your destination, and you can avoid those expensive data roaming charges. We LOVE this product! Use promo code NOMAD15 for 15% off ALL eSIMs (new Airalo users only) OR use NOMAD10 for 10% off ALL eSIMs (for existing Airalo users)

✅ Check out our Travel Gear and Travel Resources for more valuable tips to save you money!

Tasty Food Adventures

20 Comments. Leave new

  • You both seem to have this whole packing thing down to a serious art-form. Very impressive! But I guess you’ve had 15 years to think of everything 😀
    This is the second time recently I’ve heard the Nanopresso portable espresso maker mentioned. Gonna have to take a closer look at that. What’s the coffee like from it?

    Reply
  • I think this is the perfect set for travelling. Take about 10 leggings, they are easy to put on and go.

    Reply
  • Hi Rach,

    Awesome list, thank you! The backpack you recommend is great and I can’t wait to be able to travel again to test it.

    All the best and stay safe,
    Dave

    Reply
  • I’ll go for Go Pro camera. If someone is planning for a hiking at night, they should bring a thermal or night vision camera with them too. They really come in handy. The things that are mentioned here are necessary. I have some experience with tour and I know how much I missed these gears. Thanks, Rach, for sorting it all in a single shot 🙂

    Reply
  • Hi, Rach! Wow, nice post with a great and easily understanding article amazing!

    Reply
  • Jesus, I never thought you could pack so many things, I think I don’t even own that many things lol

    One problem I have with most of the backpakcs is that they don’t provide enough protection for my laptop. I’d love to see some or something around the edges… I always get nervous with I travel with my laptop haha.

    Great list Rach, thanks for sharing!
    Adrian

    Reply
  • Osprey is really a good backpack brand. I am using this for a long time. This is a well-detailed article. Thanks for it.

    Reply
  • it’s been so many months that I never pack for a trip, I hope this pandemic will be over very soon so we can visit the world again..

    Reply
  • Because of covid my husband and I have been taking overnight camping trips for the first time ever. I find myself packing too much and I think it’s because my bag is too big. Do you have any recommendation for hiking backpacks suitable for a small(ish) woman (5’2″, 105lbs.) for camping? I keep seeing the Osprey backpack come up in my research, but I’m not sure if it’s too big for me. Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • We recommend Osprey backpacks 100%. They have a great range of backpacks and the best thing is that they make them to fit all sizes. So, if you’re a little shorter, there are many options. Check out their website and browse the women’s backpacks – maybe the 30L size would be a good option for you. Good luck and happy travels 😉

      Reply
  • After that, I will remember the tips given by you when I travel.
    thanks

    Reply
  • Nice post!! It’s useful and helpful article for me. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • Hi! I like your packing lists. However, I have a question about the “loose cotton pants”. Do you really mean sweatpants (the link takes me to an Amazon page for sweatpants… just want to make sure).

    Reply
  • Claire d'Anjou
    August 6, 2023 9:41 pm

    Hi! Pergaps a silly question but… do you use packing cubes for your clothes?

    Reply
    • Hi Claire, Yes we use packing cubes for some of our clothes and they’re great to condense loose items that we tend to collect on the road too. They’re listed in the ‘Random Stuff’ section on this blog, but here is the link to the packing cubes we currently use and would recommend 😉 https://amzn.to/3TYYy1D

      Reply
  • I just want to say you ladies are very inspirational! In fact you you have inspired me to travel to Mexico for my 50th birthday in September. My family and I are renting an apartment on the ocean, we are all very excited. My granddaughter has been telling strangers at the grocery store. We are also a little freaked out since I haven’t flown since the 90s and the rest of my family has never flown. All of your information has been so helpful preparing. Since I haven’t flown in so long, I just wanted to ask if both the Osprey backpack and daypack can both be brought on the plane without checking either in? I don’t want to check bags in, I just want to be prepared. Thank you ladies for all of your information and helpful hints! Sarah

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah,

      We love to receive messages like this, and we’re so happy to hear that our blog has been a great help to you. Mexico will be amazing for your 50th and your trip sounds perfect! To answer your question, yes, we always take both our Osprey 40L backpack and our smaller day pack on the plane with us as it’s carry-on size and we don’t exceed the baggage weight limit, so you should be OK. Happy Travels, and Happy Birthday!!

      Reply

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