My go-to packing list

A carry-on & tote bag for two weeks in Italy!

Packing is one of my least favorite parts of any trip. I used to dislike it so much that I would have anxiety attacks and lash out at loved ones who got caught in my path. I am much better now – thank goodness – but much of that is due to the creation of a go-to packing list.

I first established this list in preparation for my Australia adventure. Prior to the list, I tried a few other methods that were no where near efficient. For my Italy trip, I downloaded an app that would help you plan out your outfits. In order to use it correctly though, you had to take pictures of individual wardrobe items in your closet, crop and save them in the app. It reminded me of paper dolls and Cher’s polaroid routine from Clueless. All in all, it was too much effort. I will say, however, I was quite proud of my packing for that trip!

By the time Australia rolled around, I needed a solid plan. I would be traveling for about a year and I did not want to check a bag. Checking bags is the worst! I hate the fees and I hate waiting for bags, hoping yours didn’t end up on another flight. No thanks, I’ll bring a carry-on. But carry-ons require smart planning.

Below is my go-to list that I use for each trip. Of course, depending on where I’m heading and the length of time I will be there, I modify this list. Bare in mind this was created for a year’s worth of travel, the country where I was headed is mostly warm weather, and there was the potential for work, too. Overall, most of my trips are to somewhere warm or with mild winters so my list continues to prove useful.

Clothing & Shoes

  • 5 Tops
  • 3 Maxi Dresses
  • 4 Summer Dresses
  • 3 Scarves
  • 2 Pencil Skirts (I was anticipating working while abroad)
  • Exercise clothes & sports bras
  • 5 Pairs of Socks
  • Bras & Underwear (about 2 weeks worth)
  • Beach Coverup
  • 3 Bathing Suits
  • 2 Pairs of Jeans
  • 1 Pair of Leggings
  • 2 Pairs of Tights
  • Rain Jacket
  • 3 Tank Tops
  • Light Hoodie
  • 2 Long-Sleeve Shirts
  • Pajama shorts & sweatpants
  • 1 Knit Sweater
  • 1 Jacket
  • One Pair of: sneakers, sandals, flip flops, flats


  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Face & Body Wash
  • Lotion
  • Tampons
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Shaving Razors
  • Comb
  • Hair towel
  • Hair straightener
  • Nail clipper
  • Tweezers
  • Blow dryer
  • Hair gel


  • Camera & charger
  • iPad & charger
  • Portable battery
  • iPhone & charger
  • USB cables
  • Jump drive
  • Headphones
  • Bluetooth speaker & charger
  • Power Adapters


  • Passport
  • Driver’s License
  • Credit Cards
  • Proof of Insurance

*Note: I scan each of these and save them on DropBox or Google Drive as well. Always good to have a back-up.


  • Hand sanitizer
  • Travel detergent
  • Rx Medications
  • Aleve/Ibuprofen
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Bug spray
  • Travel detergent
  • Neosporin
  • Travel towel/beach towel
  • Travel Clothing Line (life saver!)
  • Sleeping Mask
  • Reusable Water Bottle
  • Plastic Bags (ziplock gallon and sandwich-sized and grocery bags)
  • Padlock & keys (for Hostel stays)
  • Purse & Clutch
  • Book
  • Sunglasses
  • Journal
  • Gym/Hiking Bag
  • Googles
  • Travel Blanket

So there you have it! I rely heavily on the rolling method to fit everything inside and always lay out all my clothes together before beginning packing. I have a routine now for all of this and it is definitely a process but I’m constantly pleased with the results.

Did I miss anything? How do you pack for a trip? Share your thoughts below!

Published by Ali Gaffey

An American girl full of life and adventure!

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