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18 Best Packing Tips for International Travel you have to know

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Here is what you need to know to make packing for traveling in airplane smooth and affordable!

1. Use packing cubes they do save space. 

Utilizing packing cubes is a game-changer when it comes to organizing your family’s belongings for a trip. Whether you’re constantly on the move or simply need to streamline your packing process, packing cubes are a lifesaver. On our recent trip, they proved indispensable, allowing us to navigate airports swiftly and effortlessly ensuring everyone’s essentials are neatly compartmentalized.

Opt for transparent packing cubes for added convenience, making it easy to identify items at a glance. Assign specific cubes for different purposes: one for swimsuits, another for snacks, and so on. For each family member, separate tops and bottoms into individual cubes, or utilize gallon-sized Ziploc bags for children’s clothing. This method simplifies the process of locating items within your suitcase, enhancing efficiency and minimizing stress throughout your travels.

Packing cubes I love this one that also can compressed the clothes with their zippers

2.Pack Clothes that Matches  

Pack clothes that coordinate well with each other to maximize outfit options while minimizing bulk. Stick to a limited color palette to ensure versatility and ease of mixing and matching. I’ve found that selecting clothing items that complement each other allows me to create numerous stylish combinations, even during extended trips abroad.

Optimize your packing by choosing tops and bottoms that coordinate effortlessly, allowing for easy mix-and-match options. With 2 or 3 pairs of bottoms that complement your tops, you can create over 10 different outfit combinations. By prioritizing versatility and compactness in your clothing selection, you’ll be able to pack efficiently and travel light without sacrificing style or comfort.

Additionally, consider investing in merino wool clothing, which is naturally antimicrobial and can be worn multiple times without washing, saving you valuable packing space.

Merino shirt

3. Wear the Heavy Clothes in Airplane 

I typically wear a sports jacket on the plane for added comfort and convenience. If I’m heading to a colder destination, I opt to wear or store my coat in my backpack to ensure easy access when needed.

4. The Packing formula 

Pack enough clothes to last you the week. For a 5-day vacation, consider bringing 2-3 pairs of shorts or pants, 3-4 tops, and a light or heavy jacket depending on your destination’s climate. Include 1 formal outfit for dining out or attending special events and 2-3 swimsuits/trunks if you plan to visit the beach.

Also, make sure you have an adequate supply of undergarments, including 4-5 pairs of underwear, 4-5 pairs of socks, and 2-3 undershirts/bras. Don’t forget any specialty items you might need, such as slips or backless bras.

5. Pick the Right Bag

Choosing the right suitcase or bag is crucial for a smooth and hassle-free travel experience. The ideal choice depends on several factors, such as the duration of your trip, mode of transportation, and the amount of luggage you plan to bring along.

For shorter trips like a weekend getaway, a backpack or carry-on size suitcase may suffice, especially if you’re traveling by plane or train. Packing efficiently with the help of packing cubes can maximize space and keep your belongings organized. However, for longer journeys or if you have specific gear like photography equipment, a larger suitcase may be necessary.

Osprey 40L is a great option for backpack

Some travelers prefer the convenience of having everything within arm’s reach with a carry-on, while others may opt for checked luggage for additional space.

Gregory Backpack carry on hardcase

6. What to take in Carry-Ons

Personal carry-on items are essential for ensuring comfort and convenience during long-haul flights. While preferences may vary, there are several must-have items that can enhance your travel experience:

  1. Cash/credit cards for emergencies and purchases.
  2. Earplugs and eye masks for a peaceful rest.
  3. Inflatable pillows for neck support and comfort.
  4. Headphones
  5. Chargers to keep your electronic devices powered up.
  6. Refillable water bottles to stay hydrated throughout the flight.
  7. Essential toiletries and medications, following TSA regulations.

7. All about the shoes:

Here are some essential tips for efficient and practical packing:

  1. Eliminate impractical shoes: Choose shoes that are versatile and suitable for your trip’s activities. Consider the weather, terrain, and dress code of your destination.
  2. Pack light: Traveling with minimal luggage not only saves money on baggage fees but also offers greater convenience and flexibility. Rolling your clothes and repacking efficiently can help you optimize space and streamline your packing process.
  3. Optimize shoe packing: Utilize the space inside your shoes by stuffing socks into them. When flying, have everyone wear their largest pair of shoes, typically casual or athletic shoes, to save space in your luggage. Consider packing shoes in a separate bag to prevent them from soiling other items in your suitcase. Additionally, it’s wise to avoid bringing new shoes on a trip to minimize the risk of discomfort or blisters.
  4. Choose the right shoes: Depending on your itinerary and activities, you may need various types of shoes, including casual shoes for everyday wear, dressier shoes for formal occasions, flip flops or sandals for beach outings, athletic or hiking shoes for outdoor adventures, and water shoes if water activities are planned.

8. Make Laundry

It is important to research laundry facilities before traveling to certain countries. For instance, in Norway, laundromats are scarce outside major cities. Doing laundry helps saving space and avoid bringing extra items that are no necessary.

During our backpacking adventure through Europe, we carried a backpack and doing laundry as need it. If you rent a place look into places with washer machines or seek out lavanderias.

9. don’t forget your Water bottle

If you’re flying a budget airline like us, make sure to fill up water bottles before getting on the plane. There is nothing worst that not having enough water and you can save good amount avoiding buying water bottles during your trip.

This is my favorite travel water bottle

10. Roll it and fold it

Rolling your clothes is a tried-and-true method to maximize space in your luggage. Simply roll all your clothing tightly and cram them into the corners of your bag; you’ll be surprised how seven outfits can fit snugly!Opting to roll your clothes instead of folding them is a smart move endorsed by seasoned travelers. Not only does rolling minimize wrinkles, but it also conserves space in your luggage.

Another tip is to file fold your clothing, grouping pieces that belong to the same outfit together. This not only saves space but also makes it easier to locate specific items when you’re on the go.

To master the art of rolling, lay each clothing item flat, then fold the bottom 2 inches inside out to create a pocket. From the opposite end, tightly roll the item until you reach the pocket, then fold the pocket over the roll to secure it in place.

11. Keep Toiletries to a Minimum

Minimizing toiletries for air travel can be a daunting task, but adhering to airline regulations is crucial. Airlines typically enforce restrictions on liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes carried in carry-on luggage. The TSA mandates that these items must be stored in a quart-sized bag with travel-sized containers, each holding 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less.

When packing toiletries, opt for travel-sized versions to mitigate spills and conserve space. Essential toiletries to consider include shampoo/conditioner (although many hotels provide these), toothbrushes and toothpaste, a comb/brush, hair accessories, razors, deodorant, hair supplies (including dry shampoo for convenience), makeup, skin cleanser, moisturizers, and contact solution and case if needed.

12. Personal Items to Pack

As the term suggests, personal items vary from one individual or family to another. What’s essential for one traveler might not be necessary for someone else. Here are some suggestions for items you might consider bringing along on your journey:

  • Passports/documents (ensure they’re current!)
  • Eyeglasses
  • Mobile phones
  • Laptops or tablets
  • Chargers for all your electronic devices
  • Cameras for capturing memories
  • Headphones for entertainment
  • Reusable day bags for exploring`

For cold-weather destinations, don’t forget to bring:

  • Wool hats
  • Gloves
  • Hand warmers

Here is some medical stuff you should pack:

  • Insurance card
  • Medications
  • Children’s Tylenol/Ibuprofen
  • Thermometer
  • Motion sickness medication if necessary
  • Hand sanitizer (keep one hanging on your backpack at all times – and the spray version is especially good for kids!)
  • Small first-aid kit (include anti-itch cream, Band-Aids, tweezers)

13. Don’t over-pack!  Bringing too much stuff weighs you down and it gets in the way.

Embrace the “Pack Light” and “Pack Layers” mantras for smoother travels. Life’s too short to wait at baggage claim, so opt for minimal luggage. And don’t forget to layer up for varying temperatures! Plan for a relaxed journey!

14. Invest in AirTags for Peace of Mind

Enhance your travel experience by investing in AirTags for your checked luggage. These handy devices offer invaluable peace of mind, allowing you to track your belongings in case they get misplaced. Don’t wait until it’s too late – be prepared and ensure you can easily locate your luggage whenever needed.

Air tag

15. Download electronic versions of books and magazines to save space.

If you have an iPad, Kindle, or something similar, you can download books and magazines to read without taking up essential room in your luggage. A lot of magazine subscriptions offer free electronic access, too, so check into that option if you already subscribe to a magazine.

16. make a list and Gather your luggage and everything you want to pack in one place.

Make a list of what you need and if you are traveling with more people. What the other members of your family will need. It’s a good idea to pack all your clothes and essentials into a suitcase in one place. This not only helps keep things organized but also makes it simpler to keep track of your stuff during your trip.

17. Plan for the Weather

Make sure to check the current weather before you pack, and plan your outfits accordingly by dressing in layers. Personally, I always pack layers, along with a pair of jeans, hiking pants, and yoga pants. I also bring along some thin sweaters, a nice hoodie, and a couple of light jackets.

18. Sustainable tip

To navigate liquid restrictions more easily, think about opting for solid alternatives such as shampoo bars. They’re versatile, environmentally friendly, and can be tailored to your trip’s length by cutting them accordingly. Additionally, consider using stick sunscreens and reusable travel-sized containers for other liquids. For further advice on zero-waste travel, take a look at our article.

Now you are ready to travel

Have a great trip


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I am Rocio

Hello there! Thank you for stopping by. My name is Rocio, and I’m a Latina mother with a wanderlust. I believe that family trips are important in forming well-rounded kids. Even when you have kids, you can still travel, so I help busy parents figure out how. Through my blog, Real world Mami, I want to give you tips that will help you plan epic trips to both well-known and less-known places around the world. Happy Travels!

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