Universal Packing Checklist for International Travel

For years when I traveled, I got overwhelmed with the task of packing. But finally I learned how to make it easy – the hard way.  After numerous experiences packing for travel abroad, I mastered the art and nowadays, packing for a long trip comes naturally and easy to me. So today, I’m sharing with  you my universal  packing checklist for International travel.
Now, let’s get this packing thing done right! You don’t want to learn the hard way, as I did. Here is my shortlist to get the suitcase for your needs, pack light and have fun.

What I learned after years of packing is to follow a basic rule: do not overpack!  Bring only what you really need – after all, if you leave something critical behind, you’ve just found a great excuse for a shopping trip!  You don’t want to pay extra money at check-in for overweight suitcases; make sure you know what the weight limits are and weigh your luggage before you leave for the airport. If you’re only bringing a backpack you don’t want to hurt your back, so be careful there. Believe me, I know what it’s like to hurt your back from carrying too much on it, and it’s no fun!

I have found there is an easy way to avoid overpacking:  make a packing list!  We all tend to  wait until the last minute to pack.  Life is busy, right?  If you’re like me you’ll probably wait until the last minute  to actually pack, but I can often find the time to write up a list plenty of time ahead.  It doesn’t take long!.   Just grab your phone and write it down in the Notes app or wherever you prefer and create your own master packing list – or just copy and paste this.


First things first. You need to make it simple, especially if you go abroad. Also, you don’t want to find out you left valuable items at home after landing thousands of miles away. Sometimes what you bring or forget can make or break a trip!  While shopping is great fun, let’s be real:  you don’t want to spend time and money on some mundane items like socks and underwear you already have a home.


Although this is pretty obvious, you should check to make sure that your passport is current, right after you get your ticket. When it comes to international travel, make sure you check and double check that you have your passport on had and ready to go. So go ahead and double and triple check the expiration date of the passport of every family member or whoever you are travel with. Be aware that most countries will require that your passport be valid for at least six months after your arrival date!  If you need to get a new passport, it can take six weeks unless you want to pay huge “rush” fees.

Credit Card for foreign transactIon

Don’t forget to tell your bank that you are traveling overseas, and consider getting a credit card for foreign transactions. Getting your credit card blocked because your bank is trying to save you from fraud is no fun when you’re far from home!  Also, stay updated on the exchange rate for U.S. dollars where you’re going, as well as how much your bank charges for foreign transactions.

Money belt travel

Courtesy of Amazon

Depending on where you go, a money belt may be an essential, or not. It’s still important to keep your valuables close and safe when you far from home, regardless of where you travel to. The money belt is a time tested way to hide your cash, cards and important documents. This is especially the case when you’re traveling through airports. Do not hesitate to use it if you want to be one step ahead of pickpockets and other opportunists.



And you should know that today’s money belt isn’t like grandpa’s!  They are super cute looking, comfortable and convenient. The best recommendation from amazon costs less than $20. It has enough space to carry your passport and even six credit cards.

Standbaxh has made one that can be use for running as well, made from Lycra material. It’s comfortable to wear, whether you are running or traveling around. You can wear them under your clothes and go unnoticed, without worry. Remember: out of sight brings peace of mind.


Among  the basics you need to bring are your medications, or anything you need that you will be afraid of buying in a foreign country.  I usually bring basic medication for kids like for cold and sinus remedies.

Essential oils

Essential oils have been around a while but today they are becoming more popular. I really became a believer in them after our last trip to Machu Picchu. My husband’s cousin who came with us used them a lot and she did great with the altitude and walking for hours with a bad knee.  I will write about her essential oil regimen and the brand she uses: St John Wort Oil   .

Filtered pured water BOTTLE:

I usually don’t bring water bottles but this is a must have for a water filtration system. You can safely drink water from any contaminated water source world-wide. Drinkable water can be accessible with  technological breakthrough in filtration design thanks to Puritii.

This is non-toxic, chemical free (no BPA or phthalates) and available in in portable sweat-less stainless steel or durable plastic ($139), with new technology that not only keeps you hydrated on the go, but gives you peace of mind, too. You’ll want to make sure you snag enough filters to get you through your travels.

When you’re traveling with kids, it’s very important to make sure they get clean water to drink because nothing ruins a trip faster than a bad case of diarrhea – or worse!


Besides your tablet and/or laptop, mobile phone, and headphone, here is the list of gadgets you may need to bring along as well:

Portable Battery CHARGER

Don’t forget your batteries and bring those that take up less space. A great battery that doesn’t take  much space and you can re-chargeable is Jackery Bolt , and another good choice is the Amazon nailed basic. 


When you need to bring your devices abroad this days, it’s important to bring an adaptor where you plug in all your devices. So you don’t need several pieces. You can find a variety of them, but this is great recommendation by amazon for superb value.


WIFI hotspot

courtesy of Amazon

WIFI Spot  has become a new must have specially for those who travel, but still need to get business done while away from home. If you need to stay connected and you can’t miss any e-mail.  You simply make a one-time purchase of the device and you won’t get stuck with slow Airport WIFI service.

This device just works and  you get it fast. You link it to your G3 to a GlobalMe account, deposit money and use it to buy a data package valid for the country you’re traveling to. Then you just boot up the device. It finds and connects to a local cell network and creates a password-protected WiFi hot spot you can log into with your phone, tablet, laptop, etc. You’re good to go. You can find it in Amazon for $165

TABLET/ ipad/device for kids

This days you don’t always need to bring devices many airplanes have them on every passenger seat but if that or your phone is not enough for your kid. You should  bring wherever devices he plays with including a great case. However, if you kid is happy with one thick “Harry Potter book” yes bring it! He can pass it on check in carrying it.

Luggage Scale

This  is such a important accessory and if you use it you can end up saving maybe hundreds of dollars. Sometimes you can come back from a country with so many gifts that your luggage weights much more on the outbound flight than when you arrived.



  • Usually for 2 weeks of traveling I bring  4 or 5 tops that go according to the season of the place I’m going.  I add 1 top per a week of the trip but I have never needed more than 6. The less you bring the more space you have in luggage to bring gifts for the folks back home.
  • I like to bring 2 shorts and 2 pants in summer and when staying more than 2 weeks. In other seasons I bring  3 pants.
  • 1 black dress or a dress that you can dress up and down.
  • A suit or semi-formal outfit for man
  • One pair of undergarments per day as well as socks
  • A set of exercising clothes.
  • Two sets of pajamas
  • One jacket for cold nights according to season winter or summer.
  • A rain jacket is always a good idea for places that rain
  • A pair of tennis shoes
  • A pair of sandals you will need for beach or bathroom (sometimes if better to be safe and they don’t take much space)
  • A set of comfortable travel shoes that you could dress up and down with style. My favorites are Ferrel and Naturalizer.
  • A swimming suit.  Reversible swimming suits can help you feel that you brought two.
  •  If heading to the snow, bring powder pants and jacket as well as snow boots and googles. You need to evaluate if renting is more convenient than bring them and taking up space and maybe paying for the extra weight.
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat for summer or winter
  • Set of jewelry
  • Handbag
  • Gloves for winter
  • Headphones
  • Neck pillow
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant (my favorite brand is Schmidts)
  • Shampoo and conditioner is a must. I have to bring mine because my hair is used to my products so I bring travel sized containers of it. You can bring a  T.S.A. size-approved toiletries on your carry on or just put them on your suitcase. I always put them in a suitcase inside a ziploc’d bag so air pressure doesn’t make them spilled all over the place. It has happened too many times already!
  • Make up in a small traveling bag

If you are a parent traveling with littles don’t forget your Ergo, I used to travel with my kids and carry them on my Ergo or in the Moby wrap. Latter we fall in love with the Kelty Carrier when they get heavier is a must have for hikes, but we never brought such a big carrier overseas. You can hike with kids to Hawaii or Machu Picchu and make it easy breezy with the right carrier. If you are nursing a nursing blanket is need it. There are great on the market.


  • Hat for sun or winter hats
  • 4 to 5 tops or 3 pants, or
  • 2 dresses and 2 pants
  • 7 sets of underwear
  • Training shoes
  • Rainy coat
  • A set of semi formal clothes
  • Backpack, our favorite is North Face they know how to build them.
  • Sunglasses if your kids can keep them mine hate them. They get always lost
  • Hat for summer or winter
  • Gloves for winter
  • Headphones.  Kids love to use the airplane devices and you don’t want to pay for headphones( some airlines charge for them)
  • Neck pillow
  • Toothbrush,
  • Shampoo and conditioner is sometimes hard to find them on different countries Im use to one line T.S.A. size-approved toiletries. I put them in an extra bag in case the air pressure make them explode on air. You never know and you don’t want surprises.

Make planning for your trip easier with these packing lists, Now I’m ready to pack!

Good luck and Happy travels!

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