If you’re a first-time (or second-, third-, or fourth-time) international traveler, you probably have a few questions about some of the elements of traveling abroad. One of the most important (and often overlooked) aspects, is how to properly pack a suitcase for a journey to another country.
Fear not, Friendly Planeteers, because I’ve put together my top six tips for packing for an eight-day Friendly Planet Travel trip. Keep in mind — and I cannot emphasize this enough — if you’re going on an eight-day trip, you only need one suitcase. I promise, if you are packing more than what fits in one bag, you are packing too much.
And away we go:
1. At least one pair of broken in, comfortable walking shoes appropriate for the destination. If you’re traveling to a hot climate, good walking sandals are a good idea. If you’re going somewhere cooler, a sturdy pair of hiking or walking shoes are crucial. You never know what type of terrain you are going to encounter, and you want to be able to tackle it all in comfort. New shoes are nice, but don’t bring them on vacation. The last thing you want is a blister holding you back during a walking tour of the pyramids of Egypt.
2. A second (and only other) pair of shoes. For eight days, you shouldn’t need more than two pairs of shoes. The second pair should be your “nicer” shoes for evenings spent going to dinner or casually exploring town. Keep in mind though, that no matter your destination with Friendly Planet Travel, you don’t need anything fancy. Men should pack a pair of loafers, for example. And for women, a pair of shoes that works well with slacks, or whatever pants or skirts you might choose to wear.
3. A lightweight, all-weather jacket with zip-out lining. This type of versatile outerwear is the perfect travel companion, no matter where you’re going. A good jacket is especially important for countries with diverse climates, such as Argentina. One day you might be way up north in the chilly mountains, and the next, paddling across a warm lake. There’s not one brand I would recommend over another, but outdoor outfitters such as Lands’ End, REI, or North Face all have great selections.
4. A variety of easily layerable clothing. Whenever I travel, I always pack a pair of jeans, a number of t-shirts, and a sweatshirt or two. This way, I’ll always be able to add or subtract layers to ensure I’m comfortable at all times. On a Friendly Planet Travel vacation, comfort is everything. If you’re a woman, make sure you have at least one good pair of jeans or khaki pants. Personally, I never travel with shorts. There’s two reasons for this. First, do you really want to be riding that elephant with bare legs? And second, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to cultural differences.
5. Underwear, underwear, underwear! When I pack for an eight-day trip, I usually pack 16 pairs of underwear. If you don’t want to worry about laundry while abroad, always be sure you have plenty of underwear. It doesn’t take up much room in your suitcase, and I guarantee after a rigorous day of touring, a fresh pair of underwear will make all the difference in the world.
6. Medicine, cosmetics, and toiletries. Remember, you can’t bring more than three ounces of each on your carry-on, but you can bring as much as you want in your suitcase.
Best of all, if you follow this outline for packing, you’ll definitely have a little bit of room in your suitcase for souvenirs! Or, if you plan on loading up, fold a small duffel bag into your suitcase that can serve as your souvenir bag on the way home.
Of course, if you do forget something, don’t panic. No matter where you are in the world, you will be able to find a tube of toothpaste, or contact solution, or anything else you might need along the way.