When packing for a vacation the most important things to keep in mind are the length of your trip, the weather, and any non-standard clothing or gear you might need.

Your first step when packing is to decide if you’ll be checking a bag or only taking a carry-on, and then curate the amount of clothing you’ll need based on that decision.

If you’re packing more minimally, focus on packing layering clothes in more neutral colors. That’s not because we don’t like fun colors and patterns, it just means that neutral-colored clothing is more versatile, so you can wear these items more than once when you’re tight on space.

Also invest in clothing that does double duty, such multi-use wraps, crushable hats, self-cooling and heating fabrics like merino wool layers, bug-repellent clothing, wrinkle-resistant shirts, quick-drying activewear, and undergarments, casual sneakers, UPF-proof clothing, and compressible jackets.

When curating your packing list, you should keep in mind the length of your trip and decide on quantities from there. For a shorter trip (three to five days), you can probably manage with the following: one pair of underwear and socks per day, one pair of pajamas, one to two dressier outfits, one to two activewear or athleisure outfits, one to two casual outfits, and one to two pairs of shoes. For a longer trip (over a week), you can manage with one pair of underwear and socks per day, two pairs of pajamas, three dressier outfits, three to four casual outfits, two pairs of shoes, and two activewear or athleisure outfits.

And if you’re able to do laundry on your vacation, you can probably manage with even fewer items. Just don’t forget to pack a travel laundry kit.

Also make sure to bring along accessories like a money belt, scarf, or sarong (which can be used for things like an airplane blanket, cover up at the beach, or to throw over your dress on a cool evening), and a collapsible tote or day bag for any extra items you might acquire on your travels.

Depending on the type of trip you’re going on, you may need to invest in some special travel gear. We have packing lists on all of Nature Horizons’ tour itineraries and we are happy to discuss your packing list with you long before you arrive.

For more active trips, make sure you have a sturdy pair of hiking boots, quick-drying clothing, a day pack, snacks, and any necessary equipment.

How to Pack Toiletries and Medication

Whether it’s important medication or your favorite lipstick, forgetting any type of toiletry can range from being mildly inconvenient to becoming a serious problem. For toiletries, make sure to pack your essentials, like medication, contacts, and any other items that you might not be able to purchase or replace during your travels. (Put them in your carry-on bag, not your checked suitcase.) 

We also recommend traveling with some type of a travel first-aid kit, which includes items like tweezers, first-aid ointment, bandages, travel-sized hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and insect repellent.

Packing Tips for Everything Else

Traveling without tech items like your phone, laptop, tablet, or camera can be a major bummer. For those traveling abroad, you’ll also want to remember to pack electronic adapters and converters. Other tech-related items for photographers to pack are a sturdy camera bag, backup batteries, and memory cards, as well as lens cleaner. And don’t forget smartphone essentials like a backup charger, a waterproof case if you’re headed out on the water, and a phone stand or tripod for photos.

What to Always Pack in Your Carry-on Bag

In case you’re separated from your checked bag or other items, you should always make sure that you have your ID, wallet, house keys, medications, valuables, camera, phone, laptop, tablet, pen, cash and cards, glasses, and a copy of your itinerary with you on the plane.

Other items that you might want to have handy with you include entertainment for your flight, comfort-promoting items like a blanket or pillow, as well as an empty water bottle to fill up post-security a change of clothes (just in case your luggage is lost or delayed), snacks, and gum.

What to Pack for Covid-19 Safety

We all know that the pandemic has significantly changed the way we travel. By extension, the items we prioritize in our luggage have changed as well. Make sure, no matter how you’re getting to your destination, to always have a face mask on you. It’s a good idea to keep a few extras in your carry-on or personal item as well.

Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer, while always a good idea to have on hand at the airport, have become absolute carry-on musts. Wipe down frequently touched surfaces by your plane seat or in your hotel room for peace of mind, just make sure whatever liquid sanitizing products you bring on board meet the TSA requirements.

Finally, triple-check that you have your vaccine passport or negative Covid-19 test results handy. Many destinations and airlines require one of these forms of proof to proceed. Bring along a laminated copy of your vaccine card for extra insurance.