Essential packing lists for travel, vacation or backpacking

If you love traveling like I do, you do not want to get bogged down with the hassle of packing. The key is to properly plan your excursions so that packing is simple and easy. You want to pack smart. Definitely start off with a packing list, based on whether you will be backpacking, spending time in a hostel, or staying in a luxurious hotel. No matter what your travel plans are, you want to pack light, easy and inexpensively.

Personally, I love doing the backpacking. This means traveling light so that I can easily go from one place to the next. Whether across the United States, or across Europe, or anywhere in between, I have learned that less is actually more.

Starting off your planning

I guess the first thing I always do when I want to travel is to figure out where I want to go next. The location is always the first decision. There are many factors that go into this decision. I do have a list of dream places I would like to go, and start there.

I conduct my research. This means I need to know my budget for the trip first. Properly planning your vacation can keep those hidden costs and fees away. I consider how much I want to spend for the entire trip – including getting there, staying there, doing activities, and purchasing souvenirs.

I use this amount to research a few of my dream locations I would like to go next. I try to see which place will best fit into my budget. Determining which way I want to explore the destination – either more money on getting and staying there or more money doing activities and such. I try to keep everything to the minimum I can handle. This narrows down my destination choices, and I can finally choose where I want to go.

Planning the trip

Now, not everyone is like me, and I understand that. I love to plan! I am not the type to book a trip and just wing it. I will do many hours of research deciding what I want to do, where I want to stay, and how long I plan to stay there. I find that this makes the trip easier.
That does not mean that I am not flexible to bumps in the road. I always plan back up activities if something does not work out, or look for good shopping places or indoor events that might be necessary if it rains. The better prepared you are for your travel, the more fun you can have while you are there. No reason to try to plan each day as you wake up, when it can all be done beforehand!

Creating your packing list

I always make a packing list before I travel. I am a light packer, especially when I am going the backpacking route. Remember you have to carry that bag around! Make sure the weight is reasonable to wear for longer stretches of time.

Pack the basics. This means choose good sized backpack or suitcase. When I start packing, I lay everything out that I want to bring (that was on my list!) on my bed. I take inventory, and then determine whether or not I really need to bring everything I have laid out with me. Do I really need those extra pair of boots? Did I check the weather to see if I need my raincoat?

I always pack as if the trip will turn out exactly like I want it to. That is why when I am planning I always calculate in some cash for one of those ‘oh no’ moments. If something gets lost, stolen, or I do not take that raincoat and it starts pouring. That way I am prepared without having to pack extra weight that I do not need.

Even if you are not backpacking, I recommend packing lightly. Do you know what some airlines charge for large bags? I have realized how planning my vacation well in advance makes a huge difference while I am there. I just get to sit back, relax, and enjoy every moment of my time!


Vacation Packing List PDF

Hiking Packing List PDF

Backpacking Packing List PDF

Camping Packing List PDF

How to survive long flights

Do you travel internationally over 100K miles per year? Today we have several practical hacks to help you get through a long flight.

  • If you experience sore on your bottom on a flight: Put the pillow you got (try to find an extra one) on your chair but leave room for your tailbone to not touch the seat (basically try as if you are sitting over the edge of a ledge).
  • Taking one Ibuprofen (Advil) every 4 hours helps keep inflammation away (i.e relieve sore bottoms, necks, etc).
  • If you mind getting up frequently to use the bathroom then hydrate with plenty of water only the day before the trip. Also avoid any caffeine on the day of travel.
  • Take the aisle seat of the middle section. That way you don’t have to get up as often to let people out.
  • If it’s a full flight then you can try to sit two-thirds back in your section. If the middle section is oxo (person, no person, person) flight attendants will fill in the middle seats from the front going back. Be careful of oxxo because they will put a couple in that spot.
  • Remember always pick the right side of the plane because there is more luggage room. For example, I often like ooxo with my spot being on the right.
  • Do not sit close to the bulkhead (where the baby cribs are placed) or near the restrooms. It is usually loud and congested.
  • Bring your own headset. Many airlines don’t pass the headsets out until later and they recycle them for the next flight.
  • At the beginning and end of a flight you will get interrupted many times from the announcements. So you can watch something you’ve already seen.
  • Keep your passport and a pen with you to fill out the arrival card.
  • Bring an eye mask and ear plugs if you plan to sleep.

And there you have it, my friend. Our tried tips for surviving long-haul flights. Hope you can use those hacks and enjoy your next flights.

Your Friends @ I Love Exploring


We are a cheerful group of people who love exploring the world just as much as you do.

We created this community to share a grab-bag of helpful tips, informative articles, and fresh perspectives on the active exploring and travelling lifestyle.

Our mission is to help active travellers get ready for their journeys. Our inspiration came from a poem by Robert Frost called “The Road Not Taken.” It posted below for your moment of reflection.

Inside of our store, you will not only find useful travel accessories, but also ones to help you with peace of mind. The essential travel gear and daily must-haves will help you prepare for the unexpected or to survive unplanned long-term trips. The ultimate backpack organizer will revolutionize the way you pack. The destination gifts are local items loved by world travellers. Finally, our travel wardrobe will make you shine.

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The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same, 

And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 
I doubted if I should ever come back. 

I shall be telling this with a sigh 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.