Your Essential Traveling Overseas Packing List for Any Destination

Packing can feel overwhelming no matter what trip you’re taking. However, international travel can make packing an even more nerve-wracking experience. What if you forget something essential? What if you accidentally bring something you can’t take through customs? Don’t worry, friend. Whether you’re traveling for four nights to London or three months in Bangkok, this detailed traveling overseas packing list will come in handy. You can remember all the essentials and avoid the risk of overpacking by following this international packing checklist.

Your Essential Packing Checklist for International Travel

  1. Travel Documents
  2. Medication
  3. Clothing
  4. Weather gear  
  5. Toiletries
  6. First Aid Supplies
  7. Electronics
  8. Laundry Supplies
  9. Water Bottle
  10. Snacks 

BONUS: Carry-on Packing List for International Travel

A line of people wheeling luggage outside a European airport terminal at dusk

The Ultimate Traveling Overseas Packing List

blue circle with white number 1 in middle Travel Documents

Before you think about what you’re wearing at the Lourve, it’s important to get your travel documents in order. More often than not, this means your passport and another backup form of ID (if you have it). You may potentially need a visa, depending on where, when, and how long you’re traveling internationally.

In addition to having your original travel documents, it’s smart to make copies to take with you. That way, if anything happens to your belongings and you find yourself without the originals, you’ll have some proof of identification to get you back into the country.

However, if you lose your documents, you’ll want to contact the nearest embassy immediately for assistance in replacing them. If your documents are stolen, you should file a police report as well. In either case, having copies of your documentation will make a huge difference in terms of obtaining new identification (and can help speed up the process).

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Visas (you may need a travel visa)
  • Personal ID or Student ID
  • Cash / Credit cards
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Hotel documents
  • Emergency contact information 
  • Travel documents – reservations or confirmations
  • Guidebooks or maps
  • Copies of these documents in case they get lost.

blue circle with white number 2 in the middle Medication

It can be difficult and time-consuming to replace your missing prescription–so packing your prescription medication is a must. This is especially true when you’re traveling abroad, where regulations for prescription medications are likely different, and you may not even be able to access yours at all. So pack extra dosages if you can in case you experience a delay in your travels. We also recommend packing some in your carry-on so you have access to it if your luggage gets lost. 

blue circle with the white number 3 in the middle Clothing

Your clothes will likely take up a bulk of your packing space, so it’s essential that you choose your items carefully. We recommend picking items that can be mixed-matched and worn again. Choosing neutral colors helps with this.

  • Tops (long-sleeved or short-sleeved)
  • Bottoms (pants, shorts, leggings, etc.)
  • Dresses or skirts
  • Sweater, sweatshirt, cardigan, or light jacket
  • Pajamas
  • Undergarments 
  • Socks
  • Shoes (walking shoes, sandals, flip-flops, dress shoes, etc.)
  • Pajamas/sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Belt(s)
  • Jewelry
  • Swimsuit and quick-drying towel
woman in a red dress carrying an umbrella walking down a cobblestone street in the rain

blue circle with the white number 4 in the middle Weather gear

Weather can be unpredictable at any international destination. So no matter what the forecast says for your travel dates, it’s best to be prepared for anything –especially if you’re going on a long trip. 

To start, make sure you pack appropriate gear for sunny skies. This means sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and any other essentials you typically pack when you know you’ll be out in the sun for a long period of time. On the other hand, you never know when you’ll experience rain during travel either. If you pack a light rain jacket and umbrella, you’ll be covered (literally!) if it does end up raining. Just these few items can make a huge difference in terms of comfortability and budget since you won’t have to buy them with your travel money or credit card.

You may or may not need to pack items from this section. However, it’s also good to think about what activities you’re planning to do on your international trip and pack accordingly.

  • Hat (sunhat, baseball cap, etc.)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Hiking boots
  • Rain jacket/windbreaker (depending on season or weather)
  • Poncho, umbrella
  • Winter coat, boots

blue circle with the white number 5 in the middle Toiletries

You can often get basic toiletries at most international destinations. However, if you have other items that are specific to you and nearly impossible to replace while traveling, such as contact lenses, make sure you pack those before your trip. That’s why, for things like contacts, you’ll want to pack a few extra sets in case they get lost or damaged during travel. 

  • Body wash
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Face wash 
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Hair ties, and bobby pins
  • Hairspray, dry shampoo
  • Cosmetics
  • Makeup remover
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Extra contacts, contact solution, and case
  • Glasses and case
  • Shaver and shaving cream
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers

Pro Tip: Toiletries are one of the most common things that get confiscated at TSA. You’ll want to follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule when packing your carry-on to avoid any hiccups in the security process. 

blue circle with the white number 6 in the middle First Aid Supplies & Health Items

You’ll be glad to have these on your traveling overseas packing list in case you have a headache or a stomach ache on your trip. You can either choose to purchase a kit that’s already prepared with the necessities or just put one together on your own. If you opt for the latter, we recommend taking a look at this list from the Red Cross. You may not need all of these on your international trip, but use your discretion to make sure you’re as prepared as you’d like to be.

Additionally, your destination might not carry the over-the-counter prescription you typically use. You can avoid the headache –literally– by packing your go-to medications.

  • First aid kit (band-aids, adhesives, and gauze)
  • Ibuprofen or Tylenol
  • Motion sickness pills
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Thermometer
  • Cold medicines and cough drops
  • Vitamins and probiotics 
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sleeping medicine (i.e. melatonin) 
Guy walking down a busy city street wearing a backpack and headphones on a cloudy day

blue circle with the white number 7 in the middle Electronics

Your electronics won’t get you very far without their chargers. Additionally, you’ll want to pack adapters so your chargers can work at your destination. Even if your plug fits into an outlet at your destination, you still might blow a fuse because electric voltages can vary. To make it easy, we recommend getting a universal travel adapter that allows you to plug into most outlets and automatically convert to the right voltage.

  • Headphones
  • Phone & charger
  • Laptop/Tablet & charger
  • Camera, extra batteries, extra memory cards
  • Portable, rechargeable battery
  • Travel speakers
  • Electric converters and adapters
  • Smart Watch 
  • eReader

blue circle with white number eight in middle Laundry Supplies

If you’re traveling for more than a week, you don’t have to pack clothes for more than a week. Why? Just plan to do laundry. Trust us. You probably won’t wear as many clothes as you think you will anyway. Plus, packing less will make a lighter suitcase at the airport and give you the extra wiggle room you need for the souvenirs you’ll buy along the way. 

  • Travel-sized detergent
  • Storage for dirty clothes (even a reusable shopping bag could work)

blue outline with white number 9 in middle Water Bottle

You can save so much money if you pack your own reusable bottle, and it starts at the airport. Just bring an empty one through security and fill it up on the other side. Then at every point throughout your trip, you can refill it free of charge as you travel. This is a great option for cities that let you fill up your canteen with fresh spring water from fountains on the streets. However, if you’re traveling somewhere that doesn’t have clean drinking water, consider packing a portable water purifier or filter along with a water bottle. These days, you can find really compact and easy-to-use options.

  • Water bottle
  • Water purifier or filter

blue circle with white number 10 Snacks 

It’s always snack time, right? Even though you can buy snacks anywhere, we’re willing to wager you would enjoy having your favorites on hand, especially for the plane ride. Having snacks on your traveling overseas packing list is also smart for travelers who have food allergies. While we encourage you to try the local cuisine, packing your own snacks will ensure you have options to eat in case the local snacks don’t jive with your taste buds or your allergies.

traveling woman wearing a backpack in the desert

BONUS: Carry-on Packing List for International Travel

Your personal item or carry-on baggage is another piece to consider when packing your bags. Whatever you pack here can be accessible during your flight, but the items also need to meet TSA regulations. So here’s what we recommend adding to your carry-on bag for a relaxing and enjoyable flight.

  • Important travel documents (passport, driver’s license, etc.)
  • One day/night of clothes
  • Extra prescription medications
  • Headphones (only corded headphones can use the in-flight entertainment systems)
  • Entertainment (a book, journal, etc.)
  • Necessary chargers (USB cords can plug into airline seats, not wall plugs)
  • Travel pillow, ear plugs, and eye mask
  • Snacks
  • Anything valuable you cannot risk losing.

One of the best ways you can prepare for international travel is by getting travel insurance. This is crucial for traveling overseas because your routine health insurance likely won’t cover a major medical emergency if you travel out of the country. Ready to protect your trip with travel insurance? You can get an instant free quote and start comparing plans.

Skylar, a seasoned content writer with over seven years of experience, possesses a deep understanding of the travel and travel insurance industries. Her commitment to authenticity infuses her work with a unique perspective, drawing from three years of dedicated writing in the travel and travel insurance sectors. Skylar's expertise is further enriched by her proactive approach to seeking insights from industry professionals, ensuring that her findings are comprehensive and reliable.

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