Packing for Long-Term Travel: 6 Items You Won’t Want to Leave Behind

If you’re getting ready for a long-term trip and you’re not sure what to pack, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Packing for an extended vacation can be much different from your standard packing experience because you’ll probably need to bring more clothes and shoes. You want to save as much space as possible while still having everything you need.

Try to keep some of your items to a minimum like limiting the number of accessories like gold chains that you bring along. You can also minimize the number of toiletries that you carry, as these are easy items to purchase anywhere. For tips, check out these recommendations and get packing.

Packing for Long-Term Travel

Packing for Long-Term Travel: 6 Items You Won't Want to Leave Behind

Or find a complete packing list here.

Pack Layered Clothing

Depending on how long you’ll be gone for, you may need a variety of clothing for different types of scenarios and weather. If you’re leaving for more than a month, the weather can change drastically in some places, so it’s best to bring plenty of layered options to help keep you warm or cool no matter what the day’s forecast brings.

If you’re going somewhere cold or you’re traveling during the winter, we definitely recommend bringing along a coat, but, since this is one of the bulkiest items in a suitcase, try only bringing one or two and wear it to the airport or on the train to avoid cluttering up your suitcase. Cold weather accessories like a beanie and a pair of gloves might be used, as well, in case of a temperature drop.

Pack Your Accessories Wisely

If you’re heading out of town or even out of the country for an extended period of time, you’re probably going to want to bring a lot of the items you use regularly, including accessories like jewelry or bags. Depending on the purpose of your travel, you may be more tempted to bring extra accessories to keep you looking good when you hit the town to party or attend a special event. It can be tough traveling with expensive accessories, and you don’t want to get carried away by bringing too many.

You also risk damaging some of your more prized jewelry items if you try to bring too much in a small bag. Pick out your favorite gold chain or other jewelry item and bring only one or two with you. That way, if one gets lost or damaged, you still have your other accessories waiting for you safely at home.

Bring Only the Most Important Toiletries

Although you might be tempted to bring everything in your bathroom cabinet, toiletries are the easiest things to travel without. If you have very specific hair products that you need to bring with you, then try to pack only the most important ones that you can’t live without. If these items aren’t very expensive, you can still leave them behind and buy a travel version of the same products once you reach your destination.

Toiletries can be tough to travel with because they have the potential to break or spill and ruin some of your other items. If you’re traveling by plane, there are tough restrictions on carrying liquids through security. Since many hair and makeup products are liquid, you may not even be able to bring these along with you. Determine which items are completely necessary, and then buy the rest of your toiletries when you arrive.

Don’t Forget Comfortable Shoes

Shoes are some of the most important items you can bring with you when traveling because they can really make or break your trip. Even if you’re headed somewhere for work, do not forget a comfortable pair of tennis shoes—because you will, at some point, want to explore your new destination.

If you’re only wearing work shoes or high heels, you will feel the consequences. For anyone traveling long-term, it can be tempting to overpack shoes because you may need multiple types of multiple occasions. Try to limit yourself to one pair of comfortable tennis shoes, one pair of dress shoes or heels, and maybe a third pair as back-up. If you’re headed somewhere tropical, you’ll probably want your third pair to be some type of sandal. If you’re headed to colder weather, consider some type of warm, sturdy boots.

A Backpack Is a Necessity

When traveling long-term, a backpack is a great piece of luggage to have with you because you can bring it with you on day trips and it can act as a personal item when traveling by plane. This provides you with extra space, and it’s the perfect piece of luggage to put valuable items in, such as your laptop or Kindle reader. Backpacks tend to have a lot of pockets, as well, which gives you additional spots to fill in with some of your necessary belongings and small toiletries.

Have Extra Luggage

If possible, you may want to consider bringing with you some additional luggage on your long-term trip or try to leave extra room in your luggage. Many people try to stuff their bags to the brim prior to the trip only to realize they don’t have any room for the items they’re going to bring back. Even if you don’t plan on purchasing anything during your trip, you never know when you’ll find the perfect souvenir or item you’ve been searching for. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and try to save some space for items you’ll be bringing home.

Keep Yourself Prepared

Before venturing off on your big trip, be sure to double-check everything that you’ve packed. For many people, it’s easiest to make a list of what they want to bring prior to packing. Then, as they begin packing their belongings, they might remember new items to add to the list.

At the end of your packing session, review your list and try to brainstorm any scenarios in which you might absolutely need something that you haven’t packed. As long as you bring plenty of layers, keep your number of shoes to a minimum, and plan to purchase your toiletries at your destination, you should be ready to go.

About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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