20 International Travel Necessities

20 International Travel Necessities
multi-step direction practice

When going on an international trip, what must-have things should you not leave home without?

The internet is full of helpful packing lists for travel, but often lacks the explanation as to WHY those items are necessities or how to differentiate between necessities and niceties. In addition to your clothes, what should you not leave home without? Whether you have made your first international travel plans or are helping a friend pack, here are a 20 necessities and 20 niceties for international travel to get your started. Bon voyage! 


Travel tissues (not all bathrooms have tissues, have one in your daypack and one extra in your luggage)

Change/small bills (to pay to use some restrooms or buy water in order to be able use a restroom, to pay at places that do not accept cards)

Credit/Bank card without international fees (notify your bank of your travels, too, so you can release your cards for international use)

1 reusable grocery bag (many stores charge for bags)

Day pack or bag with crossbody strap (for the days when you aren’t carrying your luggage everywhere)

Hand sanitizer (so many germs in public spaces!)

Universal power adapter (can be used in different countries)

Toiletries and medicines you often use, first aid supplies (band aids, tylenol, etc.)

Earplugs (block out snores, barking dogs, or thin walls)

A few resealable plastic bags to use for carrying or closing up snacks

A few emergency granola bars/snacks/tea bags (not many, just a few for when you unexpectedly find out local grocery stores are not open that day or not walkable)

A note card with emergency details, confirmation numbers, and contact information including addresses where you are going, phone number for cc company, (not just stored on your phone in case it is not available)

Comfortable shoes (your feet and back will thank you)

A bag for dirty laundry or wet items (in case you have to pack before your clothes are dry or you do not have time to do laundry)

bar of soap (for shower, for clothes in sink, dishes, etc. Dr Bonner makes a good one, can cut in half for smaller size)

A clothes pin or two (clip blinds together, hang clothes, chip clip, etc.)

Long charging cord (outlets are not necessarily convenient locations)

Having a change of clothes in your carry on bag (just in case your luggage doesn’t make it)

Photocopy all travel documents and take pictures of them (leave extra cards/unnecessary wallet items at home)

Kindness (pretty sure this one is self explanatory)


Raincoat (a small packable one)

Refillable water bottle, preferably with a handle to grab/carry (just because the local water is drinkable doesn’t mean the pipes in the building you are staying in are the best option – see if the recommendation is to buy water and stay hydrated)

Nail clippers/file (should be something kept in your toiletries bag)

Back up credit card (also without fees and notify the company of your travel)

Personal safety alarm  (preferred to pepper spray)

Hair product/conditioner (shampoo is readily available but not so much with conditioner or gels if that is something you regularly use)

SIM card or e-sim (nice to be able to use  Google maps and get a taxi and Google lens for translating menus/signs)

Active charcoal tablets (to help lesson food poisoning on questionable meals)

Luggage locks/thin steel cable (to lock while you travel, attach your bag to a tree while you swim, etc. Slows down theft. Can also use mini carabineer hooks on zippers)

Travel towel (quick dry ones are nice)

Scarf or pashmina (can double as a pool coverup, blanket, pillow, picnic mat, head cover, etc.)

Packing cubes/compression cubes (how can anyone pack without these?! So helpful and space saving!)

Sunscreen and/or bug spray (in small containers if you are only doing carry on, local ones are not always the strength you hope to find or are knockoffs)

A small game (like Uno or Blink, easy way to make a new friend)

Portable charger and cords (nice for in your day bag, when outlets are not readily available)

Flashlight or clip light (for reading light, night light, etc.)

Spork or travel cutlery set (sometimes we actually take a plastic plate with us too which helps if you want to eat leftovers or shop the market)

A printed photo or two of your family, or a local scene, or you doing something you love (good conversation starter with a new friend, but avoid pics that contain too many material possessions)

A hostess gift or two (just a small thank you gift is nice to have in your bag)

Patience (besides just being common courtesy, you will have less stress and be happier when you travel with patience)


There are plenty of good packing list options for clothes and toiletries available online. Here’s mine. https://www.tailorjoy.com/carry-on-bag-adventures/ 

Want tips about ultra minimalist travel? Go here

Did I miss something on my list? Post in the comments below!

Table Talk: What item did you once forget on a trip? What items would you add or subtract from the necessity list?

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