I about to pack for one of the longest trips of my life. I have a three week adventure and I must strap everything I need into a 65-liter adventure backpack. Packing things “just in case” is not realistic. Everything that makes it in there will have to be a must have which is tricky for someone who is a serial over packer. I enjoy having the comforts of home and I often bring items that I might need and a bunch that are nice to have. But in all reality, that is not going to fly (pun intended) for this trip.
I have compiled a traveling list that will help you determine the necessities for any type of trip that you are taking, with some tweaking to your own personal taste.
First, determine what type of trip you are taking and what suitcase you will need. A two week vacation in Hawaii will require different luggage than an adventure through Thailand. For a vacation where you are staying put (staying in one or two different hotels) a plain, old suitcase will do. However, if you are consistently moving places constantly and traveling with a rolling suitcase is not ideal, consider a backpack made for extended travel. (The North Face has a great line of adventure packs that will fit the bill.) Also consider how you will be traveling. Can you imagine yourself rolling a huge suitcase through a crowded train station? Are you renting a car? Those will greatly affect what type of luggage is a appropriate for you.
Next consider clothes. This is, in my opinion, the most important part of what you pack because you have to wear clothes. For any trip, a good standard is to bring neutrals that can be mixed and matched for maximum wearibility. Neutrals include basics (jeans, cardigans, t-shirts) in neutral colors (black, white, cream, brown, tan). It might seem stupid to worry about what you wear, but just know that bright clothing stands out. And you will look like you wore the same hot pink shirt for the entire trip. Neutrals make it so you can easily make new outfits for your entire trip. Do not bring something that cannot be worn into three different outfits at least.
How much you bring of which clothes will depend greatly on the length and type of trip. For a longer trip, you can still get away with minimal clothing if you are smart to do laundry while you are traveling. That will free up room in your pack for souvenirs. For the types of clothing, think comfortable but stylish (if that is your desire).
Next add in toiletries. Note that most hotels will offer basic toiletries like shampoo and soap. Make sure to bring enough prescription medications to cover your entire trip. Toiletries will vary greatly on your beauty routine, but keep it simple. You do not want to spend your entire trip in the bathroom primping.
Finally, your camera. Bring a big enough memory card, battery charger and snap away. Picture are the best souvenirs.