image credit to featherandbranch

Last night I was packing my bag for this weekend’s trip with the bf and my sis in Hong kong. I tend to pack light because I don’t like to carry too many things around.  A not so long time ago, I tended to overpack, particularly for long work trips. I’d be bringing extra sets of clothes I knew I wouldn’t eventually wear, and extra things like accessories, facial products etc that I wouldn’t eventually get time/have the discipline to use. I always returned home feeling a little silly with 1/3 of the things in my luggage unused.

My mother used to tell me, do you have your passport? Money? Credit card? And work materials (if a work trip)? If yes then that’s fine, everything else can be bought. I thought she made a lot of sense so since then, I’ve gotten more sensible and only tend to ever pack the essentials.
And here you can see the bare essentials I’ve packed for this 3d2n trips (my intimates excluded from this picture for my modesty)

After adopting this approach however, I now find I tend to forget some important but possibly not essential items. Here’s a flashpacker to-bring items check list I’ve come up with for future trips so I can tick off each one easily

Travel items to bring check list

The bare essentials: 

  1. Passport
  2. Credit cards/debit cards – if you use a debit card, remember to authorize overseas transactions 
  3. Money & wallet – I tend to bring both local and foreign currency in case. Might also be a good idea to separate the cash to put in your wallet/hand-carry bag and luggage just in case. Those who are more paranoid may opt for a money belt for extra security. 
  4. Universal travel adapter – don't count on the hotel/hostel to lend you on, you might be disappointed 
  5. Phone charger/USB charger for phone – lifesaver, really!
  6. Sets of clothing & intimates – rule of thumb, if you’re going for X days, bring at least x sets of clothing + at least 1 set of clothes for sleeping. For outerwear I tend to bring x/2 or fewer since I’m not fussy about re-wearing the same outwear. 
  7. Plastic bags/clear zip lock bags – you never know what you’ll need them for- your dirty laundry, for spilled drinks… just bring some, they’ll be a lifesaver I swear. 
  8. Copies of travel documents  - these could be printed confirmation slips of your flight booking, hotel booking, insurance, maps etc. remember to keep them in your hand carry bag instead of check in bag for easy access. 
  9. Toiletries & make up (if applicable) – if I take a proper airline I tend take the toiletries pack provided by the airline for future use. Toothbrush, toothpaste and facial wash are essential for long-haul flights if you don’t want to alight the plane looking and smelling awful.  Lip balm, moisturizer and comb may be useful, particularly for countries with colder climates. 
  10. Medicine for common illnesses, band-aids for small cuts – I’d argue medicine isn’t an essential for myself, but for most people I suppose it is. Personally I’ve also encountered one incident in which the cough chewies and flu medicine I brought were the only things that kept me barely hanging on, so I’ve include this as an essential. I’d say bring medicine for cough, cold/flu and diarrhea because these are the most common and also quite troubling conditions one might contract. Band-aids on the other hand, are really useful; I always bring some on my trips. 

Nice to haves: 

  1. Camera - For some this is not an essential, and also hey, nowadays loads of people use their phone camera, so not sure if you need to bring a huge-ass DSLR along? 
  2. Extra footwear & socks – this may or may not be an essential depending on the nature of your trip (you might want to put your hiking boots in your check-in luggage instead of wearing them on the long flight, or you might want to bring slippers to wear to the hostel shared bathroom etc.), but generally I wouldn’t consider this an essential 
  3. Food reserves/snacks – particularly useful for long backpacking trips, or if you’re taking a budget airline and don’t want to be spending $2 on instant noodles on a flight. 
  4. A few packets of tissue/toilet paper – in case you’re going somewhere far from civilization, a bit of tissue could save your modesty, whether to wipe your bottom or to clear off some dirt or mucus from your nose. 
  5. Some form of entertainment – this could be your ipad, a book, an amusing friend to occupy you while you are on the road… okay that wasn’t funny. 
  6. Trip-specific items – for example, for a beach holiday, remember to bring your sunblock/sun tan lotion, aloe vera gel (for sunburns) sunglasses, floppy hat and beach mat; for an outdoor camping trip remember to bring your inspect repellent, sleeping bag, and thicker parka or blanket for sleeping etc.

If the list above isn’t enough for you, use the one here from travelsmith, which gives a detailed breakdown of all the possible items you may need/want to bring for your trip overseas.

Looking at the list, i feel ready as ever to brave the autumn winds and stern faces in Hong Kong. Are you going anywhere this weekend? All packed and ready to go?