packing list essentials for an overseas trip

Whether you travel overseas a lot or this year will be your first trip, it’s always good to review the packing list essentials for an overseas trip. Personally, I’m very excited because tax season is over and that means I can finally start traveling this year! I have been looking at packing essentials that other people like and found that my list is very similar to most others. I will be adding a couple new things to my travel bag this year, which I will point out in this list.

This list contains links to products so, if you are interested, you can find exactly what I am mentioning in my packing list essentials.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything through them, I will get a small referral fee and you will be supporting me and my blog at no extra cost to you, so thank you!

1. Secure Backpack

Backpacks make it so easy to have fun while exploring because they free up your hands! You have to remember to stay safe though. Don’t set yourself up for pickpocketing or theft with backpacks that don’t zip or have good closures. This backpack has awesome features: it is water resistant and the main pocket has a combination lock.

If backpacks aren’t your thing and you prefer to bring a purse, pick a cross-body purse that has a zipper closure. Also, don’t forget to wear your purse in front of you instead of leaving it in the back.


2. International Power Adapter

If you are going to a different country, then a power adapter is a must. Different countries have different outlets, so an adapter allows you to charge your electronics.

I got this set last year and haven’t needed it yet, but I will be set for going all over the world with these adapters!



Be careful though, a power adapter is not the same as a voltage converter. The United States’ standard voltage is 120V while Europe and the UK’s voltage is 220 – 240V. Many electronics these days are dual voltage, meaning they can be plugged into any outlet and be okay. Many appliances, however, are not dual voltage and will burn up if plugged into the wrong outlet.

You can find out if yours is dual voltage or not by reading the small print on your appliance or charger. For example, my Apple phone charger says “Input: 100-240V.” This means that it’s dual voltage and I don’t need a power converter – only a power adapter is fine. My clothing steamer, however, says “110V” only. This means that it is not dual voltage and I would need a voltage converter if I wanted to use this in Europe or the UK.

3. Copy of Passport and Travel Documents

This is an important one that hopefully you will not need to actually use. Make two copies of your passport ID page – one to put in your carry-on and one to keep with a trusted family member or friend. Also do the same with important travel documents that have phone numbers and locations of where you should be staying or visiting. This is for emergencies, in case you lose your passport or cannot find your way to where you should be going. If you do lose your passport, you will need to contact the closest U.S. embassy or consulate.

4. Digital Camera

Having a digital camera in addition to your phone is great for traveling. You will be able to take thousands of photos without using your phone battery and without taking up a lot of space in your phone storage. I personally love Canon cameras, they always have great quality.

Don’t forget to take an extra battery for your camera! If you love to take pictures, you will definitely need it – or maybe even two extras!

You will also want a camera case. You can put this around your neck and have your camera at your fingertips any time you need it. Your hands will be free and your camera will be ready to go as soon as you need it.

Trust me, you do not want your camera stuck in your backpack when you only have a few moments to capture that perfect shot.


5. First Aid Kit

I make my own first aid kit that I bring along when I travel. The small pre-packed first aid kits do not have the items that I need in my kit. I suggest you have at least these items in your kit:

6. Pain Reliever

This can also go into your first aid kit. You don’t want to be stuck in a foreign country without something simple like a pain reliever. You may not know what the standard pain reliever is in that country, so it’s best to pack what you normally use.

It’s also great to have on hand when you are traveling by plane, car, bus, train, or boat and do not have access to a drugstore.


7. Antibacterial Hand Wipes

Do not forget the hand wipes. You might as well bring some hand sanitizer, too! I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.

The wipes are great to have not only to wipe your hands but also anything else you might be touching or using in a public place.

I like the hand wipes better than just regular hand sanitizer when traveling because your hands get pretty dirty and it’s nice to actually wipe away the dirt and bacteria rather than hoping it evaporates.


8. Cleansing Face Wipes

Your hands are not the only things that will need to be cleaned when traveling. If you have ever been on a really long flight, you would know that you feel pretty gross afterwards. Sitting for many hours in a really small space with many people around you…everyone needs a shower afterwards. Well, since we can’t always shower right after we get off a plane, cleansing face wipes will come in very handy!

Use these as you get close to landing at your destination to feel clean and refreshed even before you step off the plane. I’m planning on doing that this year!

9. Comfortable Shoes

Comfortable walking shoes are a must when traveling. You don’t want your feet to hurt while sightseeing. What kind of comfortable shoes you bring will depend on where you are going and what the weather will be like, but some simple sneakers are usually a safe choice.

10. Sunglasses

Even if you’re going somewhere cold, it will probably be sunny at some point. Don’t forget your sunglasses! Bonus points if they are polarized, like these cute ones.



11. Flip Flops

Even if you are not going to the beach, flip flops are a must. Do you really want to be walking around the hotel room with bare feet?

Flip flops take up minimal space in your suitcase, plus you can wear them outside. It’s a much better choice than bringing house slippers on your trip!



12. Corkscrew

A corkscrew is one of those items that you don’t think you will need until you need it! If you don’t ever drink wine, then maybe you really wouldn’t need it. Getting drinks at bars can get expensive though and this corkscrew is so small, it doesn’t take up any space. You should bring one, just in case!

Just remember to put a corkscrew in your checked luggage. Don’t try to take this in your carry-on or it might end up in the trash at the airport.


13. Neck Pillow

Is an airplane really comfortable without a good neck pillow?

They have really improved these travel pillows. If you get one ahead of time, you can find a really nice one, like this one. Otherwise, you’ll have to get whatever is available at the airport shops. Those won’t be as good and most likely they will be over-priced.


14. Comfortable Jacket

 A comfortable zip-up hoodie is a must for me. I like to have one on the plane because I get cold so easily.

It’s also nice to have for the end of the day when you’re relaxing and want to snuggle up in a hoodie.

Also, it’s good to have for layering if where you’re going gets chilly! You could bring one nice jacket but having a warm hoodie underneath will make you comfortable for the whole day.


15. Poly Envelope for Documents

Keep your paperwork organized and in one place with a poly envelope. I used one on my last trip and it was so handy to have. Before using this, I had all my printed out information, such as hotel reservation confirmations, in a pocket in my backpack. Those papers got very crumpled. Plus, I was always afraid of losing something when reaching in and out of my backpack. This problem was solved with a poly envelope like this!

16. Noise Cancelling Headphones

This is an item that I still need to add to my travel bag. It would be so nice to put on noise cancelling headphones on a plane. Crying baby near you? No problem with these headphones!


17. Sunscreen

Don’t forget your sunscreen! Even if you are going to a chilly or cloudy location, you should always wear sunscreen if you will be spending any time outside. And I am sure you will be spending time outside!

Sun Bum sunscreen is paraben free and cruelty free. It’s also water resistant for 80 minutes! They also have a spray sunscreen and facial sunscreen, if you prefer those.

Travel tip: bring a full size bottle and put it in your checked luggage. If you aren’t going to check any luggage, make sure to get a travel size bottle for your carry-on.

18. Insect Repellent

This is an item you want to bring with you for one main reason: to keep mosquito-borne diseases away, of course. If you are going anywhere tropical or a jungle or a forested area, you will need bug spray.

You may or may not find some bug spray to purchase wherever you go, but I am sure it will be over-priced if you do find some. Bring some with you and put it in your checked luggage. If you aren’t checking any luggage, they do make bug spray wipes you can bring instead.


19. Mesh Laundry Bags

This item will be new for me this year but I think it will make packing, unpacking, and laundry so much easier. These mesh bags are usually meant for washing delicate items – you put them in the bag and wash them in the bag so they do not get damaged in the washing machine. I have been using these mesh bags for washing items recently.

These are also great for organizing your suitcase! Categorize your clothes and put them in the mesh bags before putting them in your suitcase. As you wear your clothes on your trip, put the dirty laundry in the bags to keep them separate and away from your clean clothes.

20. Medication

This one is an item you do not want to forget! You will probably not be able to get your specific medication in another country. Think birth control, vitamins, high blood pressure medication… and don’t forget your pain relievers!

My mother-in-law also has pointed out something very important: make sure the medication you are bringing with you is legal where you are going and the airports you will be traveling through. For example, cannabis oil is pretty controversial… if you don’t absolutely need a medication, I would just safely leave it at home.


Bring extra empty quart-sized baggies. Toss some extra ones in your suitcase in case your original one breaks or something spills in it. This way, you will be prepared for getting through airport security on your trip home.

20 Packing List Essentials For an Overseas Trip

What are some of your must-haves on a trip? Leave a comment below!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you click on an item and make a purchase, I will receive an affiliate commission. This does not affect the cost of any item for the buyer. Read my full disclosure policy here.