Greetings all my wonderful and wanderlust readers! This blog post was just inspired by a friend of mine who is preparing to come to visit me in Spain next month for her and her kid’s first-ever trip to Europe! She brought up a great point about how it would be great to have a packing checklist from someone who lives where they want to travel since a “local” or person living there would have better insight on what they’d need. So, from that conversation, I was inspired to write this Essential Packing List for Air Travel!
1) Check Travel Restrictions
When flying, especially since COVID, it is 110% essential that you CHECK TRAVEL REGULATIONS! This has been a HUGE one that I’m still figuring out but seems impossible some days. That is just due to the nature of the beast and how quickly things can change. This has bitten me in the butt once, and since then, I’ve been on the verge of obsessive to learn what all the regulations are (in Europe) for countries I want to travel to AND the countries I’d TRANSIT through.
I learned this when we were on our way back to the United States in Spring 2021, and we were going to be flying through Germany from Spain – I didn’t check the regulations for Germany because we barely had a layover there. So, it didn’t dawn on me to check. Big mistake! This is how I learned how quickly a family could zip from the airport in Barcelona to a clinic to get a Rapid test during a three-hour layover so we could get our boarding passes to continue our journey. Whew! Stressful! Since that experience, I’ve gone overboard to ensure I know all the rules for the countries I am going to and the ones I am transiting through.
2) Check The Weather!
This might seem like a silly thing to add but it is very important to know what to pack if you know what the weather is going to be like while you are visiting. A good example of this is my husband, we left Spain when it was hot and sunny and he ended up packing all his clothes to visit Illinois in the Spring and he had nothing but t-shirts and shorts in 40-50 degree weather.
Pro Tip: If you are traveling to Spain in the summer like my friend is, you want to pack LOTS of summer clothes. The summers in the South of Spain are extremely hot, beach weather every day. Shorts, tank tops, and light layers to help cover your skin
3) Plan Some Activities
One of the best ways to plan how you are going to pack is also figuring out what kind of activities you will do during your trip. Of course, if you will be lounging on the beach or hitting up the mall, you don’t really need to put too much planning into what you are packing. But, for example, my husband and I just came back from a trip to Croatia, where we were basing the entire trip around diving for wine (more to come on that). So this means that obviously, we would need to plan to pack our diving stuff (for us, that meant our entire scuba kit). Or other items that, if you didn’t own your own gear, you’d need to bring to enjoy a scuba trip.
If you know, or have an idea, of what you are doing while you are traveling will help you know what and how to pack for your trip!
4) Trip Length & Amenities
A packing tip that never goes old – how long are you going, and what do you have available to you? Like I can pack for a month of travel (even though I still tend to overpack due to “what if” scenarios) in a smaller suitcase if I know I’ll have access to laundry service. I never plan to take advantage of laundry service in the hotel because it tends to be very expensive, but if you’re staying at an Air BnB or a family/friend’s house, you can plan better for outfits that you can wash and reuse for longer trips instead of going on a 3-week trip and packing 3-weeks worth of clothes!
5) Don’t Forget Your Underwear!
Bare with me when I share this story – but…t! You’d think that this is something that someone would NEVER DO! Forget underwear?! That is the number one essential that you’d need every single day for any day, whether you’re traveling or not. Well, that doesn’t always mean it is remembered.
A few years ago my family and I were living in Idaho and I was graduating from my collage Art Institute of Pittsburgh (which was online) and chose to walk in the ceremony for the Art Institute of Seattle since I didn’t have much of an opportunity to walk for my high school graduation due to being homeschooled. It was big deal to me and a big event. We weren’t even flying, we packed up the truck and made the 10-hour drive from Twin Falls Idaho to Seattle Washington. And yet somehow, during that packing process…I COMPLETELY forgot to pack my underwear!
Needless to say that this experience of getting ready for my graduation and sending my husband out to buy me panties while I’m showering wasn’t a great one but it did teach me to double check my packing items.
Put aside your ABSOLUTE essentials off to the side to ensure that you have them. I usually pack on one side of my suitcase and have my staged items on the other side so that way they don’t get buried or separated and left behind.
These are just a few tips for air travel since 2020 that I’ve learned or other packing tips I’ve picked up through my travels and journeys! I hope this helps you! To learn more about how to travel light I have another blog about Best Packing Tips for Flying with a Carryon