Don’t stress too much about packing. Inevitably, you will forget something, but you’ll gain so much more from traveling. In case you are stressed, here are some of our tips for what to pack and what not to pack for your overseas adventure (note: probably best to leave the bald eagle bro tank at home):

  • Backpack: When you travel, you’re gonna have a lot of crap. Which means you’ll need some other crap to carry said crap. That’s where the backpack comes in. Durable, dependable, and larger than you’d expect, your pack will become your best friend. When we traveled, we took an Osprey Kestrel 28 and it comfortably got our researchers through 10 weeks of travel. For help choosing the perfect pack, visit your local sporting goods store and they’ll take your measurements and be able to hook a brother up. Along with a backpack, you should also bring a smaller daypack, purse, or money belt to carry things around on a day-to-day basis. When you’re packing, organize everything with Ziploc or nylon bags. Bags on bags on bags.
  • #realtalk: Suitcase or backpack? If it holds your shit, it holds your shit. But no one dreams of being a suitcase-er. Except probably your parents. The benefits of the pack? Sturdy, carries a lot, screams, “I’m dirty and have no money!”, and will be so much more convenient when you’re traversing those little cobblestoned and unpaved streets in the big, wide world.
  •  Essentials: If you wanna be a rebel and disregard everything else on this list, just remember these:
    • Passport
    • Debit or credit card
    • Another form of ID (i.e., a driver’s license) so you don’t have to carry your passport around everywhere
    • Student ID or ISIC (discounts!)
    • Scanned copies of all important documents, IDs in your email
  • Clothes: What and how much depends on where you’re traveling and how OK you are with looking like a dirty hippie five out of seven days a week. If you’re going somewhere more conservative, leave the crop tops and booty shorts at home. Sure, they take up less space in your pack and require less dignity in your soul, but experiencing new places is also all about respecting cultures that don’t get off on pictures of George Washington riding on bald eagles (JK, we
  • 1 pair of paints
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 3-4 shirts/tops
  • 1 pair of nicer paints or a skirt (to make said tops look classier on a Friday night)
  • 1 sweatshirt or jacket (depending on how cold it will be)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Flip-flops or sandals
  • Dressier shoes (if you plan on going out or gettin’ fancy)
  • Swimsuit
  • Optional: Sun dresses (they’re like tops and bottoms for half the space!) and a scarf (a long one will be fashionable and also help you cover up in a church)
  • Underwear: This is important enough to deserve its own spot on the list. You can never have too much clean underwear. Bring everything you own. If you do ever run out of underwear on your trip, don’t panic. Going commando is always an option. In fact, we’re pretty sure a doctor (or someone) once told us that it’s good to air out your undercarriage every once in a while. But bringing plenty of underwear is probably a better idea.
  • Toiletries: You’re going to be in a constant state of dirty this whole trip. And you’ll probably kind of like it. But here are some essential toiletries that you should bring (at least to last through the first week) to still be acceptable in society:
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste (if your dentist asks, you definitely flossed, too)
    • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner (which we are told is all the same for guys)
    • Razors
    • Deodorant
    • Contacts (bring spares), contact lens solution, lens case, glasses
    • That retainer you never wear
  • Optional:
    • Make-up and make-up remover (fun fact: extra contact lens solution is a powerful make-up remover, as is your pillowcase)
    • Face wash
    • Lotion (especially helpful if you’re using a crappy razor)
    • Towel:  Bringing a towel is handy, but many places also allow towel rental, so this is up to you.
    • Tweezers, nail clippers
    • Hair ties, clips, etc.
  • Electronics:  Welcome to the new age. While you don’t want to look like a walking Apple store as you stroll to the train station, you can bring electronics as long as you stay cautious of where you leave them and bring only what you really need.
    • Phone
    • Camera
    • Laptop or tablet
    • Headphones (don’t let your new, cool hostel friends find out about your love for acoustic One Direction!)
    • Chargers
    • Adapters: Trying to plug a charger into a foreign outlet is how we imagine some men must feel in bed. Be sure to read up on what kind of travel adapter your country needs. If you’re Eurotripping, note that northern and southern Europe use different adapters.
  • Medicine: Sometimes you’re sure that the “Don’t drink tap water” sign was just a suggestion. Sometimes you’re wrong. So bring medicine. It doesn’t take up much space, and you’re not going to want to go to a pharmacy when you’re curled up in your hostel bathroom with some sort of foreign bug that your American immune system is not prepared to handle. Be sure to take out an advance on any prescription medicine that you need to take (like birth control) and be sure to bring a copy of your prescription as well. For everything else, head to your drug dealers at CVS and pick up some of these:
    • Ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve, Tylenol)
    • Pepto Bismol (there is a life-saving chewable tablet kind—buy it)
    • Band Aids
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Allergy medicine
    • Cold medicine
    • Alka selzter
  • Condoms: If you plan on being sexually active while overseas, all you need is love and condoms. Avoid getting an unexpected travel souvenir nine months later, and make sure your summer love bug doesn’t leave you with a permanent super cootie. If you’re on a college campus, pick up some condoms for free before you leave since love is a little pricier when converted to euros.
  • Miscellaneous: Things that are optional but you’ll maybe really want at some point during your trip.
    • Sun screen
    • Bug spray
    • A notebook
    • A book to read for pleasure (Wi-Fi wastelands abound)
    • Bottle opener
    • Corkscrew
    • Pocket knife
    • Something to remind you of home (so, on second thought, maybe that bald eagle bro tank)
Packing List was last modified: August 7th, 2015 by Will Holub-Moorman