The Ultimate Long-trip Packing List

Here’s all the clothing, gear, and accessories you need for your next long trip.

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What to Pack for a Long Trip

Travel & Leisure / David Hattan

I’ve been living out of my carry-on suitcase for eight months, and if it’s taught me anything, it’s that I don’t need much else. As a lifelong hoarder — the kind who keeps a stash of shells from beach walks and boxes of boarding pass stubs from every flight I’ve ever taken — it’s been immensely liberating to learn that everything I need to go from a beachy Maldives getaway to hiking Sicily’s Mount Etna and working the grape harvest in France can all fit in a 22 x 14 x 9-inch suitcase. 

Packing for an extended trip looks very different from packing for a business trip or weeklong vacation. You’ll need to consider the various destinations and climates you’ll encounter along the way, plus what essentials you won’t be able to get elsewhere (think prescription medications or your go-to skincare products). 

While it pays to be prepared, you typically can buy or borrow most things you’d need wherever you’re off too, so don’t stress over items you think won’t get much use. The goal is to travel as light as possible, making sure every item in your suitcase serves multiple functions and is generally neutral in color, to maximize all mix-and-match outfit potential. 

Packing Checklist for a Long Trip

Here, I’ve rounded up the fruits of all my packing trials and errors, along with tips and T+L-editor approved picks for what to bring along on your next extended trip. Of course it goes without saying to always include your general travel essentials like a passport and any necessary visas or vaccination cards. 

One of the easiest hacks for becoming a better packer is to make a list of everything you need and want for your trip — then to nix about half of your wants. You’ll be shocked by how little you’ll miss them when you’re chasing a new adventure every day, but you’ll be grateful to have your essentials on hand in unfamiliar places. The list also makes for a handy reference point for all future travels; it’s a good idea to edit it after a trip (when it’s fresh in your mind which pieces got the most use and which never came out of your suitcase), and it helps ensure you won’t forget anything when repacking. 

Read on for everything you need to pack for an extended trip, and learn more about each recommendation below.

Clothing and Shoes

Gear

Accessories

Clothing and Shoes

When packing for a longer trip, focus on lightweight, versatile pieces. Once your list is written out, you’ll be able to see that some items may be superfluous and could be replaced by a piece that does double duty (think swapping short-sleeve and long-sleeved shirts for one shirt with sleeves you can roll up, or a taking an oversized scarf that works as a shawl, swimsuit cover-up and picnic blanket instead of a single-use sweater).

Shoes should be multi-functional as well, ideally able to take you from a day of sight-seeing to a night on the town. I always opt for neutral pieces that layer easily, ideally in quick-drying materials. To keep footwear to the essentials, I limit myself to one pair of sneakers, sandals (or boots) that take me from day to night, and flip-flops that double as shower shoes. 

Best Lightweight Jacket

Marmot Women's Minimalist Component 3-in-1 Jacket

Marmot Minimalist Component 3-in-1 Jacket

Marmot

While I’m a die-hard Uniqlo girl when it comes to lightweight layers, it often doesn’t cut it in cooler temperatures or rainier climates. Marmot’s 3-in-1 jacket solves all of those issues with its trio of weather-resistant layers, including a removable thermal inner liner, Gore-tex technology to minimize internal condensation and repel water from the recycled outer lining, plus a hood to block the rain and wind. While it’s still lightweight (1.5 pounds), it’s a layer you’d be better off wearing on the plane in order to avoid taking up unnecessary bulk in your suitcase. 

Price at time of publish: $350

Best Travel Outfit

Reformation Rou Knit Dress

Reformation Rou Knit Dress

Reformation

This swishy Reformation dress is my go-to for every longhaul flight or train ride. It feels like wearing pajamas but looks incredibly pulled-together, making it easy to head straight from the airport to exploring my next destination. The material is ultra lightweight and cozy, and has stood the test of time over the past few years, keeping me company in all sorts of climates as it’s summery on its own but layers well under a chunky sweater. Even if you’re not a dress person, this will change your mind. 

Price at time of publish: $98

Best Sneakers

Allbirds Wool Runners

Allbirds Wool Runners

Nordstrom

Made from odor-and-sweat-minimizing, quick-drying merino wool, these Allbirds sneakers are a traveler’s best friend. Their lightweight construction makes them perfect for smushing into your suitcase and wandering around a new city, while the design is sleek enough to wear for a night on the town. We love that they’re machine-washable for easy cleaning, plus they’re carbon neutral and made of recycled materials like plastic water bottles — even ultra-eco-conscious Leonardo DiCaprio is a fan (and investor). They’re also soft enough that you can even wear them sans socks, if that’s your thing. 

While these are our favorite all-purpose sneakers, if you need dedicated running shoes, consider a pair of fashionable-yet-functional black Nikes that you can wear for working out and walking around during the day.

Price at time of publish: $110

Best Travel Sandals

Hush Puppies Brite Jells

Hush Puppies Brite Jells

Hush Puppies

While the cult-like appeal of Birkenstocks is growing on me recently, I’ve always been drawn to sandals with a bit of a lift. Anything that feels orthopedic but looks like I could wear it out dancing is a dream combo, and I’ve found that in these Hush Puppies jelly sandals. They don’t make my feet sweat like the jellies of my childhood, and there’s another model with an ankle strap if you’re looking for extra support. I love being able to walk out the door in the morning knowing I’ll be as comfy walking cobblestone streets all day as I’ll be showing up to a dinner date later that evening. 

Price at time of publish: $50

Best T-Shirt

Allbirds Women's Classic Fit Sea Tee

Allbirds Women's Classic Fit Sea Tee

Allbirds

The ideal travel T-shirt is one that requires less frequent washes, wicks away sweat and odors and dries quickly. Allbirds' proprietary TrinoXO material — a blend of sustainable eucalyptus fiber, Merino wool, and an antimicrobial material — marries all of those traits together into one incredibly soft shirt that doesn’t show sweat. It was initially designed as activewear, so you can trust it to take you trekking as well as train-hopping. It’s available in three neutral shades and a wide-range of limited edition colors, too. 

Price at time of publish: $48

Gear

Beyond clothing and shoes, there’s a handful of gear that will serve you well on longer trips, from reusable water bottles to portable steamers. The key is to keep things lightweight. Decide what’s easier to bring versus buy on arrival. In most destinations, you’ll be able to purchase, rent, or borrow whatever you may need, but if you’re heading somewhere more remote, make sure to keep these essentials in your carry-on.  

Best Steamer

STEAMERY Cirrus 3 Travel Steamer

STEAMERY Cirrus 3 Travel Steamer

Amazon

Carrying a portable steamer has been a game changer in my travels. Living out of a suitcase means my clothes are semi-permanently wrinkled, and being able to steam them in seconds ensures I look more put together than I really am. Steamery’s Cirrus 3 Iron Steamer also reduces odors and kills bacteria, which helps me get by on fewer washes with certain items. While it’s not the cheapest option on the market, it certainly beats the cost of pressing your clothes at hotels over time, and it’s lightweight enough (1.7 pounds) to be a worthwhile addition to any carry-on.

Price at time of publish: $180

Best Camera

Sony ZV-1 Digital Camera for Content Creators, Vlogging and YouTube with Flip Screen, Built-in Microphone, 4K HDR Video, Touchscreen Display

Sony ZV-1 Digital Camera

Amazon

A good camera is a traveler’s best friend, whatever the length of your trip. But the longer the journey, the happier you’ll be to have one that’s lightweight and easily packable — and is capable of capturing the highlights of your trip. Sony’s ZV-1 is designed for digital content creators and is ultra user-friendly, with top-tier video capability, 3x optical zoom, and a flip-out LCD screen that helps ensure you get the best selfies every time. 

Price at time of publish: $748

Best Wash Bag

Scrubba Portable Wash Bag

scrubba-portable-wash-bag

Scubba

Why sit around a laundromat when you could be out exploring a new city? While you might luck out with an AirBnb that has a washing machine and dryer, knowing that you can clean your clothes wherever you are offers peace of mind when you’re trying to limit how much you pack. Scrubba’s portable wash bag takes up next-to-no space in my suitcase, weighs just 5.3 ounces, and is perfect for cleaning small-to-medium loads. The patented washboard-in-a-bag technology helps rub stains out of clothes in 1-2 minutes. The best part is it plays double duty and you can use it as a laundry bag when it’s dry. 

Price at time of publish: $55

Best Reusable Water Bottle

Thermoflask Double Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle with Two Lids

4.7
Thermoflask Double Wall Vacuum Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle

Amazon

The Thermoflask Double Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle will keep you hydrated on the go, whether you’re sightseeing, working remotely, or on a longhaul flight. At just 1.1 pounds, the 18-ounce model is easy to tote around thanks to its comfortable grip and convenient carrying handle, and the vacuum-insulated, stainless steel coating keeps beverages cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. The chug cap is perfect for travelers looking to sip on the go, plus it’s leakproof, so there’s no need to stress if you need to throw it in your bag. There’s also a straw lid that delivers a steady flow if that’s your ideal sipping style. 

Price at time of publish: $28 for 18 ounces

Best Hotspot Router

GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

Amazon

This T+L editor-approved mobile hotspot is a must for digital nomads and is helpful for anyone who needs stronger internet connectivity in more far-flung destinations. The GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot has a sleek, streamlined design and a proprietary Cloud SIM technology, which allows you to choose pay-as-you-go internet packages in 144 countries around the globe and connect up to 10 devices. The best part? The hotspot comes with 1 free gigabyte of international data, which you can use over the course of 3 months.

Price at time of publish: $170

Best E-reader

Amazon All-new Kindle (2022 release)

All-new Kindle (2022 release)

Amazon

As someone who spent years packing my personal item with books that I barely made a dent in, carrying an e-reader has helped to lighten my load and allows me more freedom of choice when it comes to picking out what I want to read, when I want to read it. Amazon’s 2022 edition is super compact — just 6 x 4 inches and 5.56 ounces — making it easy to slip into your purse. T+L editors love this model for its budget-friendliness and easy-to-read six-inch display. 

Price at time of publish: $100

Accessories

Handy accessories like compression packing cubes and toiletry bags are great for staying organized on longer journeys, helping you to condense and keep track of your belongings at a glance. Packing a foldable, multipurpose tote not only serves you well on day trips, it can be slipped into another bag in case you do a little too much shopping on the go.

Best Packing Cubes

Gonex Compression Packing Cubes

5
Gonex Compression Packing Cubes

Amazon

This set of 4 packing cubes is essential for travelers looking to save space in their suitcase and stay organized on a longer journey by compressing their clothing into individual cubes. T+L editors named Gonex’s Compression Packing Cubes our favorites of 2023 thanks to sturdy zippers, water-repellent nylon exteriors, and resistance to tearing when overstuffed. They come in four sizes extra-large (17.3 x 13 x 3.54 inches), large (14.5 x 10.6 x 3.54 inches), medium (11.8 x 8.9 x 3.54 inches), and small (9.8 x 7.5 x 3.54 inches).

Price at time of publish: $33 for 4

Best Toiletry Bag

Away Large Toiletry Bag

4.8
Away Large Toiletry Bag

Away

Away’s Large Toiletry Bag holds more than it looks like it would and has ample organizational features to help you keep track of all your travel essentials, from haircare products to Q-tips and makeup. There’s a sleek exterior zip pocket to allow you easy access to your must-haves, plus several interior compartments, including a zippered pouch, two mesh linings, and a clear cosmetic-style bag. The bag’s water-resistant nylon exterior is smooth to the touch, while the wipeable material that coats the inside helps to prevent dreaded spills. 

Price at time of publish: $75

Best Tote

Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote

longchamp-large-le-pliage-tote

Nordstrom

There’s no better foldable bag to keep in your luggage than an iconic Longchamp Le Pliage. I’ve tried everything from standard cotton tote bags to squishable duffels and always come back to this classic for its durability, chic design, near-weightlessness (0.63 pounds for the large, 0.48 pounds for the medium) and its two handy internal storage pockets. The bag sits at the bottom of my suitcase in case I overdo it on souvenirs and need extra space, or if I need a place to store a few days' worth of clothes but don’t feel like lugging my luggage around on a weekend trip. 

Price at time of publish: $155 for large

Best Daily Sunscreen

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

4.7
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Supergoop

A good go-to sunscreen is crucial for everyday skin protection, especially when you’re changing climates and might be traveling in destinations where the sun is stronger than you’re used to. Supergoop’s cult-favorite Unseen Sunscreen is velvety smooth and absorbs instantly, without leaving any sticky residue. It’s scentless, chemical-free, and boasts broad-spectrum SPF 40 to help protect your face from sun damage. 

Price at time of publish: $38 for 1.7-ounce

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How much clothing should I pack for a long trip?

    While the amount of clothing you bring will depend on whether you’re carrying on or checking a bag, a good rule of thumb is to pack one week’s worth of clothing and plan to do laundry. A baseline checklist might include 4 tops, 3 bottoms, 3 pairs of shoes (including flip-flops), a week’s worth of underwear and socks, plus a hat. From there, adjust to your own needs — maybe swapping a top and bottom for a dress, or adding in 1-2 workout outfits. 

  • What other items should I pack for a longer vacation that I may not pack for a short trip?

    On shorter trips, when you’re less likely to be experiencing major climate swings, you can ditch some of your layers at home. For longer travel, layering is the most crucial thing to keep in mind while packing, so that you can jet from place to place without worrying if you don’t have weather-appropriate clothing. Lightweight jackets, scarves, rollable T-shirts, and loose-fitting pants are great pieces that can carry you through all sorts of scenarios on a trip that lasts longer than two weeks. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Sophie Dodd is a travel writer who has been living out of her suitcase for eight months as she travels the world writing about hotels and wine. She’s learned a thing or two about packing for long term trips along the way, and used her personal experience as well as her expertise as a travel-focused journalist to research and recommend the must-have products for longer trips. 

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