Since I have started my travel blog I have gotten many requests from friends and followers to do a post about my packing tips: what to take, how to pack light, etc. I am super excited to finally have made a post for those who have been asking about it! Eventually I will probably upload a vlog but I will wait until I am actually traveling again so that you can see how I would do it. But for now, I hope you enjoy this first post on packing and don’t forget to subscribe for more!

First, Organize Your Trip:

Even though I have it down to a science, packing is STILL my least favorite part about a trip. That’s why I have a set list that I use every time (see below). With that being said, it does take a little extra time to decide what type of clothes to bring on a trip based on what activities you plan on doing. Ask yourself “What season is it?” What will the weather be like?” “Do I need mostly casual or business styles?” “Am I going to be outdoors/walking a lot?”, etc..I know it is stating the obvious BUT all of these questions are relevant when deciding what to take, you don’t want to get stuck somewhere with clothes that aren’t appropriate for your trip!

Then, Choose What Travel Luggage You’ll Need:

  1. Luggage Backpack/Hiking Pack; some of my favorites are:
    1. North Face Terra Series (I have this in the 45 litre, which is discontinued, but they have other sizes available) 
    2. Osprey Porter 46 (I borrowed this from a friend on my trip to Scandinavia and it was perfect for my bulky winter clothes and comfortable to carry)
  2. Rolling Luggage
  3. Duffle Bag
  4. Trash bag?–jk, guys..but really, sometimes I just want to get rid of all of my things and only have two outfits.

Follow these Packing Tips:

Pack Clothes that are Versatile and Lightweight: Versatility is so important. You want to bring clothes that you can mix/match easily and that are lightweight. Leave the obnoxious colors and patterns at home if they don’t go well with anything else you plan on taking. Lightweight clothes also tend to be more packable and fit well into a suitcase.

Wear Heaviest/Biggest Clothes on the Plane: On a second note, winter trips may involve heavier clothes whether you want to pack them or not. Wear any boots or heavy sweaters on the plane to avoid charges at the airport check-in and save space in your bags.

Less is More:if you’re second guessing it, don’t pack it. You would be surprised how many outfits you can make with the minimum amount of clothes necessary for a trip. Use accessories to help change up your outfits.

Keep Important Items with You in Personal Bag/Carry-On Luggage: This is stating the obvious but ALWAYS keep your laptop, iPad, money, prescriptions, etc. with you on the plane as precaution in case of lost or damaged luggage.

Utilize ZipLoc Bags (or any type of organizer): This is my go-to tip! I organize everything in ZipLoc bags so I can grab what I need quickly from my luggage. It is handy because you never know if security is going to randomly search your bag so it is nice to have ZipLocs  to keep your things from going everywhere and getting unorganized in the security check line. I had to get searched three times trying to get out of Madrid this last time and was so happy that I had it all organized neatly in my backpack.

Downsize Your Makeup: Instead of bringing your full bag of makeup, bring only the makeup that you will be using on your trip. If you’re like me, your bag is full of 20 shades of lipstick and different shades of powders and foundations depending on what season it is or skin tone you’re currently rocking, which are all completely unnecessary to bring with you.

Leave Hot Tools at Home: If you’re going to be backpacking and looking for more things to “throw out,” try leaving straighteners and curling irons at home. I usually opt for braids or other cute up-dos to help mix up my hairstyles and save space in my bags.

Use ALL the Spaces: If you find yourself lacking space in your luggage, try rolling up small shirts or even underwear and stuffing them in shoes or the little corners of your suitcase. This can help fit every last piece from your packing list into your suitcase.

Invest in a Micro Fiber Towel: I bought this microfiber towel from Decathlon while in Spain and it was the best investment I think I made. It rolls up really nice and tight, packs well, and dries fast. I have also used it for beach days while traveling. It is perfect for backpacking trips and barely takes up any room in your pack. I would recommend a towel like this if you plan on backpacking because many times hostels don’t have towels or they will charge a fee to rent towels. It is easier and cheaper to bring your own.

Practice Your Packing: After you have perfect your packing list, try practicing to make sure that it all fits and throw stuff out as necessary to help weed out any unneeded items.

Pack the Snacks: Of course I am not going to get through a post without mentioning food, but bring snacks with you on your travels! It will save you so much money and help you to stay in control. Take food out of containers and put into ZipLocs if possible to make it easily packable.

Be Practical: Again, stating the obvious, but avoid bringing clothes that you don’t wear or clothes that aren’t comfortable. Don’t bring that shirt you’ve kept around for 3 years just because or those shoes that are a little tight on your toes. If you have any second thoughts at all, about any item, then just leave it.

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Now that you know all of this, you are ready to pack! Below is my ultimate packing list ,as well as, a downloadable link to print this off and use it as your own check list.

My Go-To Packing List:


  • Shirts (I measure the amount to bring based on how long I will be gone, the weather, and if I will have access to laundry. I usually bring one shirt more than half of the days I will be gone (for short 7-10 day trips), for example on a 10 day trip I would bring 6 shirts {10/2=5 +1=6}
  • Pants/Shorts/Leggings Again, whatever is appropriate for your trip. For 10 day trips I take 3-4 pairs of pants
  • Pajamas
  • Sweater or Cardigan
  • Jacket/Coat
  • Underwear
  • Bras
  • Socks
  • Comfortable walking shoes I personally take low sneakers (converse, vans, etc.) or my TEVA hiking sandals
  • Nice heels, sandals or boots If you plan on going out
  • Dress, skirt, or any “nice dinner/going out” clothing
  • Swimsuit
  • Accessories: hats, scarves, jewelry, glasses, sunglasses

*My personal advice with clothes is only pack it if you know you are going to wear it. I used to be soooo bad about packing clothes for any type of scenario and it’s such a waste of time and space. This is where accessories are great because you can change a whole outfit by just mixing and matching.


  • Refillable travel size containers (for shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, face wash, laundry detergent) Buying a set of these will save you money instead of buying travel sized products all the time. You will also save lots of plastic by reusing the same containers instead of throwing them away each time you run out.
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Body Wash
  • Face Wash/Moisturizer
  • Contact solution
  • Contacts
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup  I always downsize my makeup bag before any trip and leave any lipsticks or eye-shadows that I won’t use.
  • Tampons, Pads, etc.
  • Straightener/Curling Iron
  • Q Tips
  • Floss
  • Brush/Comb
  • Sunscreen
  • Laundry Detergent Only if you’ll have access to laundry/ will need to wash your items


  • Prescription Medicines
  • Vitamins
  • Supplements
  • Bandages
  • Hand Sanitizer


  • Phone
  • Laptop/Tablet
  • Chargers
  • Headphones
  • Adapter
  • Battery Pack
  • Camera
  • Travel Apps (Hostelworld, Google Maps, Translator, Airbnb, Airline Apps, etc.)
  • Podcasts, Music, or TED Talks


  • Book
  • Journal
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Water Bottle
  • Chapstick
  • Passport/IDs
  • Money
  • Credit Cards/Debit Cards
  • Insurance Information
  • Guide
  • Transportation Information
  • Reservation + Accommodation Information

Life on Molly-Packing List  <–Downloadable Link

Not sure yet about solo travel? Check out my experiences and what I have learned from life abroad to help inspire you to take that leap of faith to get out and explore the world.

If you have any questions or packing tips of your own, feel free to comment them below! Don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Life on Molly! If you missed it, be sure to check out my Solo Travel Hacks & Tips blog to help you out on your next adventure.

Cover photo by Pete Rojwongsuriya




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