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The Ultimate Guide to Packing for Travel

The Ultimate Guide to Packing

Travelling all begins with the packing. Some people pride themselves on their ability to pack efficiently, pack light and pack perfectly every time. But the rest of us aren’t skilled packers and find the whole exercise discouraging or even stressful.

The burden of packing usually comes down to the size of the trip. Overseas travel requires so much more planning, especially when the destination is somewhere new or unique. It can be difficult to know what you’ll need or what to expect.

What you have to do to organise for a trip differs depending on the destination and time of year, but there are a number of steps that you could apply to every travel experience.


Before Your Travel



Step one is to ensure that your travel documents are in order – your passport is valid for at least six months and that you have the right travel Visa for your destination and stopover countries, as well as travel insurance and flights. If you are planning to drive overseas you may need an international drivers license. And it’s good practice to keep three copies of all your important documents – the originals in your hand luggage, a photocopy in your suitcase and an electronic copy in your email.


It wasn’t so long ago that travellers cheques were the norm, but nowadays as much as we rely on electronic transactions for our everyday purchases, it’s about credit cards and travel cards when we’re away. Plastic has made things so much more convenient and safe. Of course, you will need some cash so allow enough time for your bank to organise the appropriate foreign currency. And regardless of where you are travelling it’s best to keep your money on your person so use a money belt or bum bag to be safe.

Mobile Phone

In an age where we’re all addicted to our smartphones you’ll want to keep in contact with the most important people in your life, so make sure you get your mobile set up properly before you leave. International data roaming can cost a bomb, so switching that to Off in Settings will avoid any nasty surprises on your next phone bill. Without data roaming you can rely on free wireless hotspots, such as in the hotel lobby, airports and rest spots. Let your phone carrier know you’re travelling and switch your calls to international roaming.

Checklist 1 – Before You Travel

  • Organise your travel documents
  • Passport – make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months
  • Visas – research your destination and make sure to organise your Visa. Don’t forget stopover countries / destinations
  • Travel insurance including insurer details, 24 hour emergency contact telephone number and policy number
  • Flight tickets, e-ticket – print them in the hotel business centre
  • Photocopies of important documents. Keep them separately – one in your luggage, one at home and send yourself a copy to your email
  • Seniors card for travel discounts
  • International driving license if you plan to hire a car
  • Take our money in foreign currency or research if you can withdraw money with your cards
  • Travellers’ cheques – keep a note of the serial numbers of your traveller’s cheques
  • Money belt or pouch
  • Mobile phone – check you have international roaming access

Hand Luggage & Carry-On


Flying (especially long haul flights) can take their toll on the mind and body. Packing all the things you need for a comfortable flight in your carry-on will ensure you arrive at your destination feeling refreshed.


Thank goodness for airport newsagencies to pick up books and mags on the way through to the boarding gate. Entertainment is so often the last thing we think of, but games, music and reading material really helps the time go by. Carry-on a tablet, iPod or Kindle device loaded up with good distractions.

Personal Care

Packing a personal care kit in your carry-on that contains tissues, band-aids, paracetamol, ibuprofen, antihistimines, anti-nausea and travel sickness tablets, as well as your regular prescription is a must. Earplugs, an eye mask and noise cancelling headphones can also be a lifesaver during the flight.

However also think about the things you might need if your luggage got lost for a day, such as personal toiletries, a spare change of clothes and chargers for all your electronics.

Carry-On Restrictions

Restrictions apply to what passengers can and cannot carry-on. Don’t let the baggage scanners find a thing to confiscate. Check out our guide to carry-on.

Checklist 2 – Hand Luggage or Carry-On

  • Travel sickness tablets
  • Personal prescriptions & over the counter medicines
  • Lip balm – air gets dry in an airplane
  • Sunglasses
  • Prescription glasses or contact lenses & solution
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Mobile phone
  • Laptop or tablet loaded up with entertainment, such as music, games and movies
  • Books, magazines or a kindle
  • IPod or MP3 player
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Travel pillow
  • Change of clothes
  • Food, snacks & gum
  • Empty water bottle to fill post-security
  • Valuables, such as jewellery
  • House keys
  • Chargers for all your electronics – laptop, tablet, mobile phone, camera, iPod or MP3 player



What you pack in your luggage entirely depends on your travel destination. Check the weather forecast and pack appropriately, but as many of us have learnt the hard way, also be prepared for unseasonal weather. This applies to toiletries, clothes and shoes, and accessory items.

Toiletries Bag

Pop all the essentials in your toiletries bag based on what you use everyday at home. These things include skin care, deodorant, shaving foam, razors and your dental care. But also remember packing the incidentals such as sunscreen and inspect repellent.

Check list 3 – Toiletries & Health Care

  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Nail file & clippers
  • Sunscreen
  • Band-Aids
  • Deodorant
  • Shaving supplies
  • Makeup & makeup remover
  • Brush or comb
  • Feminine-hygiene products
  • Pain relievers
  • Birth control
  • Small mirror


Think easy wearing clothes that don’t need ironing, frequent washing and dry or dry-clean fast. It’s all about packing light fabrics that can be tossed around in a suitcase and still thrown on. And a separate compartment or satchel for underwear is a must. Pack all the clothes you think you’ll need day to day with a fresh set of underwear for everyday, but clothing you can wear again and again.

Check list 4 – Clothing

  • Waterproof & windproof jacket
  • Jumper
  • Hat or cap
  • Jeans or trousers
  • Shorts or skirts
  • T-shirts, shirts or blouses
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Tie
  • Belt
  • Pyjamas
  • Walking shoes
  • Sandals and thongs
  • Scarf – this can double as your cover-up, beach towel, pillow, pillowcase, sarong or throw
  • For winter holidays: thermal underwear, beanie and gloves

Useful Miscellaneous Items

Have you ever travelled with someone who seems to think of everything? It’s like they have the foresight to look into the future and know they’ll need some random thing that makes all the difference. Well here’s a list of other useful miscellaneous items you could throw into your luggage for those just in case moments.

Checklist 5 – Useful Miscellaneous Items

  • Small backpack
  • Umbrella
  • Tissues
  • Plastic Bag – you can use it as a laundry bag, wet clothes bag, muddy shoe bag, beach bag, shopping bag, snack bag or trash bag
  • Local language phrase book or app
  • Paper and notepad
  • Journal or diary
  • Torch or flashlight
  • Electrical adapter
  • Business cards
  • Wristwatch
  • Spare memory cards for camera
  • Small sewing kit & safety pins

Preparing for a holiday is fun and packing can be too with a little bit of planning. Next time you travel create a list and get started early. Often it’s the last minute rush that’s the killer.


Park, Stay & Go at Holiday Inn Melbourne AirportPark, Stay & Go

We all know that being rushed is when things are most likely to go wrong. Take your time with Park Stay & Go package at Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport.

With up to 7 days onsite parking included with your overnight hotel accommodation, it’s the most relaxed way to start a holiday.

Drive to Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport the night before your flight, have a relaxing dinner and a good night sleep. You’ll wake feeling refreshed and ready for our airport transfer.


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For more information email us or call 138 388.

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