One-Bag Travel: Packing List

In sharing why we Travel With Just a Carry-on each, I also shared that traveling so light seemed utterly impossible. Because I like being prepared for anything and everything. An organizer and champion list maker, I’d jot down everything imaginable, and drag it along. Only to realize that we never even used most of it! 

Yet I find a complete packing list can make the challenges and benefits of one-bag travel work better. It helps ensure we don’t forget things, but also keeps us from over-packing. Which, by the way, experts feel is the number one travel mistake!




Includes clothes worn upon departure. Pack only what you need and wash things as you go. So don’t forget laundry supplies!

2-4 bottomsPants, shorts, or skirts; in neutral colors
4-6 topsIn colors that make a capsule wardrobe
1 jacket or cardiganFor dressy occasions + 1 neck tie or 1-2 scarves
1 coat or jacket + travel umbrella ?
1 pashmina or shawlDoubles as lightweight throw or swimsuit cover
1 swimsuitOr thermal underwear (depending on season)
2 pair shoesChoose shoes that double as slippers
3 pair socks1 to wear, 1 to wash, 1 clean + 1 pr. pantyhose
3 pair underwear1 to wear, 1 to wash, 1 clean + bras and slip
1-2 sets pajamasOr use sweatsuits or swimsuit coverups
1 beltUse as emergency tourniquet or suitcase handle
Hat, gloves, scarfFor wind, rain, sun, cold, heat
2 bandanasUse as scarf, headband, hair tie, wash cloth, etc.
2 hankiesUse as washcloth or emergency sanitary pad


Bar Laundry soap or soap nutsNo liquids to spill or get through customs
Sink stopperUniversal, fits any sink
Laundry bagFor keeping dirty clothes separate
Travel clothesline Buy one here or make your own
No clothespins needed!


Smartphone Use for: GPS, weather app, light, compass, mirror, calculator, notepad, agenda, alarm
Door lockA travel door lock, for hotels, on trains, etc.
WhistleFor calling taxis, self-defense, or emergencies
Luggage locksUse in luggage compartments, on public transport, etc.
Caribiner clipsUses: clip things to bags, keep bags together, carrying things
Sewing kit Thread braid, buttons, needles/threader
Eyeglass kitScrewdriver (max. allowed 7 inches)
Shoe lacesUses: ties, carry cords, make-shift suitcase handle
Tool kit Safety pins, rubber bands, twist ties, binder clips, cord/twine
(Uses: zipper pulls, fasteners, bookmarks, tying pant legs closed)


ID documentsPassports, visas, IDs, driving license + security carrying pouch
Travel documentsTickets, reservations, vaccinations
Office documentsTablet or laptop + charger/adapter + E-books
Misc. documentsPlus an SD card or computer key with extra copies


Soap + shampooBoth in bars (no liquids)
Deodorant Stick or chrystal (no liquids)
Toothbrush + powderNo liquids
Dental floss + needleUse for: thread, shoe laces, clothesline
Hand/face cream + lip balmFor dry skin on airplane
Comb/brush + mirrorMirror = emergency reflector
Nail clipper + file + razorExtra uses: thread snipper, sweater shaver
1 towelPeshtemals: compact, lightweight, but huge!
Bandanas (from clothing)Uses: wash cloth, shower cap, hair towel
Hair dryerTravel-size, dual voltage


DaypackSmall & flat for easy packing
Travel pillowInflatible
Travel blanketLightweight viscose
BandanaUses: sleep mask, seat cover, window shade
Sleep mask + ear budsOr use bandana as a sleep mask
Reading materialSmall, lightweight
Mini playing cards Less than 1 x 2.5 inches (2.5 x 6.35 cm)


Prescription medsPlus their prescriptions + medical documents
Over-counter medsHeadache, fever, intestinal/tummy, nausea, etc.
1st aid suppliesBandaids, Antiseptic wipes, Tweezers, Tissues
BandanaUse as: bandage, ice pack, tourniquet, face mask
Woman’s sanitary suppliesEnough for trip; buy more later
3rd world sanitationSee suggestions from


Pack or buy foods for on-board that keep well, don’t crumble, and boost energy! (TSA currently allows foods on board; any liquids must follow their 3-1-1 rule.)

From homeGranola or candy bars
Buy at airport Cheese, bagels, fruit, sandwiches
Empty water bottleYou can fill it after airport checkpoints
Bandana (from clothing)Use as napkin or placemat

This list may seem unnecessarily long, But trust me, it all fits into one small carry-on bag. And it makes sure that we always travel well-prepared for emergencies, and have everything we need!!

And now, I wish you a Buon Viaggio!

Travel light. Overpacking is the #1 travel mistake.

Clothing by StockSnapHat | Jeans outfit by Ylanite | Bandanas by Sofìa Salom CC-BY-2.0 | Drink mage PublicDomainPictures | Others ©SignoraSheila.

11 thoughts on “One-Bag Travel: Packing List

    1. Thanks, Nancy! This list, most of which I learned from, has helped me so much! And I count a pashmina as one of my three must-have travel aids, along with a peshtemal towel, and a bandana or two! They are all so versatile!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Incredibly helpful, ridiculously easy when it’s broken down like this. I’ve traveled with children who choose options, which always adds to luggage. I love this simplicity! Thanks, my friend.


    1. Thank you, Dayle. This list has proven a life-saver for us more than once! I guess it’s a carry-over from my old Girl Scout days, lol! Hope it helps you as well!


    1. Great! But it’s also useful for non overseas travel. I generally store a lot of the little items in our suitcases so they’re also ready! Hope it helps you Lynn!


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