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    Universal Packing List and International Travel Checklist

    The Only Packing Checklist You'll Ever Need

    All seasoned travelers know the importance of having a good packing checklist. For inexperienced travelers, it can be a difficult task to refrain from over-packing and if you travel frequently there's always the temptation to pack too light. To help you figure out what to pack for vacation, Auto Europe has created the ultimate guide to crafting the perfect international packing checklist - a packing list designed to be modified to suit the needs of any traveler and any trip.

    If you're looking for a resource to use on the go you're in luck: we've assembled free Travel Checklist PDFs for download: each printable packing list is designed with functionality in mind, leaving room for notes so you can add special items which may not have found their way onto our travel checklists.

    At Auto Europe we know that savvy travelers appreciate useful packing tips and that's why we've paired our comprehensive universal packing list page with free printable packing lists - useful reference material to use while you pack for vacation!

    Jump to Section: Navigating our Universal Packing List is easy and fun! Scroll through this international travel checklist from top to bottom or jump ahead to the section that's most interesting to you by selecting one of the images below.

    Bare Essentials

    These items are going to be things that you will always need to pack, regardless of your destination or the duration of your trip. Don't leave home without these items!

    Read Now  |  Download


    Additional clothing items that you may wish to include. The vast majority of these items will depend on where you are going and what you are planning to do when you get there.

    Read Now  |  Download


    Don't forget about your health and hygiene related items! Pick and choose the items which make sense for you, but our travel checklist leans toward medicine, first aid, and toiletries.

    Read Now  Download

    Recreation & Gadgets

    All of your fun gadgets that might prove useful as either recreation or as a tool during your trip. It should be obvious, but it bears repeating: Always remember the chargers.

    Read Now  Download 

    Packing List: The Bare Essentials

    These items are going to be things that you will always need to pack, regardless of your destination or the length of your travel time.

    What to Pack Why You Need It
    Comfortable Shoes Find a good and sturdy pair of walking or running shoes. This will provide adequate comfort, will hold up to use, and will be cost effective (they also pack easily).
    Comfortable Shirt Look for a good and comfortable shirt which will stand up to some use. If you are not packing more than one shirt, opt for a long sleeve shirt, as you can easily roll the sleeves up.
    Comfortable Pants Jeans may be your best bet here. They are rugged enough to stand up to issues that you may come across during your travels. The downside is they'll be slow to dry so take that into account.
    Clothing Accessories A good pair of underwear, a belt, a pair of socks, and any other small clothing items you believe you might need. The less you bring the better off you will be in terms of essentials.
    Your Phone Many phones work internationally now, or at the very least they can be activated once you are in another country. Smartphones are particularly useful due to their vast functionality (including alarm functions). Make sure you bring both a USB and a wall charger.
    Backpack A good backpack is something that cannot be overstated. Look for something that can accommodate any additional items you pick up along the way and select one which is both sturdy (made of good material) and weatherproof. You will also want to make sure that it is comfortable to wear.
    Light Jacket While a heavier jacket is not always practical, a light jacket can withstand smaller temperature fluctuations and help to alleviate stronger winds. While traveling layers are your friend.
    Wallet Always bring your wallet and identification. At least two forms of identification is ideal; a driver's license, state ID card, or University ID card are the best choices in addition to your passport.
    Passport Consider bringing an additional passport photo as well, in case you need a replacement at some point. If you have a passport card, bring that as well, though it is not useful for air travel it can serve as another form of identification and it does not take up a great deal of space.
    Credit Cards Major brands can be used everywhere; Visa Mastercard, and (usually) AMEX. Discover is a coin flip. It's wise to contact your credit card company before you depart so they don't flag your card for fraudulent charges when they see you shoe-shopping in Italy.
    Cash You should always have cash with you, regardless of where you are. It can prove to be useful whether it is the currency of the country you are in or not.
    Travel Documents Any additional travel documents you may have. Plane and train tickets, rental agreements, international driver's permit, hostel membership cards, etc.
    Map A map of the area that you are planning to travel to is always going to be a boon. Especially if it is a foreign territory. Even if you do not speak the language, a map can simply be pointed at. Consider a guidebook as well. If traveling to more than one area, it might pay to bring a map for each one.
    Prescribed Medicine If you have any medication that you need, do not forget to bring it. This is primarily in reference to medicines that are being prescribed, not to common medicines which can be bought anywhere (these are mentioned later).
    Small Notebook or Journal For recording notes, trip information, etc. Very useful for writing down information about your travels, recording the address of locales you plan to visit later, etc.
    Writing Instrument A couple of nice pens (ball point is probably best) or a pencil and sharpener. Gel pens can have problems performing in some temperatures.

    Download our Bare Essentials Printable Packing List

    The perfect on-the-go travel checklist to reference as you pack your bags. Don't leave any of the essentials behind!

    Packing Checklist: Clothing

    Additional clothing items that you may wish to include. The vast majority of these items will depend on where you are going and what you are planning to do when you get there.

    What to Pack Why You Need It
    Heavy Jacket Depending upon where you are going (and when you are going there) you may want to pack a heavier jacket that is good for both cool weather and rain. In much of Europe, for instance, there is a very real rainy season (which also happens to be quite cold).
    Scarf A good scarf can be good to act as a muffler to breathe through during cold weather and to help act as a windbreak. If you don't feel like packing one you can always buy one at your destination!
    Business Clothing Depending upon the reasons for your trip, you may want to pack one full suit and tie. The issue here is that it takes up a lot of space, so if it isn't absolutely necessary you may want to skip this. If you do decide to pack a suit be sure to bring a pair of dress shoes, dress socks and a matching belt in addition to a tie. Remember: you can dress these elements down by mixing with everyday clothes.
    Business Casual Clothing A nice button up polo-type shirt and some nice slacks will be useful for people who may be going to certain upscale areas, museums, or into some restaurants. You will want to remember to pack a belt and some matching shoes if you plan to dress business casual on your trip.
    Swimsuits If you are going to Norway this may not be required, but if you're packing for an area with sun and sand then a swimsuit is required. Go for comfort rather than style. The European (and other foreign) styles of swimsuits differ from those in the United States, so style is not going to be a huge issue. If you love to shop, consider picking up a new suit while you're abroad!
    Additional "Normal" Clothing It is a good idea to have at least three normal t-shirts or undershirts, two pairs of pants, and four sets of underwear and socks. If possible, aim for clothing which will air-cool quickly and which will dry quickly as well. Cotton will usually lose some softness when drying in the air, so opt for nylon blend fabrics if possible.
    Shoes An additional pair of flat shoes is going to be useful. This, combined with the ones you wear to the airport, should be enough. Depending upon the situation, you may want dress shoes, hiking shoes or other specialized footwear so you're well prepared for your adventures.
    Sandals A comfortable pair of sandals is especially useful for sandy areas and times when it is warm outside.
    Wide Brim Hat An excellent option for sunny locales where protecting yourself from the sunlight's damaging rays and keeping cool is a priority.
    Gloves A requirement for locales where you're expecting cold or rainy weather. Useful in a variety of situations and, best of all, they do not take up a lot of space.
    Umbrella It's better to be prepared for inclement weather and pack an umbrella than to get soaked during your trip. Try to pack an umbrella which is compact to save on space.
    Day Pack A smaller pack allows you to carry small items which you will need during the day without having to shoulder a large, heavy pack with all of your belongings.
    Washing Items Depending upon the length of your trip, a small amount of detergent and starch can be useful in case you need to wash your clothing on the go. If you'd rather not accommodate these items then buy what you need during your trip and donate what's left at a laundromat before returning home.

    Download our Clothing Printable Packing List

    A useful on-the-go travel checklist to reference as you pack your clothes. Don't forget any of these important clothing items!


    Travel Checklist: Personal

    Don't forget about your health and hygiene related items! Pick and choose the items which make sense for you, but our travel checklist leans toward medicine, first aid, and toiletries.

    What to Pack Why You Need It
    Towel A good towel or a washcloth are always handy items to have in your bag. Some cheaper hotels or hostels may not provide these - consider a backpacker's "pack towel" to save space.
    Tooth and Mouth Care Floss, a small container of mouthwash, a toothbrush and toothpaste are essentials. Toothpicks may prove to be useful as well, but these are not always necessary.
    Vitamins A good multivitamin, fish oil pills and anything else you regularly use are recommended so that you maintain your nutrition and mood while on the road. You may also want to back 5-HTP (a mood enhancer) and some melatonin, both of which can help you maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
    OTC Medicine Over the counter medicines such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. are recommended. We also suggest that you include something for nausea, for motion sickness, and for diarrhea.
    First Aid Kit A standard first aid kit is a good idea. It can be a basic kit to save on space, but include some bandages, anesthetic spray and antibiotic gel so that you're prepared in case of an injury.
    Toiletries A small bag for essentials such as a bar of soap, shampoo, nail clippers, items to shave with, etc. is recommended. Don't waste space on a variety of makeup or items which aren't totally essential. Look for a sturdy bag to hold these items and be sure to include a comb in your toiletry kit.
    Extra Glasses and/or Contacts This is a major "just-in-case" item. Include associated materials such as eyeglass cleaner and tools, a small repair kit and contact lens fluid.
    Sunglasses Even in colder climates, the glare of the sun can pose a threat if you're operating a rental car. Err on the side of caution and make sure you have protection for your eyes.
    Tissues They make travel packs of tissues for a reason - don't be stingy on space ... a pack of tissues can come in handy in a variety of situations.
    Sewing Kit Whether you're traveling in the city or the mountains, it's handy to be able to repair damage to clothing while on the road. Consider packing a few "emergency" buttons and safety pins.
    Water Bottle We recommend packing a water bottle with a filter and purification abilities.
    Universal Sink Stopper You'd be surprised how often you may need to include a sink with water while on the road - this won't take up much space but can be a really handy item to include on your packing list.
    Gender Related Hygiene Products We imagine you already know what these are.
    Cologne or Perfume Sure you don't need to include these items, but after a long day on the road it can feel great to freshen-up before dinner at a nice restaurant.
    Sunscreen Required if you're visiting a beach - recommended anywhere. Pack a small bottle in a plastic bag.
    Contraceptives Whether you're traveling by yourself or with a loved one it's always good to be prepared!
    Sleep Items Include sleep medication, an eye mask, earplugs, a travel blanket (one which doesn't require much space) and an inflatable pillow (again - a space-saving idea).
    Small Plastic Bags Sealable plastic bags (Zip-Lock or similar) are perfect. Not only can you pack some of your liquid items in these bags, but having them on hand can come in handy in a variety of situations.
    Insect Repellant Not always necessary, but you will likely find a use for it if you bring it along. The issue, of course, is that it can be difficult to get aerosol sprays onto a plane. We recommend looking for a small, liquid brand and packing it in several plastic bags.

    Download our Printable Packing List for Personal Items

    Don't forget any of the essentials! Our useful travel checklist includes all of the major personal items you'll need for your upcoming trip.


    Packing List: Recreation and Gadgets

    All of your fun gadgets that might prove useful as either recreation or as a tool during your trip. It should be obvious, but it bears repeating: Always remember the chargers.

    What to Pack Why You Need It
    GPS While a map can be useful and your phone may have a built-in GPS, renting a GPS pre-loaded with up-to-date maps in your desired destination can be a lifesaver.
    Digital Camera This is optional and the capabilities of your phone will probably dictate whether or not packing a camera is necessary. That being said stand alone cameras (especially DSLRs) will often have a much higher functionality than the cameras that phones have and can help you take memorable photos.
    Tablet A good tablet can be a great space-saver if you do a lot of reading. Pre-load it with eBooks, browse the internet or stream movies and television at the airport. Don't forget the charger!
    MP3 Player While this may be something your phone can handle, playing music can quickly drain the battery so you may want to pack a separate MP3 player. Consider a Zen media player by Creative, a Galaxy Player by Samsung or the old standard - an iPod. Fill it up with music, podcasts and audiobooks before you leave and remember the charger!
    Laptop Extremely useful no matter what sort of trip you're planning. A laptop is essential if you're going to be doing business while abroad or blogging on the road. Make sure that you pack the charger and consider investing in a larger battery pack to extend the life of each charge.
    USB Flash Drive For storage and modification of documents on the go. While saving things to the cloud can be great, we recommend keeping a USB device with copies of essential documents (passport, etc.) in a safe place in case your wallet is lost or stolen.
    A Small Lock If you are traveling with valuables a small lock to use on hotel-room lockers, luggage, etc. is a good idea.
    Multitool Things can get interesting on the road and packing a versatile multi-tool like a Leatherman is a great idea. With items which range from nail file to corkscrew to pliers you're prepared for anything with the right multitool. Just remember not to pack an item like this in your carry-on.
    Books One or two good books should last you for the duration of your trip. Essential for long plane or train rides - especially if you aren't planning to bring a tablet or eReader.
    Utensils A spork and a knife are essential, spoons are optional, normal forks are also optional. Packing light with just a few utensils can be a great way to be prepared to dine on the go in any situation and provide flexibility while traveling.
    Whistle A whistle can come in handy in emergency situations, and while it may seem unnecessary it won't take up much space and it's always better to be safe than sorry.
    Language Books Small phrase books for the area you may be traveling to are infinitely useful. This is especially true if you're touring Europe where you can cross the border and drive through several different countries in a single day.
    Lighter Always useful, a lighter doesn't take up much space. This is another "better safe than sorry" item. We recommend storing your lighter in at least one plastic bag in case it springs a leak.

    Download our Recreation & Gadgets Printable Packing List

    Fend off boredom during long flights and layovers - our travel checklist includes great ideas and will help keep you organized as you pack for vacation.


    Final Thoughts: Packing Tips and Using Our International Travel Checklist

    Contact Auto Europe for your Travel NeedsAll trips are not created equal and it's important to remember that the items you'll need to pack will depend on where you'll be traveling and how long you'll be away from home. We've designed this comprehensive international packing checklist to be the foundation for all trips, but you'll need to be mindful to only pack the items that you think will be absolutely necessary for each specific trip.

    Auto Europe strives to be your one-stop shop for planning your next trip. From free resources, to recommendations based on our experience, we've got you covered. If you are looking for inspiration we invite you to review our free online Travel Guides. Ready to go? Let us help you get a great deal on a car rental, or book you a private chauffeur or spacious van rental. Reservations can be made online in three, easy steps, or by calling us toll-free 24/7 at 1-888-223-5555.