A Man’s Travel Packing Checklist

Travel packing checklist top priority: a hip flask

I may not look like it, but I’m actually someone who likes to keep things in order. As if being drunk, I could no longer recall the particular instance which drove me to start a travel packing checklist but it’s pretty darn obvious that it was to avoid forgetting something moving forward, especially in times when there are only a few more hours left before departure and my shit’s not yet together. Mind you, it has never failed me ever since.

I tend to prepare for a trip at least a week away but sometimes life just gets in the way (admit it, it does) that before I even know it, it’s already the day before the trip. In worst scenarios, I would even find myself social drinking until past midnight even with the call time being very early in the morning. Sleep is for the weak and come to papa, Google Keep!

Travel packing checklist

The items on the travel packing checklist snapshot are self-explanatory but I’ll still go ahead and provide insights (and visuals, as usuals) before you start ticking. Some items not on the list will also be discussed. They are those which are always in my go-to backpack (even when just at home) that’s why they’ve been excluded.

Braggart, I am not, but I’m usually the one who gets told off for having the least things so here goes nothing~!


I only bring hard copies of government-issued documents (e.g. Australia visa) as well as those which are usually acknowledged in the form of physical copies (e.g. employment ID, vaccination certificate). Such documents also have soft copies in my phone together with the rest of the documents which may come in handy during the trip. On top of that, I upload them somewhere secure on the Internet as backup in case I lose my phone along the way. #tanga That includes photos of my passports’ pages. Smart? You better be.

Familiarizing the essential details is another thing, in case events turn out very unfortunate because Count Olaf is around. And what should come with documents? A pen, brotha. A pen.

Travel packing checklist: documents

  • Passports

    In the plural form because the immigration officers I’ll be facing might be having a bad day and want to question my integrity (big word) see my travel history. Bringing the old one is crucial if it still holds valid visas or your current passport is still unstamped.

  • Moolah

    Bringing US dollars is the rule of thumb for innernational trips because they’re accepted for exchange everywhere. I have a handful of friends who are very conscious about exchange rates but I’m way past that that if I’m able to get local banknotes ahead I no longer bother bringing USD’s. In any case, always have actual money ready and scatter some in your hand/carry-on luggage.

    As an extension, I always activate plastics for use overseas. Instead of going through the trouble of finding a good exchange rate, I can simply withdraw from the first ATM that presents itself. Using cards abroad is a double-edged sword; you can lose them but they can also save you from a predicament—or let you buy something that you really want but didn’t account for in your budget.

  • Return flight

    Something that immigration officers might ask for especially when you’re only going for tourism.

  • Accommodation

    Another thing that immigration officers might ask for. Some countries also require non-locals and non-residents to fill up an arrival card so you should keep the details handy. Pen, take it away!

  • Travel tax

    Only in the Philippines!? Not really. Exit tax is also to be fulfilled in other countries. In some cases only cash is accepted (e.g. crossing a border by land) and that is why your pocket should always have some money in it.


I’ve excluded the camera from the list because as of this writing I’ve never had a DSLR or MILC and a cellphone, as indispensable as it is, already counts as one (only used a G4 in Korea and Greece).

Travel packing checklist: electronics

  • Weighing scale

    Keeps my weight luggage in check. Let’s cut the crap. Even if you’re only on hand luggage, you know yourself that most of the time they exceed the allowable weight. Many airlines are lenient as long as they’re not bulky, but if you get caught, at least you know it’s your fault. There are also times that at the end of the trip you have more luggage because you’re a sick shopaholic you went shopping so having a scale will easily enlighten you how much baggage allowance you need to purchase.

  • Earphones

    Putting them on informs the nuisance beside me that I don’t wanna hear his/her crap (and vice versa) I may not be in the mood for any conversation. (Because we live in a biased world, it’s another story if he/she is pleasant to our eyes.) Preferably, its output should be loud enough to drown out any noise. You can listen to music during long journeys and watch videos/movies you can no longer delay watching. Eavesdropping is also made easy. Win-win, bruh.

  • Data cables

    If I’m carrying devices with different receptacles, I have at least one connector (cable) for each. I also make sure that they’re capable of data transfer when connected to a computer as some are only good for charging. That goes without saying that extra space in my phone (or any other storage device I’m bringing) is allocated.

  • Chargers

    In my case it’s usually two but if you’re a gadget whore, you might consider bringing more. A charger that can charge multiple devices at the same time is also nifty, but the problem with it is if it gets busted, you’re also done for. In relation to the previous item, ideally cables >= chargers so you can use the latter simultaneously.

  • Power bank

    In an age where gadgets are taking over human lives, don’t be a burden to others by bringing your own damn power bank. #galit Seriously. Gadgets are suckers for batteries and smartphones are here for a purpose. Don’t let them die on you while you’re away from a socket. Some airports check the capacity but so far I’ve never been reprimanded with my 20,000 mAh juice.

  • Adapter

    If you’re destination has a different pie hole socket, suck it and bring an adapter. It can work in conjunction with the next item.

  • Octopus plug

    Saves me from the frustrating situation of being unable to charge any of my devices because all the available sockets are currently being penetrated by others. Concurrent charging is also made possible. And let us not forget that sharing is caring. ♥

  • Tripod

    Something that I should’ve thought of acquiring when I started #foreveralone-ing. It’s only a lightweight one which also converts into a monopod. First used one in Monteverde and traveling solo has never been the same. With it, experiencing New York and Canada didn’t feel like I was on my own.

    Every photo here is indebted to it.


Sneakers aren’t on the list since they’re staple (I sometimes even bring two pairs because why nut?) and in my case only unnecessary when going to the beach.

Travel packing checklist: clothes

  • Jacket/sarong

    No matter how hot the destination is, there might be air-conditioning that’s worse than any winter during the journey so I always have something to keep me warm because rubbing my hands can only do so much. It could also get very cold at night. But if you have someone to hug, eh di wow.

  • Slippers

    Staple for the beach but still present otherwise. My smelly feet always deserve some air at the end of a long and whining day.

  • Towel

    Some accommodations provide towels but I always bring one anyway. A quick-dry one as it—wait for it—quickly dries and doesn’t take up space.

  • Swim/gym shorts

    (1) Because there might be a body of water or swimming pool that wants to be disturbed and (2) because there might be a gym or a badminton/tennis court and I only need to rent an equipment and find a playmate.

Daily clothing has also been taken off the list since it depends on the duration of the trip. But as an example, for a week-long trip, I would have the following:

  • 7 shirts (at least one has to be collared because, you know, there might be a party down the road)
  • 2 pairs of pants and shorts / a pair of pants and 3 pairs of shorts
  • 7 pieces of underwear (I’ll leave it to one’s imagination what I wear, if any)
  • 3 handkerchiefs
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • Sleeping clothes OOTDN


Travel packing checklist: toiletries

  • Nail cutter

    Because among the most annoying things are parts of a nail that need to be ripped off cut.

  • Razor

    Because a little stubble may be fine but clean-shaven is still my way.

  • (Wet) Tissues

    Because the call of nature may be predictable after every meal (cron job) for someone who has high metabolism, but still you can never really can never can tell ever. If they’re wet then they also function as instant hand-washers.

  • Wax

    Because it can make my dry and wavy hair look like that of a human’s.

  • Moisturizer

    Because it conceals the dryness of my face. (Should a concealer be a better option, I wonder?)

  • Perfume

    Because I’ve never met someone who has a fetish for stinky people.

  • Toothbrush/paste

    Because our teeth are windows to our soul (move over, eyes). When with close friends I no longer bring toothpaste though. Sharing is caring, remember? #user

  • Deodorant

    Because I’ve never met someone who has a fetish for smelly armpits.

  • Shower gel

    Because using perfume and deodorant will never be an alternative to bathing. I use the type that can be used for both body and hair.

  • Cotton buds

    Because I need to keep ’em clean in order to eavesdrop by the aid of the aforementioned earphones.


Travel packing checklist: beach-related

  • Goggles/snorkeling mask

    A snorkeling mask only if there’s a chance of an underwater scenery. If chance becomes certainty then flippers can come along.

  • Plastic bag

    Container for wet, salty, and sandy clothes, if there are still any, at the end of the trip.

  • Sunblock

    I’m not among those who run like Naruto under the sun and I don’t get inside a rash guard either. However, I still apply sunblock, not to avoid getting tan (not “dark”, para sosyal) but to avoid the stinging sensation when all the wetting’s been done. (Lakas maka-jueteng.)

  • Vials, adhesive (not pictured)

    I collect sand, that’s why. Next question.

  • Speakers

    Wireless and waterproof at that. Other than the beach, I also bring them to similar outings where the probability of having socials is high. (Social as usual~)

  • Waterproof camera (when I have one)


Travel packing checklist: others

  • Umbrella

    No matter how sunny the forecast is, I always bring what Rihanna used to sing. Time should never be wasted just waiting for some rain to pass.

  • Eco bag

    A normal-sized and sturdy eco bag is a quick trick for additional handheld luggage since it may not look jam-packed. It’s also where I put my laptop (if I’m bringing one, obviously) when I need easy access to it and because they always need to be scanned separately in X-ray machines.

  • Extra bag(s)

    Which one(s) to bring is dependent on the itinerary.

    • A day-to-day bag (which could also be just my backpack) containing the power bank, some money, umbrella, charger, pen, and tripod. It would also contain my passports if I’m still on the road.
    • A dry bag for the beach or when there’s a body of water that needs to be crossed. You never know if there’s gonna be a Titanic moment. The valuables inside it, alongside a floating piece of debris which we all know was not enough to save Jack, could save you.
    • A foldaway holdall if I anticipate that I’ll have additional luggage at the end of it all.
  • Alcohol

    For sanitizing purposes and not just for when someone bleeds. (“Blood must have blood!” —The 100’s Grounders)

  • White Flower

    For oldies headaches and other aches with the exception of heartaches (there’s booze for that).

  • Padlock

    Most accommodations provide lockers but they require you to bring your own padlock. A combination lock is a better option because otherwise you’re screwed if you lose the key. I also use it to secure my bag while in transit.

  • Pamaypay

    Tagalog term for a handheld fan. The circular (and manual) one which can be twirled into a smaller circle. This is because when things get hot I exude a lot of sweat. #asset

In terms of medicines, I carry paracetamol, mefenamic acid, and loperamide and they’re always in my go-to bag as well. Most of the time I go for a backpack because I can easily shove in its side pockets a bottle of water and things—slippers and tripod being among them—that would no longer fit with the rest of the items in the main compartment. A jacket can be effortlessly “hooked” to it for quick access too.

Electronics packed

Toiletries packed

Beach-related packed

Others packed


Of course, at the end of the day, to each his own. For instance, if I were a girl, I would probably have at least two different containers—a shampoo and a conditioner—for my hair, another two for my face, and at least three more for my bodeh. This travel packing checklist is nothing more than by that of a guy who avoids checked baggage as much as possible to save some bucks and has no plans of washing clothes (as nasty as that sounds) throughout the trip.

Sometimes I also go for a holdall (different from the one under the Others checklist) but if it’s winter we’re talking about then it’s a completely different story; the list expands on the layers of clothes alone so my luggage also expands into a suitcase (my first winter experience, being only a few days, disagrees though).

Luggage choices

I consider myself a light packer, but it’s without doubt that there are dozens of people out there who pack even lighter than I do. And oh, as for the hip flask? I never bring it to any flight where I only have carry-ons. For being metal, it might get confiscated at some airport. No way, José.


View posts by Nelson
An outdated software engineer with the attention span of a fruit fly. Follow me on Instagram if you can!


  1. long haul flights can torment ur neck a lot, i wonder if u ever felt the need to include in your travel list a neck pillow? (inflatable one so that it wont take up much space). but then, utilizing available resources (e.g. a pretty seatmate’s shoulder) can work well too, i guess????

    1. I don’t really have trouble sleeping in long-haul flights (even when the airline doesn’t serve alcohol!) so I actually still don’t find the need for such a pillow. But when it comes down to it, I’ll definitely opt for an inflatable one for the same reason you mentioned.

      As for utilizing your pretty seatmate’s shoulder as an alternative, one can only hope to pass her standards so as not to be tagged as a pervert. XD

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