Packing for a trip can be an absolute nightmare… it took one person we know an entire month to pack her apartment to leave for a year long trip. That said, don’t wait until the last minute to pack for your trip… you’ll either end up forgetting something or taking things that you really don’t need. There are a thousand different packing lists out there, each one claiming to be the best… we don’t have a packing list here per se, but we do have some packing tips…

They say a good idea is to pack your bag and then take half of it out… that can be really hard to do… especially if you are a girl. So try to limit yourself to what you really need… cause remember chances are you’re the one that will have to be hauling it all around… do you really want to have to lug it up a narrow staircase in Amsterdam or drag it around on a train with you? Make sure you know what the weather is gonna be like and you can prevent yourself from taking gear you won’t use and remember you can always layer…

A great place to start is with the Universal Packing List. We used this when we went to Europe in 2002 and it was really helpful. There are tons of packing lists out there, but you’ll want to customize each one to your own needs. For example, if you’re not taking a backpack, you probably don’t need a wire cage for it… get the idea?

As for what we recommend to take along… well, first, you may laugh, but we suggest taking along a pair of shower shoes. They have to be anything more than a pair of thongs you don’t mind getting wet. Hostel bathrooms can be nasty and the last thing you want to do is catch some funky foot fungus. It’s also a great idea to take along a few extra passport photos. You’ll need them for visa applications and travel passes. They are always going to be more expensive if you need them at the last minute– that’s just the way it seems to be. Plus, its not like extra photos take up that much room!

We highly recommend you take along an extra lock. Security is a big issue for travelers and even if you have a lockable backpack, you’ll want a lock for hostel lockers. Here’s a tip– we prefer combo locks to key locks because then you don’t have to carry your key on you. Plus, if you lose your keys at least you can still get to your stuff.

What else should you take you ask? Consider the fact that you will be travelling into a world of people who have pretty much the same day to day needs you do and thus will have many of the “supplies” you need. If there are a few brands you just can’t live without, then bring extra along – otherwise you can get what you need on the road and save room in your backpack for now.

There’s no way we can tell you every thing that you’ll need to pack because every trip is different, but there are some basic essentials you must take and are on every packing list.

· Travel Documents
· Passport
· Travelers Cheques
· Credit/ATM card
· Medicare Card or Travel Insurance 
· Address book
· Copies of Prescriptions
· Emergency phone numbers
· Drivers License
· Discount Cards
· Pillow case
· Camera
· Money belt
· Sunglasses
· Phone card