Whether planning a solo trip or an adventure with a group of friends, packing is arguably the most stressful part of the experience.
Naturally, you want to ensure you’re well prepared. But this often leads to overpacking, a burden for your shoulders and often your wallet! Fortunately, with some upfront planning, you can be ready for any adventure, even without dragging a clunky bag around.
Packing for a 2-week trip requires a bit more planning than just a quick getaway. I’ll be diving into the essentials to pack for longer trips below. Not only will you save money by keeping baggage costs down, but you’ll also avoid spending precious cash picking up crucial items you forgot at home!
But before you can start packing, it’s essential you have the right bag... See it as the foundation that you’ll be building on.
Pilot’s team has compiled a list of our top 5 fave luggage options. Now, without further ado, let’s get into the top items I pack for a 2-week trip.
9 Things You Shouldn't Forget at Home
9. A Capsule Wardrobe
Clothing is an obvious packing list essential, of course. But the trick herein lies in only packing for a week instead of the entire 2 weeks and doing laundry once during your trip.
Opting for a capsule wardrobe consisting of several ultra-combinable pieces lightens your load. If you’re good enough at this, you could even get away with only packing a carry-on.
When picking out garments, think about the activities you want to do, but also research the local vibes. For example, think very laid-back if you’re heading to places like Amsterdam or Berlin. Not a cocktail dress and heels, which might be entirely out of place. In contrast, if you’re heading to Carnival or Vegas, you might want to pack exactly these for nights out.
Regardless, my top tip for keeping your clothes organized is to use packing cubes. Doing so really helps me save space, making me feel more in control. I can also easily keep my dirty and clean clothes separate.
But, if you’re really short on space, I’ve found the easiest way to pack is using a vacuum packing machine to compress and squeeze in as many clothes as possible.
I won’t go into creating a specific clothing packing list, as each destination and person’s style is unique. However, if you’re looking to invest in some travel gear, check out our Anatomie and Toads & Co reviews for inspiration!
Image Courtesy of 21OAK
A Person Vacuum Sealing Their Clothes
8. Solid Walking Shoes
Proper walking shoes deserve a section of their own. Far too many times during my travels, I sacrificed comfort for looking good. Honestly, it’s never worth it. Bad shoes will ruin any trip—whether it’s a weekend or 2-week trip. Invest in comfy sneakers, pumps, or walking shoes, and it will pay off. Check out our review of Allbirds for some shoe-tastic inspiration.
That said, never go on any trip, and especially a longer trip, without having properly worn your shoes first! If they hurt you, you’ll have to waste precious time and money finding new ones, which may also be uncomfortable.
For longer trips where I know I’ll be doing a lot of walking, I usually pack two pairs of proper walking shoes to alternate them. I find this leaves my feet feeling less tired and reduces the chance of any injuries or blisters.
Image Courtesy of Allbirds
Allbirds Wool Running shoes
7. Essential Medicines
Even though you can generally always buy medicine wherever you go, I never ever dare to travel without keeping a few essentials on me. Think painkillers and stomach medicine, at the very least. I also keep a few bandaids, anti-nausea pills, antiseptic ointments, and basic medical supplies.
You could buy an emergency kit, so you have all your bases covered, but I always add the medicines I know work well for me. If you take any prescription medication, this is the number one thing to pack.
I recommend even packing a backup prescription, just in case. Plus, copies of the medication in case it’s not over-the-counter medicine or heavily regulated where you’re going. Believe it or not, some prescriptions are illegal, so double-check the local laws at your destination.
Image Courtesy of Ace
First Aid Essentials Kit
6. A Well-Stocked Toiletry Bag
I always carry mini versions of everything I need to lighten the load. It’s also worth investing in a travel set for this. Ideally, the kind that you can refill. Mini versions can be pricey, and your tried-and-true favorites may not be available in minis, either.
However, depending on the destination, I sometimes just buy the toiletries I need once I arrive. So I’ll pack mini versions of my skincare products but buy more general things like shower gel and shampoo at my destination.
But where to put it all? In my opinion, the most essential thing to have is a decent toiletry bag with a hook. Having a bag with a hook is especially important if you stay in hostels like I often do.
There are few things worse than having to use a shared bathroom. One with nowhere to put your items or not-so-clean places to do so. But in my experience, there’s almost always some kind of hook you can hang your bag on.
Image Courtesy of MULISOFT Store On Amazon
Toiletry Bag by MULISOFT
5. Microfiber Travel Towels & Face Cloths
If you’re only staying in hotels, you may be able to get away with skipping this step. But otherwise, microfiber travel towels are a must! There are few things more annoying than having to pack up, and your towel is still wet.
A quick-drying microfiber towel will prevent this from happening. For longer trips, I always pack at least two. Plus, some facecloths are really good at clearing away makeup.
Image Courtesy of Travel Fashion Girl
Travel Towels For Light Packing
4. A Backup Bank Card (Or Two)
This tip is dependent on where you’re traveling to, but let’s say you’re traveling to a few countries in Europe. In that case, know that your credit card may not be accepted everywhere. For example, you can’t pay with a credit card in most grocery stores in The Netherlands.
You can always first take out cash, of course. But ATMs aren’t always ubiquitous, and you might lose your card, so always have a backup if you pack an extra card. It’s always good to have a spare handy in case you get robbed or lose it.
But remember to keep one on you and another in a safe place. Otherwise, you may lose both at the same time! And we know how long banks can take to replace it, especially if you’re overseas.
Image Courtesy of Jcomp On Freepik
Credit cards stacked together neatly
3. Travel Tech & Gadgets
It has happened far too often that I arrive at my destination in a new country with an empty cellphone battery only to realize I need an adapter. Instead, come prepared.
Invest in a solid universal adapter and handle this worry for good. I also always travel with my powerbank. A portable source of power comes in handy after a long day of traveling and using your phone. Don’t get lost without your phone’s maps!
If you’re only going away for 2 weeks, think about the things you need daily. For example, in the past, I kept packing my iPad to finally admit that I almost never use it on a trip. Packing unnecessary items like this only slows you down.
However, if you’re someone that loves reading or watching your favorite shows on the go, then packing your iPad and even an e-reader is absolutely worth the little bit of extra weight. Oh, and don’t forget the charging cables!
Image Courtesy of Anker
Anker PowerCore Slim 10.000, extreme dunne power bank
2. A Portable Door Lock
If you’re traveling and you aren’t staying in a dorm room, I recommend investing in a portable door lock. It’s a tiny little thing that can give you a little bit of extra comfort at night.
Image Courtesy of The Washington Post
Portable Door Lock Inserted Into The Door Strike
1. A Smaller Day Bag
Packing a more petite and lightweight day bag is an absolute must when you’re traveling for longer. With a smaller bag, you can leave your big bag at your accommodation when you head out for a day trip, and in it, you can just pack what you need for the day.
You could even safely store your essentials and valuables when leaving your bigger bag at a storage facility at a train station. Having just such an alternative bag can also help you be more flexible in other ways.
For example, you can use it as a carry-on bag for gifts you bring back. Or for carrying dirty washing to the local laundry.
Image Courtesy of The New York Times
Woman Wearing A Black-Colored Day Bag
You're Ready To Pack Your Bags!
For longer trips away, you really want to pack efficiently. So be sure to also check out our comprehensive post on the 45 essential things to pack. However, if you’re still worried you might forget something, use a packing app to ensure you’re prepared for anything.
As to planning, here’s our number one travel companion: Pilot!