The next step in preparing for a trip is to create your packing list. Some of the items on your list depend on where you are going: If you’re going home then you don’t need to bring your own shampoo, but you’ll still want to have your own evening wear, for example. In general, you can cut down on your list when you’re going to stay with your family or in another familiar environment, as you can comfortably make use of whatever is available there. On the other hand, if you’ll be staying in a hotel, especially in a foreign environment, you’ll want to bring as broad a range of toiletries and even medications as possible, so that you don’t end up wasting part of your trip trying to find the nearest pharmacy.
In general, your packing list should be divided into the following categories:
Media – including cellphone and charger, camera and accessories, music player, and an old-fashioned notebook and writing implement. Guidebooks and print-outs from online travel guides should be on this list as well.
Toiletries – Review your daily personal hygiene regimen and make sure to list all of the relevant items, e.g., toothbrush/paste, floss, skin care, makeup, shampoo, blowdryer. If you wear contact lenses or glasses, note on your list to bring an extra pair of both. Also bring along sunscreen and sunburn remedies if you’re off to a hot climate. First aid items like anti-bacterial cream and bandaids are also important. You definitely want to have anti-bacterial wipes and/or a small container of Purell or other waterless soap, as well.
Documentation & Money – Bring a photo ID, your passport if you need one, copies of important papers, emergency phone numbers, your credit, insurance information and cash in relevant currencies.
Clothes – Check online for a weather forecast and pack accordingly. Always throw in a zip-up sweatshirt or jacket just in case!