The ultimate travel packing list — Healing Journey Retreats (2024)

Interestingly, longer trips don't necessarily equate to more luggage, as you’ll do more laundry. Conversely, weekend getaways for special occasions tend to require multiple outfit changes per day. The last factor for packing also depends on what the destination is — be it a 5-star all-inclusive resort, a hotel, a hostel, or an Airbnb for a weekend vs. 3 months — for example, do they have a hairdryer, and Tupperware?

Each journey invariably includes two itineraries. On the physical journey, we explore places of extraordinary beauty and different cultures. And the inner journey navigates through inquisitive reflections and diverse emotions.

On the physical journey, a sense of humour, flexibility, and a well-packed bag are essential. Comfort on the physical front facilitates a smoother navigation of our internal processes.

Here's my go-to travel packing list, honed over five years of solo travelling. Since I’m always trying to escape Canadian winters, I’ve tailored it to tropical climates and shared it with my participants for the upcoming Tulum Mexico retreat (which departs in 3 weeks)!

🪪 Start with

  • Passport (check the expiry date!) and/or driver’s license

  • Phone

  • Cash (in local currency; despite technology, it’s always a good thing to have some cash on hand, and the at-home exchange rates will almost always be better than at the destination so try to get cash before departure)

  • Bank cards (debit, credit; I highly recommend Wise for travels as it gives the best exchange rates and lowest fees)

  • Wallet for cash (with compartment for coins)

  • Photocopies of passport’s face page and driver’s license (both sides)

  • 2 passport photos (this helps a lot in case you lose your passport)

  • Travel insurance’s wallet card printout

  • Water bottle (I prefer the thermos kind that keeps the water cold/hot for hours)


  • e-SIM card (like AirAlo) or a SIM card remover to switch out SIM cards once you buy a local SIM card

  • Headphones (even better if it has noise cancelling)

  • Phone charger

  • Power bank

  • Camera (DSLR, mirrorless, disposable, GoPro, drone, or underwater, etc.) and accessories


🧢Shoes & Accessories

  • Running shoes

  • Flip flops

  • Sandals

  • Water shoes

  • Scarf or beach towel

  • Snorkelling mask or swimming goggles

  • Eye glasses

  • Sunglasses

  • Hair ties

  • Bobby pins

  • Hat

  • Jewelry (leave the expensive ones at home)


  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Dental floss

  • Mouth guard / dentures

  • Mouth guard wash tablets

  • Sunscreen for face

  • Sunscreen for body

  • Deodorant

  • Skincare (face wash, toner, serum, moisturizer, eye cream, etc.)

  • Make up

  • Wet wipes

  • Hair comb

  • Shower cap

  • Shampoo

  • Conditioner

  • Body wash

  • Dry shampoo

  • Hair heat protector spray

  • Nail clipper

  • Q tips

  • Make up remover

  • Make up remover cotton pads

  • Feminine products

  • Aloe after sun

  • Body lotion


  • Your prescriptions if any

  • Tylenol

  • Advil

  • Neocitron

  • Muscle relaxant / Robaxacet

  • Vitamins

  • For bug bites, like Afterbite / Hydrocortisone

  • For stomachache / diarrhea, like pepto-bismol or Imodium

  • For indigestion / heart burn

  • Throat soothers like Ricola or cough drops


  • A book to read

  • Notebook/journal + pen

  • Disinfect wipes

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Tissue / Kleenex

  • Tide-to-go pen

  • Face masks

  • Eye mask

  • Ear plugs

  • Snacks

  • Mosquito spray

  • Travel neck pillow

  • Travel vaccination records

  • Another piece of ID (in case places require an ID for deposit and you don’t want to give them your passport or driver’s license)

You know yourself best. For example, if you’re someone who feels cold often, then bring warm layers even if you’re traveling to a hot place. Sometimes the air conditioner in hot countries are set really low — I’ve gotten sick after swimming then being in an AC-ed bus for 5 hours — so now I always bring a hoodie and a thin quick-dry towel. If you burn calories fast or get hangry often (like me), then make sure to always have snacks with you.

It’s also highly recommended to look up your country’s official travel advisory (such as for Canadians travelling abroad) for the latest updates.

Another recommendation is to register with your government/country for any upcoming travels abroad. It is a free service to allow citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest embassy or consulate. If you register you will receive important information from the embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans. It will allow the embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. They can help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

Traveling is a personal journey, and prioritizing safety and comfort is essential.

Whether you're embarking on a solo adventure or traveling with companions, remember to care for yourself first. Just as they say on airplanes, secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

The ultimate travel packing list  — Healing Journey Retreats (2024)
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