Basic items that are necessary for any packing list include clothing, shoes, toiletries and paperwork. If you are traveling to an unfamiliar location, you may also need maps and guidebooks, as well as hotel and car rental information. Small items such as toothbrushes and sunglasses are often forgotten, so include them on the list as well.
The types of clothing you need depend on where you are traveling, as well as the time of year. Check weather forecasts to help you decide what kind of clothes to take, and plan outfits ahead to avoid packing too much.
If you are going on a business trip, try to pick basic items of clothing that work together as outfits. Extra underwear and socks are useful in case you wish to change during the day. Keep business-related materials in your hand luggage or briefcase; this includes items such as a laptop, files, device chargers and an envelope for expense receipts.
If you are travelling to a developing country, it may be better to use a backpack in case you have to walk or take a motorcycle taxi. Lightweight fleece jackets do not weigh a lot and are useful for staying warm. In hot environments, a button-down shirt is useful as the collar and sleeves provide protection from the sun.
Check items off your list as you pack them. Pack heavier items at the bottom of your luggage, especially if you are using a rolling model. Keep snacks and entertainment such as reading material within easy reach, in case of unexpected delays.