Packing tips

Whether you are a pro or a novice, packing for an international trip that includes several different activities—like time in the city and time on tour—can be daunting. We have a lot of experience with traveling ourselves and with travelers, so we have compiled some packing tips we think will help as you prepare for your adventure in the North Caucasus.

Packing your carry-on/personal item


  • Layering is your best friend! Bring a jacket and scarf to wear over short sleeves. Airplanes and airports can be hot and then cold.
  • Remember that you will be in the clothes you are wearing on the flights for a long time. While it may be tempting to wear something sweat pant-like, you will probably be more comfortable and feel fresh longer in something with a little more structure, but not too tight.
  • You may be walking a lot and walking quickly while traveling. You may also have to remove your shoes at security and want to take them off while on the plane. You should wear shoes that are easily removable and supportive and sturdy enough for walking.


  • Always put at least one change of clothes and underclothes in your carry-on, in case of lost baggage.
  • It’s really best to put anything that you can’t do the trip without into your carry-on.

Anything you would really hate to lose should either stay at home or be in the bags that are near you.

Make sure you have any medicines you need to take regularly with you as you travel. Make sure you have the right number of doses to last for the duration of your trip. Rules about pharmacies and prescriptions are different in every country. Keep prescription medicines in their original packaging. Vitamins, supplements, and other such things can be packed in plastic bags, which are easier to fit and utilize.

  • Bring extra contact lenses, your glasses, eye drops and lotion. Airports and airplanes are notoriously dry.
  • Make sure your shampoo, conditioner, saline, etc fit into a TSA approved plastic bag.
  • Deodorant and make-up do not have to be in your TSA bag.
  • Double check TSA requirements for liquids prior to finalizing your packing.

Mints and gum can be useful for helping your ears pop with the pressure changes and for keeping you feeling fresh as you travel. Earplugs can be useful in helping you sleep on a long flight. Ear buds, charge cords, and your adapter should also be accessible. Airplanes and airports frequently have wi-fi and a place for you to charge your devices.

Your personal item can be a standard-size backpack (not a hiking backpack), as long as it is not stuffed overfull. Pro Tip: Put everything you need while traveling in your personal item, so you never have to open your carry-on case. Put anything you need to take out in security in this bag because it’s more accessible. Bring a journal or notebook, thank you notes, and a pen. You will wish you had all three.

  • Pack your heaviest items closest to the wheels.
  • Use the empty spaces
    • Put items you don’t want crushed inside your shoes.
    • Small items can go between the handle bars in the bottom of the suitcase or in the corners.
  • Roll your clothes. They get less wrinkled and fit more efficiently.

Some airlines have weight requirements for carry-on items. Check with all airlines you will be flying so that you are not unpleasantly surprised.

Packing your checked bag

Plan to layer and to re-wear clothes. Seriously, unless you are an experienced traveler, you probably need less than half of what you think you need.
Figure out the bare minimum you can survive on, pack that and all the non-clothing items you need, then add clothing back in one piece at a time.

Check the weight requirements for all of the airlines you will be flying, including the smaller domestic airlines. You don’t want to be surprised.
Hand-held luggage scales can be purchased to weigh your baggage. Alternately, you can weigh yourself with and without your bag and do the math to figure out the weight of your bag.

Make sure all of your liquids are in plastic bags. You don’t want to deal with a spill.
You may also find it handy to bring extra sealable plastic bags and plastic grocery bags.

Tape the address of your destination with your name to the inside and outside of your checked bag.
Make sure all locks are TSA approved.

Over packing can make your life miserable. Make it easy on yourself and anyone else that needs to open your bag to get it closed again.
Look at an online packing list or two just to make sure you don’t overlook something obvious.