Packing is one activity that will affect your entire trip. It is important to make sure not to bring too many things, since you will have to carry everything you bring.
Unless you are going somewhere very remote, don’t bother bringing a water filtration system. Most people in the world have access to fresh water; they simply can’t afford to buy it.
Bring clothing appropriate to where you are going. If you are traveling to the tropics, bring light clothing that dries quickly. Avoid heavy apparel like blue jeans and boots.
Don’t forget the little things like nail clippers, a sewing kit, compass, band-aids and toothbrush. In some countries, these things can be puzzlingly rare.
Do not bother bringing a space blanket. They are completely useless, and do not function as described by their clever marketing. Imagine trying to sleep under a giant piece of tin foil.
Swiss army knives seem like the perfect travelers tool, but because the blades are small and don’t lock they can be more dangerous than useful. Most jobs require a larger knife with a fixed or locking blade, such as a machete. Bring it, but don’t expect to be doing more with it than opening beer bottles.
The most important piece of gear to pack is ear plugs. They are the perfect solution for screaming babies, noisy buses, and partying neighbors. Bring several sets, but don’t throw them away after you use them. They are very difficult to replace while abroad.
All in all, remember to pack light. It’s more important to be carrying the right couple of tools than a bag full of laundry.