Packing Tips

As you’re getting ready for your Humanitarian XP trip, your gut instinct may be to overpack—just in case. As HXP veterans, we encourage you to ditch your bulky extras and embrace the “Less is More” lifestyle while you’re on your trip. Storage space is limited, and you definitely don’t want to lug multiple suitcases around while you’re traveling. 

Stick to the location-specific packing list we provided (in your Builder Portal)—it covers exactly what you will need without excess. Remember that 17-day-long international trips will do laundry once during the trip, but 10-day-long, domestic trips will not. 

Ultimately, you are going on this trip to serve people who live very happily with very little.  You’ll be amazed to discover that you can, too!

For links to some of our favorite Amazon finds based on the general packing list, click here.


With one suitcase (checked item), one backpack or duffle bag (carry on), and one personal item, space will be limited. If you have a flight that we booked, make sure you look at baggage requirements in your transportation information section of your Builder Portal (this will include baggage allotment, weight, and size) so you’re within the limits and don’t have to worry about getting charged extra at the airport.

Make sure you take the time to double check your luggage requirements and weigh your bags beforehand, so you don’t run into problems at the airport and cause yourself added stress while you’re traveling. For more travel tips, check out this blog post


Really think about what to put in your carry-on and personal item that won’t be checked in as luggage. Be sure to keep your passport, prescription medications*, a change of clothes, and anything else you couldn’t survive the first few days without in your carry-on or personal item. Luggage gets lost sometimes, so think through that scenario before you go! 

*Be sure to bring your correct medications—especially if you require insulin, an EpiPen or other health-related materials. Know yourself, what you need, and make sure you’ve got it with you!

Pack Strategically

Since you won’t have unlimited space, make the most of what you’ve got. We suggest packing cubes or rolling your clothes to save space and keep everything nice and organized. Opt for lightweight, breathable clothing that not only takes up less room, but also is super comfortable and great for the high-adventure expeditions you’ll do.

If you’re planning on souvenir shopping on your trip, make sure to leave extra space in your suitcase to bring those items home. Part of Humanitarian XP’s sustainability policy is running “Leave No Trace” trips. We want to encourage self-sufficiency in the communities we work in and avoid dependency on our programs. A habit of donations results in community expectations for future Humanitarian XP trips. No trace trips mean that we don’t bring gifts, donations, or candy, and we don’t leave trash or monetary donations when we leave. This means that any trash you bring on the trip will come home with you (shampoo bottles, snack wrappers, work clothes, etc.). 

First Aid Kit

Because the First Aid Kit HXP provides is meant to be for emergencies only, you will be expected to bring enough of the following (frequently used) items to sustain yourself throughout the duration of your trip.

  • Bandaids
  • Femine Hygiene Products 
  • DayQuill & NyQuill 
  • Cough Drops
  • Motion sickness 
  • Ibuprofen


Think about bringing the motion sickness and Ibuprofen with you on the plane and putting the rest in your carry on luggage. Just make sure the DayQuill & NyQuill does not exceed the ounce limit for flying, we would hate it to get taken from you at security.


We get it—travel without your favorite treats sounds a little daunting, especially since you don’t have exact details about what you’ll be eating while you’re on your trip. Bring some essential treats, but be prepared to try local snacks and plan on fully embracing the food you’re served while you’re on your trip! We’d suggest taking everything out of their original boxes and putting them in ziplock bags to keep them fresh, save space, and keep bugs out. Remember that we run Leave No Trace trips, so whatever packaging you bring to your trip will have to come home with you too.

If you have food allergies, restrictions, or are an extremely picky eater, make sure you bring extra snacks! We’ll collect allergy information on your Builder health form, then let your trip leaders and our in-country food providers know about your restrictions. Sometimes food options are limited or unlabeled, so it’s your job to monitor what you eat during your trip. Most of the time, local food providers are able to accommodate those with food allergies or restrictions.


Chocolate melts. Avoid potential messes and leave the candy bars at home. Snacks like protein bars, trail mix, dried fruit, and beef jerky pack and store well!

Double-Check the Weather

This will take two seconds and save you a massive headache. Is it gonna rain? Bring a rain jacket! Hot? Shorts and short sleeves. Chilly at night? Might want to pack something warm. . . and don’t forget to check the humidity! You’ll be glad you packed accordingly. 

Make sure to closely follow the trip-specific packing list we give you (located in your Builder Portal and linked here). Check out this blog post for our favorite Amazon finds that are on everyone’s general packing lists. Our Program Managers work hard to make sure those packing lists are as accurate as possible. Another great place to check for pointers is your location’s Instagram page (@hxp.locationname)! Scroll through the feed and look at what other Builders are wearing for more information.

Leave valuables at home

We cannot emphasize this enough. Leave anything you would be sad to lose (expensive watches, AirPods, jewelry, favorite t-shirt) AT HOME. Avoid the risk so you don’t have to worry about them being damaged, lost, or stolen—it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Your Trip Leaders will keep your phone put away and safe during the trip. You can keep your phone on the plane. For more information about the Digital Detox, click here.