Going on vacation is always a blast, but it’s essential you prepare accordingly to make sure you aren’t left stranded or regretting what your brought or left behind. Whether it’s your first time travelling or your 100th, here is a complete travel packing checklist to make sure you can enjoy your trip worry free.
Make sure you keep this page for your records as it’s always a good refresher and will help you for all future travel. Especially when the trip is starting to creep up on you and you realize it’s now time to start getting ready.
1. Start with choosing the right luggage for your trip
Once you know where you plan on going for your vacation or business trip, it’s time to start thinking about what luggage will work best. Having versatile bags will help make sure you can pack everything you need, but still be able to stay mobile. Luggage has improved over the past few years and bags are now lighter then ever, while still providing individual compartments and wheels for mobility. For travel trips that are only a few days long, consider a smaller bag that could be used as a carry-on during flights to avoid fees. For those longer trips, a larger luggage pack will be more useful, but can come at a cost if you plan on moving around a lot.
Duffel Bags – Not one of the more popular options, but duffel bags are a great way to pack and travel at the same time. These days duffel bags come with straps to carry like a backpack and can make it very easy to move around while still holding all your items. We recommend this type of luggage for people on the go who plan on doing a lot of sightseeing.
Rolling Luggage – Nobody wants to lug around a 50lb bag everywhere. Time to upgrade your suitcases and get some wheels to easily move around. Not only will this make your travel easier, but it’s a huge weight off your arms, hands, and wrists that can cause injury over time.
Backpacks – For those adventurers, packing a backpack is the easiest way to carry what you need and still get around without issues. Newer backpacks also come with a variety of upgrades to enhance your experience. Also makes for an easy carry-on to avoid flight fees.
2. Time to Organize
Now that you have the right luggage for your trip, it’s time to start packing the essentials. Having an itinerary will help determine what to bring and what to leave behind. This isn’t always an easy thing to do as you may think you need to bring your entire closet, but consolidating and combining clothes will save you weight and wasted time.
Consider neutral color clothes – If you are going on a longer vacation, pack neutral clothes that go well together. Chances are you aren’t going to see the same people every day on your trip so it’s ok to wear the same clothes again and match them to make a new outfit.
Think about layers – Weather is always unpredictable, but instead of packing for every scenario possible, look for clothes that you can easily layer to put on and take off at a moments notice.
Get organizers – Having organizer while packing has several benefits:
- Certain organizers are compression meaning you can pack more without wasting space
- Organizers can help arrange your bag so you know where everything is and will avoid having to unpack and repack again and again
- Look for ones with zippers so you can use them for dirty or wet clothes throughout your travel and keep them away from clean clothes
Create a packing checklist
List out everything you may need so you can then start to determine what you need and what you don’t
- Basics – What items do you use every day
- Shirts – Remember to think about what can be layered to minimize
- Jacket – Lightweight jackets are perfect for when it gets cooler in the evening or if it starts to rain
- Pants – Make sure to look for neutral pants or shorts that can be worn with a variety of shirts
- Shoes / Sandals – Having comfortable walking shoes is essential.
- Sleepwear – Unless you sleep in your undies, pack some pajamas
- Hat / Sunglasses – Often overlooked, these are some of the first things you’ll buy if you forget them
- Jewelry – This is another easy thing to consolidate and look for outfits that can accommodate a few pieces of jewelry
- Tech – Cell phone, charger, headphones, etc…
As you go through the list you will find more and more items to pack. However, also consider your carry on as anything of value should be by your side at all times.
3. Toiletry Items
Outside of some of your clothing essentials, it’s also important to make sure you have all your hygienic items. TSA does have restrictions so if you aren’t sure what is allowed on the plane, consult the airlines flight policies. Most are the same with the 3-1-1 rule.
3.4 ounces for liquids, gels, nd creams
1 quart sized plastic bag (clear)
Here are a few items to consider when packing your toiletry bag:
- Toothbrush and paste
- Make Up
- Hair Brush
- Feminine Hygiene
- Prescription Medication
- Cologne or Perfume
- Detergent (if you plan on washing your clothes)
- Nail Clippers / Scissors
- Shaving Supplies
- First Aid Kit
It’s good to also check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website for any vaccines or medicines you should consider getting prior to traveling based off the country you plan on visiting. Some vaccines are required up to 2 months before travel so it can’t hurt to check.
4. Personal carry on item
Just like packing your luggage, it’s also important to make sure you have all the essentials for your personal carry on item. This is when valuables come into play as you need to make sure you have things such as your purse or wallet, passport, etc… The last thing you want to do is pack your personal items in your luggage as your trip will turn sideways in a hurry if it gets lost or stolen. At the same time a personal bag is great for having some quick things on hand such as a good book or music to listen to while flying. However, don’t get carried away as you will want to keep your bag light.
Here is a complete list of some items to consider carrying with you.
- Wallet / Purse
- Cell Phone
- Book or Magazine
- Travel Documents
- Guide Book / Map
- Travel Pillow and Blanket
- Travel Tickets
- Emergency Contacts
Before you leave, double check you have all your personal items (especially ID, passport, travel docs, and wallet) to avoid any headaches while you are on your trip. Most days things are electronic so you can even save important items in your email like itinerary, contacts, and travel documents) which you can bring up on your phone.
5. Getting ready to leave
With everything packed up and ready to go, the last step is to prepare your home. It’s not something people think of often and when you get back from your trip you don’t want a laundry list of things to do.
- Hold your mail – If you plan on leaving for a long time, have the post office hold your mail. Intruders look for this and if they see mail piled up in your box, it’s an easy indication you aren’t home.
- Prepay your bills – Don’t cause problems with your utilities by not paying them on-time. You can even set up auto-pay to solve this problem.
- Arrange services for any pets or your lawn.
- Clear out your refrigerator for things that will expire while you are gone.
- Unplug appliances.
- Lock all your doors and windows.
- Turn off heat and AC.
- Leave a house key with a neighbor or friend incase they need to get in
We hope you enjoy your vacation! Wherever you plan on going, this complete checklist on travel and packing should hopefully get you prepared so you can spend more time doing what you want and less time worrying about what you forgot to bring. We can’t stress enough to start writing things down as soon as you book your flight. From there packing becomes a lot more stress free. Plan can always change and it’s better to be prepared. Best of luck.