Have you ever gone on a vacation, or trip, or traveled to your destination only to find that you forgot to pack several items that cost you additional money you didn’t plan on spending?

When at home we tend to take things for granted because everything is right at our fingertips.

For instance, if you need to shave, the razor and cream are available in the vanity.

On the flip side, if you were to go on a vacation and forgot to pack those items, you’d have to find a store to purchase them.

This could be a big deal when you’re on a schedule, especially when you’re tired from the trip.

And you know that wherever you buy the items you forgot at home from will most likely price gouge.

The best way to minimize your chances of forgetting essential items is to create checklists.

There are a variety of ways to create a checklist including the following:

A good tip to remember is that as you pack your bags, make a list of what you are taking.

Expand the list if you buy anything while on your trip that will be going home with you.

On the way home, having this checklist with you will help you avoid leaving or forgetting something along the way, in a bathroom or hotel drawer!

It’s pretty obvious that you must use some type of travel packing list to ensure that you don’t forget any of your essential items.

Below I’ve provided a list of the most common items that you may want to consider packing to help make your journey as seamless as possible.

A typical packing checklist

  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 3-4 shirts
  • A dark-colored sweater that is best to wear en route
  • Clothes for a dressy occasion, for comfort, while traveling and suitable to the climate
  • One sport-jacket for men (some restaurants require them)
  • Swimsuit
  • Cover-up for beach or pool
  • Raincoat and galoshes
  • Hat, beret, or sun hat
  • 3-5 pairs of underwear
  • 5 pairs of socks – cotton or wool
  • Sleepwear
  • 1 pair of sturdy well-broken-in boots or sandals
  • If for winter travel include a down jacket, waterproofed boots, gloves and hat, and long underwear

Other Suitable Items For Purse Or Carry-On Luggage:

  • Passport
  • Mobile devices (e.g. cell phones, tablets)
  • Pens and pencils
  • Tickets
  • Camera, film, batteries
  • Itinerary
  • Multi-media accessories
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Zip-lock or plastic bags (seal)
  • International certificate of vaccination
  • Dictionary or phrasebook
  • Maps
  • Laundry items (e.g. detergent)
  • Money belt of the pouch
  • Clothes brush
  • Extra glasses, contact lenses, and prescriptions
  • Inflatable hanger or two
  • Combination lock
  • Rubber sink stopper
  • Address, notebook or journal, and a small pad of paper
  • First aid kit
  • Daypack
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Pocket flashlight for each traveler
  • Analgesic
  • Net shopping bag
  • Antiseptic towelettes
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • Anti-malaria pills
  • A thermometer in a hard case
  • Nail clipper & Tweezers
  • Toiletries (Optional)
  • Toothbrush and paste, extra dental floss
  • Earplugs and eyeshade
  • Soap and soap dish
  • Binoculars in a hard case
  • Shampoo
  • Roll of transparent tape
  • Moisturizer
  • Adapters for electronics
  • Lip balm
  • Portal radio
  • Small towel and washcloth
  • Musical instrument (if appropriate)
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Razor, blades, and shaving cream

Checklist When Traveling With Children:

  • Car seat with cloth liner
  • Small packets of tissues
  • Disposable diapers
  • Nightlight
  • Wet wipes
  • Flashlight
  • Change pad
  • Extra juice
  • Garbage bags
  • Child's cup with drinking spout
  • Diaper rash ointment
  • Collapsible cup
  • Fork and spoon
  • Drinking straws
  • Familiar foods (e.g. cereal, crackers, and noodles)
  • Finger foods (e.g. cubes of cheese, vegetable sticks)
  • Vitamins of fluoride drops
  • Bibs
  • Small toys
  • pencils and pads of paper
  • Favorite animal or doll
  • Pacifier
  • Compass
  • Transparent tape
  • Insect repellent
  • Baby shampoo and soap
  • Favorite books

Smart Packing Tips

Tip 1: Maximize Luggage Space

Maximize the packing space you have in your luggage.

While packing and making your checklist, put small items such as spare glasses, dress accessories, socks, and other small items inside your shoes.

Shoes are usually rigid and can protect items that might otherwise be broken.

You will need every inch of your suitcase upon your return to avoid the battle of the ‘bulging’ suitcase that will not close until you go sit on it and struggle with the clasp until it finally shuts!

Tip 2: Avoid Overpacking

One of the most common mistakes made by travelers is packing too much of everything.

Except for the inconvenience, there are also charges and fees for overages.

You have to deal with having to ship personal belongings home, leaving some items at the airport, packing and unpacking bags, removing items, and more!

All these actions are responsive and costly options.

Pack and travel light.

Think minimalism when packing.

Pick items that will suit and serve you well, are multi-purpose, functional, mix and match well, are durable, and are easy-care.

Essentials rather than outfits and accessories, fashion, and color-coded planning dictate the bulging suitcase.

To avoid having to pay more, incurring unplanned, additional costs, and penalties for luggage overages, pack smart!

In preparing for your trip, after packing your luggage, lift it up, carry it around a block or two, or down the stairs, and see how it feels.

Remember, you will have to handle these eventually!

This is a useful technique to re-evaluate and re-pack the amount you are taking with you.

You will not be sorry.

Also, leave some room for purchases while on your trip, as you would not like to have to buy additional pieces of luggage you do not really need, want, or incur costly shipping charges duties, or other fees!

Tip 3: Put Liquids In Plastic Bags

Another word to the wise when packing your luggage: All things fluid and liquids in plastic bottles or containers should be placed in sealable plastic bags that will not leak.

It is always wise to place bottles into well-sealed plastic bags as well.

Wrapping a bottle in a towel or clothing will not protect it or keep it from leaking and staining your clothes.

The damage could be permanent and lead to unnecessary costs for laundry services and or replacement for clothes you really did not need or want.

Tip 4: Pack A Wake-Up Kit

Start the day off right by packing a "wake-up kit,” which typically contains items like a travel mug, spoon, instant coffee or tea, sweetener, dry creamer, and a plug-in immersion heater.

It is a great way to start the day and you will save on the morning cup of coffee or evening tea.

It’s smart to make every dollar count and to save, when possible, even while on a vacation.

Tip 5: Pack Layers

Always layer and/or take a sweater or multi-purpose jacket with you, wherever you go. It can get cool pretty fast, and a tourist location is not the place to have to buy this item.

They will be priced a little higher obviously and you would probably spend too much without a second thought just because you need one!

Not a good decision for your travel budget necessarily – especially if it is an unbudgeted item.

That is where your travel packing list comes in handy when packing your suitcase in the first place.

Planes can also be very cool spaces, so ask for a blanket and pillow when you sit down in your seat as this will prevent you from taking up space in your luggage by bringing your own.


No matter where you’re traveling to and for what purpose, packing can be a royal pain in the rear, even if it’s for a vacation.

The secret to successful travel is to pack light, adaptable, and comfortable clothing that is washable and durable and can be mixed and matched.

Pack comfortable shoes, cotton or wool socks as you will be doing a lot of walking, and underwear, and accessorize to add variety, layer, and adjust to the climate.

I recommend avoiding expensive clothes that could be ruined.

Your trip begins with packing.

Just imagine getting to your destination knowing that you haven’t forgotten any of your essential items, all because you used a simple travel packing list.

Have fun on your trip!

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