How to Make Packing Lists for Vacation

I'm the type of person who writes everything down. Not because I'm obsessive, I just forget things when I don't. It's no different when it comes to packing for vacation. If I want to be sure to have everything I need (especially when packing for multiple people) I have to make a list. Lists bring order to chaos and help me to remember the million little things that have to go into out bags.

Packing Lists Create Order from ChaosPacking Lists Create Order from Chaos
The necessities that you need to travel with will change depending on the type of trip you're taking. Because of this it's smart to create a new list for every trip. is a great tool that will help you create lists based on travel dates, location, climate and activities that you'll be participating in.

I make several different lists, one for each bag that I will be bringing along. The list is not only important for me to remember what to pack, but gives me an inventory of what was inside my bag in case something goes wrong and the airlines loses my luggage. I always make sure that I have a copy of the list both inside my suitcase, and tucked in with my travel documents.

Here's peak inside my bags:

  • Purse - Contains my identification, money, travel documents, phone and medications.

  • Carry On Bag - The carry on bag should contain things that will keep you busy on the way to your destination. Though it can be a suitcase, it doesn't have to be if you plan on checking bags. However, the most important thing I can say about a carry on bag is to make sure you have a change of clothes in the event your travel plans change suddenly.

  • Electronics Bag - Everything needed for a mobile office & my cameras. I list out what I will need for each day and then write down the accessories that go along like chargers, batteries, Ethernet and extension cords. My electronics bag has a compartment to keep a change of clothes in, so that it can also act as my carry on.

  • Suitcase - Contains the majority of my clothing for vacation. Organized by days of travel. Start your list by figuring out what clothes you'll need. I order my list by day and write down all the components of each outfit. After I know what I'm wearing then I add the accessories i.e. socks, shoes undies, jewelry.

  • Vanity Bag - Contains make-up, toiletries, and OTC medications that get packed into my suitcase

Preparing lists can add to the excitement of vacation planning, tell me what I still need to buy, and keep me from procrastinating! Do you make lists? How do you decided what goes on them? Leave a comment and let me know!

emily wrote on Wed, 09/28/2011 - 06:12:

emily's picture

I am a CRAZY list maker - most especially when it comes to packing. I don't want to spend any time on my vacation trying to find anything that I've forgotten.

I also take a copy of my packing list with me on the trip - so that I can make sure that I remember to take everything home again.


JeffC wrote on Thu, 09/29/2011 - 00:32:

This may come as a surprise to many, but I make a list!

I learned my lesson after the year I forgot to pack the camcorder charger and we got 2 days of video on a 6 day trip to San Diego.....

I have a running list that I've been using as my base list for a few years now. Electronics adapters and chargers and spare contacts tend to be my biggies - anything else I can generally buy if I absolutely have to.

Kristen K. wrote on Sat, 10/01/2011 - 13:36:

Kristen K.'s picture

So, I wrote this article as I was working on packing for vacation, and would you believe I forgot to pack some things! LOL!! Luckily the room was set up well and I didn't need my 25ft ethernet cable, that was left at home.

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