Vacation Packing Checklist

Everyone loves vacations!  You do. I do.  My wife does.  Our kids do.  There’s a lot of excitement leading up to every vacation.  Everyone is looking forward to the adventures we’re going to experience, the tastes of new foods, smells of new environments, meeting new people.  Like a lot of families we wait until the last minute to get everything together.  I’ve found that using the Backpacker Checklist has been helpful for organizing our last minute packing ahead of time.  I have a template for vacations setup and I use that to plan the packing ahead of time.  (When I’m backpacking I’m hyper-concerned about weight, but for vacation packing, well, who cares?!?) Sitting around on the couch I can decide days ahead of time what we will need.  Then, at the last minute, I go through the list and start throwing it all together into piles and then into suitcases.

Regardless of how you work it out yourself it is helpful to have a travel or vacation packing checklist for your vacation.  Here are some useful suggestions:

Clothing (for each person)

  • One casual outfit for each day (e.g., t-shirt and shorts)
  • One dress outfit, especially if a date night can be worked into the vacation
  • One jacket or at least something to keep warmer
  • Bunch of underwear
  • Bunch of socks
  • Pajamas
  • Swim suit
  • If cold, heavy coat, hat, gloves, and scarf


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Razors & shaving cream?
  • Comb/brush (unless you have a short afro like I do)
  • Hand lotion
  • Glasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Ibuprofen / aspirin
  • Cold medicine (this can be huge)
  • Your prescriptions


  • Credit cards / cash
  • First aid kit
  • iPhone for video and photos
  • iPhone charger cable and wall adapter
  • Lightweight backpack for carrying stuff during day trips
  • Sunglasses
  • Electrical converter
  • Plastic bags for laundry
  • Laptop and charger


  • Tickets (planes, trains, and automobiles)
  • Itinerary
  • Hotel reservation info including address
  • Car reservation info
  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Guide book
  • Map
  • Global Entry card

Travel helpers

  • Kids’ toys
  • Kids’ stuffed animals
  • Playing cards
  • Reading material
  • Handheld electronic games
  • Coloring or workbook activity books
  • Snacks


  • Pause mail delivery
  • Pause newspaper delivery
  • Coordinate with neighbor for trash cans
  • Organize animal care for any pets
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