A packing list is a detailed statement of the contents in a certain package either for delivery or travel.
A vacation packing list will involve a checklist of all the things needed to travel comfortably and in style.
This way you get to have a record of all you need without forgetting anything since whether it is your first trip or the 60th trip, we always seem to forget something. I know I do.
But with the ultimate vacation packing list, you do not have to worry about that anymore. As much as packing is not fun like the actual vacation, it gets easier with this guideline.
When packing for any vacation, consider the length of the trip, the means of travel you will mostly use, and the weather to determine what kind of gear to pack.
The bag you are going to use to pack your items matters a lot too especially if you are backpacking around the world.
The Ultimate Vacation Packing List
Before you can start packing and ticking off that checklist, there are a few pointers:
This is literally the most important thing you will ever “pack”. It is critical that you and your loved ones are protected from the unexpected as you have your adventures around the world.
I have witnessed people being so worried when they are supposed to be on their relaxing getaway.
Right from the airport, you will see people tensing because they are afraid to lose their luggage at the baggage claim or by theft.
Throughout the whole vacation, there will be one thing or the other that will worry you that can be easily solved with travel insurance.
What if your luggage gets lost? What if your flight gets delayed? What if an accident happens? To avoid these kind of questions and have peace of mind, get your travel insurance before anything else.
It is one of those expenses that are worth it, trust me. Remember, no vacation or trip is too short or too long to be covered by travel insurance.
Activities you have planned on doing while on vacation will extensively determine what kind of clothes, shoes or bags to carry.
For example; if you will not be moving around on foot a lot, lighter shoes will be preferred unlike shoes packed for someone who will be hiking or backpacking around.
These activities will be in different locations for sure so the climate will differ from place to place.
Confirm the climate of different areas you are going to visit to determine your clothes e.g. if it is cold often, that magnifies your need to carry more than one sweater as compared to other garments.
Last consideration when it comes to planning activities to determine your coaching is the kind of activities you will be doing.
Some activities can be quite intense or not as active. Both will require different types of garments and items to conduct them.
Get the right bag
However you choose to travel or whatever bag you choose to use, always use packing cubes to help you be more organized.
Use a different cube for certain items so it can save you a lot of time and stress. If you do not already have a bag and need to purchase one, do so earlier so you can have time to return it if it does not fit you.
Make sure you check the fabric of the bag, if the handle is long enough for suitcases, and other qualities you should consider depending on what kind of vacation you are taking.
Since the weight of luggage is checked at airlines, try to get a lighter bag so you can pack more without adding too much to the weight.
Whilst you are at it, confirm the luggage allowance for the airlines you will be using. Most airline have strict rules regarding luggage.
Secure your home
You will want to make sure, while you are away, your home is safe and secure. You also want to enjoy your vacation without constantly worrying about the safety of your home and valuables. Security systems are the best option but awfully expensive and you would rather use that money on your vacation.
Although there are much cheaper options when you want to install CCTV.
The few times we have vacations as a family, we let our auntie who is also our neighbor check on out house once in a while.
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She also gets to take care of our pets while we are away. The point is, if you have a trusted friend or neighbor, then it is most definitely the cheapest way to secure your home.
Have them walk in and out to check and create an impression of people present in the house. She could turn on the lights once in a while since that helps to keep people away.
There are timers for this specific purpose if there is no one you can trust to watch over your house and have your house key.
On a side note, prepay bills that will need to be paid for while you are on vacation.
7 Day Vacation Packing List
This is fairly a long time for you to not be comfortable because of poor packing methods. Different types of vacations will require particular gadgets or equipment in that a camping or glamping (glamorous camping) type of vacation will not require the same types of clothes or items as in a beach vacation.
There are however common items and they are as follows:
- Duffel bags – these come closest to being the all-purpose bag since they are much more comfortable and can be used to carry anything. They have two handles that can withstand the weight of a full bag and can carried by two people. There are travel duffel bags that come with different compartments for documents, smaller items and better yet, backpack straps in case you want to change since most travelers will either use duffel bags or backpacks to move from one place to the other.
- Backpacks – they are the ultimate choice for outdoor people, camping, trekking or backpacking vacationers. Examine the straps since they basically hold up the weight of the items in the bag. Other than that, look for a backpack with compartments for convenience, strong fabric for quality, quality zippers to keep your bag on lock especially around town where anyone can easily reach into a backpack without your knowledge(writing from experience)
- Suitcases – not the best option for most vacationers but if yours is a business trip, a luxury trip, or a vacation with high profile people, then this is the one for you.
As mentioned before, whatever bag you choose, you will probably need packing cubes.
They will prevent your neatly folded and packed clothes and items from becoming one hot mess in that bag.
- One fancy outfit – this is more of a formal outfit. You will spend most of your time in comfortable clothes but you must have one formal outfit for any day you might want to visit a fancy building, museum or restaurant.
- One sweater or jacket – jackets are quite heavy and take so much packing space so one should be just enough assuming the climate of your vacation is not always cold. If so, two jackets should suffice.
- Pajamas– get one to two sets of pajamas both light and heavy for different climates.
- 7 sets of underwear – have one breathable undergarment for each day just in case. You do not want to be stuck with no underwear and start spending on things you did not plan on.
- 7 bras – for the ladies, you will need 7 bras for each day to avoid wearing the same bra over and over again.
- 5-7 pairs of socks – heavy socks for cold weather and light ones for sunny days. Do not skimp on packing enough socks since they are small and you need to have clean pairs for each day. If not, carry socks made of a fabric that dries real quick.
- Casual t-shirts – these are for days with a nice weather and for comfort.
- Shorts – if your destination is not as cold, shorts are a must carry. Two should be enough.
- Two scarves – for a cold weather and at night and mornings.
- Gloves – one pair of gloves is recommended.
- Belt – get your one favorite belt to travel with you.
- Sneakers – comfortable and versatile so it is a must have for any kind of vacation.
- Dress shoes – dress shoes are for the formal occasions to match your formal outfit.
- Long-sleeved t-shirts – easily layered when the weather starts acting up. Also, they look cool. Two should be enough keeping in mind that you have casual t shirts packed.
3. Entertainment items
- Phone and charger – this is an obvious one but what’s easily forgotten is the charger.
- Laptop/tab and charger – for a business trip, these are crucial. I never forget mine even though they are purely for entertainment like a good movie when travelling.
- Camera – if you already have one, you most likely love taking pictures of things that interest you. You would hate to see something real nice, reach out for your camera to capture the moment and realize you forgot it.
- Book – I am a book fanatic and if I am to go anywhere without a good read, I would rather stay. Yes, I mean that.
- Easy home monitoring – this is for the ones who have a home security system mentioned earlier. You have that installed for monitoring so make sure you do not forget these gadgets.
For less or no damage on your electronics, pack them together most preferably in a smart electronics organizer case.
- Medication – either you are on medication for being sick or on birth control.
- Deodorant – no one likes to not smell good and walking around on foot or travelling in a vehicle for a long time will have you sweating.
- Sunscreen – if your destination is a hot place or it is a beach vacation, you cannot afford to forget this. It is easier to buy when you get there but from my experience, you do not always get you preferred type and SPF you are looking for.
- Cosmetics – this is especially for the women. Stick to the ones you already own especially if your skin is sensitive so carry your own.
- Dental floss – especially if you already floss on the daily.
- Hand sanitizer – travelling around the world and in different places will strongly need you to have a sanitizer.
- Lip balm – some of us do hate chapped lips and it is hard to avoid these when travelling.
- Shower gel – most hotels provide these but definitely not the one you mainly use.
- Hairstyling product
- Lotion – you could have one for the family.
- Facial Moisturizer
- Shaver & Shaving Lotion
What to pack for a family vacation
First off, purchase enough packing cubes so you can fit different items in a single bag in an organized manner.
Having a bag for each person especially the children is going to be a lot of hustle moving around and at the airport which also increases your baggage fee.
1. A carry-on bag – you are definitely going to need a carry-on bag.
This is the bag that you will stay with in the plane as long as you follow their guidelines like excluding items they restrict in a carry-on bag or size limit.
It is strictly for essentials. Pack all the personal items in this bag for convenience and entertainment items for you and most importantly, the children.
- Camera and charger
- Phone and charger
- Tablets and charger
- Spare batteries
- Children toys
- Books – novels, storybooks and coloring books.
- Pencils, pens and crayons.
- Games – video games and board games or cards
2. Clothes with colors around the same spectrum – why? It is easier to partner this clothes in different ways.
If you have a mix of colors, you will end up packing a lot of nonessential clothes trying to match each one up.
- A pair of socks for each person
- Bathing suits
- Workout clothes – for work out or active activities like hiking
- Casual outfits for each
- Dressier outfits – just one for each person.
Use packing cubes – When packing the earlier mentioned outfits for each person, use packing cubes for the smaller outfits and other items that belong to that person.
3. Empty bag – preferably a duffel bag.
The last time we travelled with my family, we ended up buying a lot of items but mostly clothes, with no extra packing space.
You are most likely to buy stuff for the people you left, souvenirs, and other items.
It also comes in handy as an emergency bag just in case of anything and to avoid extra spending.
4. Baby items – for the family with a baby;
- Baby carrier
- Extra clothes
- Toilet seat for children
- Nursing pads
- Waterproof sheets
- Baby blanket
- Travel stroller
- Baby food
- Baby wipes
- Sippy cup
- Car seat
- Changing pad
People easily forget these but the advantage is, you could always stop by a mart along the way to buy food.
I prefer carrying a homemade snack and you should too, if possible because the children will need something to eat other than snacks. Especially if you do not trust road food stalls.
If you have a baby, then you should carry baby food.
Candies for the children wouldn’t hurt either.
Over-the-counter medications for illnesses like headaches can prove to be quite valuable. Other medications provided by your health-care provider are crucial too.
Always have a first aid kit with you.
This involves preparation of documentation and identification items like a passport (if you do not own one yet), visa, and financial documents.
On top of the aforementioned, other important documents when travelling are:
- Driver’s license
- National ID
- Travel insurance certificate
- Itinerary plan
- Vaccination certificates
- Credit cards
What do I need for a vacation checklist?
A checklist is one step closer to your vacation but if prepared poorly, packing will be confusing and exhausting taking you steps back.
Start preparing a checklist a month earlier for longer trips so you have enough time to add items you might remember later on.
You will need the following to make a productive checklist:
- Blank document or paper and pen – paper is easier to edit and check things off once they are done. It is also easier to carry around compared to having a checklist on your pc. You can have one on your phone too. If you are travelling alone, make rows for every family member because they don’t exactly require similar items.
- Start with clothing – pack your clothes considering the number of days your vacation lasts. If you are sure that you will be washing your clothes, you might as well not over pack.
Also, pack extra items like gloves, cover ups, scarves and extra innerwear.
- Move to toiletries – toiletries and various bathroom items will be different when it comes to female and male but items like soap, moisturizer, lotion, toothpaste, etc. create a common ground. So do not pack one for each to save space.
- Entertainment items – write down all the entertainment items you have and are willing to carry especially if you have children who will need to be entertained while you travel.
- Other items – this section will depend on who is travelling. If it is a family, additional sections will be needed for example if you have a baby, or a child with special needs.
It also depends on the type of vacation too in that a camping or glamping vacation will need a section of outdoor items.
Even with a checklist, make sure you always do a final inspection a day before and when you are leaving.
Play games on the way like, ‘I spy’ and listen to music as a family to keep the children in line. Most importantly, have fun!