What Should I Pack?

Time to Get Packing

While being away on vacation or over the holidays is great, getting ready to go can be daunting. Figuring out what you need to take on each trip takes focus and energy. Below you will find a “basic” packing list. Copy this list and keep it on your computer in a “travel” folder. Each time you travel, adjust it for your destination, mode of transportation and duration of trip. You can also customize it for each vacation by adding a number next to each item, such as “8” next to underwear for a 7 day vacation. To help older children pack, simply a version and print it out. Ask them to try and set out the right items, and then you can review it/edit it before it goes into the suitcase.

Some items may not apply to your family, so delete them before saving. Each time you personalize a list, save it as a separate document, such as “Packing List: Beach Vacation.” Print this list and take it with you on the trip. If while away you discover an item you forgot, write it onto your list. When you get home, update the list. Next time you take a similar vacation, the process of getting ready will be much easier.

“Basic” Packing List


Layer 1

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Bras/Camis/Undershirts/Spanx (sports underwear if needed)
  • Pajamas, Robe

Layer 2

  • Casual clothing – bottoms (shorts, jeans, sweat pants)
  • Casual clothing – tops (short sleeved, long sleeved)
  • In-between clothing (capris, casual dress, nice pants, collared shirt)
  • Dressy Outfit (dress, shirt & tie)
  • Belt

Layer 3

  • Sweatshirt/Fleece
  • Rain Jacket
  • Sport Coat/Sweater for nicer clothing
  • Hat/Gloves


  • Slippers (if desired)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Athletic shoes (sneakers, golf shoes, tennis shoes, hiking boots, etc)
  • Sandals/Loafers/Nicer casual shoes
  • Dress shoes

Recreation (will vary by type of vacation)

  • Bathing Suit & Cover Up/Flip Flops
  • Exercise Clothing
  • Tennis/ Golf/ Fishing/ Skiing/ etc. Clothing


  • Sunscreen/Bug spray
  • Baseball cap/Sun Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera & Memory Card* (with labeled charger)
  • Tablet*/iPad*/Cell phone* (each with labeled charger)/Earphones
  • Camcorder* (with labeled charger)
  • Book/Kindle*/Nook* (with labeled charger)
  • Small Games (e.g. cards)
  • Passports/ID/Driver’s License/Medical Insurance Card*
  • Jewelry*/Cuff Links/Collar Stays
  • Hair Dryer (if not going to a hotel)/Hair Straightener/Curling Iron
  • Empty Refillable Water Bottle (one for each family member)
  • Baby Supplies (diaper bag, toys, bottles, wipes, car seat)
  • Electrical Adaptors (if traveling out of the country)
  • Hostess Gift (if staying with friends or relatives)
  • Umbrella
  • Luggage Tags
  • Money Belt/Collapsible Tote/Day Pack
  • Empty plastic bags (for wet/soiled items)


  • Prescription Medicines*/Vitamins
  • Feminine Protection
  • Hair Bands
  • Contact Lenses & Solution/Glasses
  • Toothpaste & Toothbrush/Floss
  • Hairbrush/Comb
  • Chapstick
  • Make-up
  • Deodorant
  • Soap/Shampoo/Conditioner (if not staying in a hotel)
  • Razor/Shaving Cream
  • Retainer*
  • Nail Supplies (clippers/polish/polish remover)
  • Birth Control

Travel Information

  • Itinerary (including confirmation numbers for car/hotels/tours/etc.)
  • Maps
  • Membership Cards (e.g. for airline clubs)
  • Copies of Passports/Credit Cards
  • Travel Insurance documentation
  • International Vaccination Card
  • Emergency Contact Information

* Always carry these items on an airplane trip… do not placed inside checked luggage.


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What do you often forget when traveling that should be added to this list?