How to Make a Packing List

Road trips, vacations, and even sleepovers are lots of fun to go on, but to make the most out of your trip you have to pack the right items. Sometimes, packing can be a bore or confusing, if you have no idea what to bring. The best way to organize your thoughts and remove the drama from packing is to make yourself a packing list. Follow the easy steps in this guide to make a packing list and be one step closer to your trip!


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    Make sure it's clear where you are going, how long you will be gone, what the weather will be like, and how you are getting there. If you don't know some one or more of these things, you may want to put this off for later.
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    Get a piece of paper and a pen or pull up a blank document on your computer. It is best to write on a blank document, because you can easily add/edit things, but with pen and paper you can organize it easily. Write "Packing List" neatly on the front of it. If it is for your whole family, you may want to divide the page in equal sections for each family member.
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    Decide if you want to use bullets or create a list for each item (Clothing List, Bathroom List, Entertainment List, etc). If you are making lists, label the top of where each list will be.
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    Start with clothing. If you are going to be gone for 1-7 nights, you may want to consider bringing 1 shirt, 1 pair of pants, 1 pair of underwear, 1 pair of socks, 1 pair of pajamas, and for women, 1 bra, for each night you are staying. If you are washing clothes, you can pack less. If your trip is longer, consider packing 1 outfit and 1 pair of pajamas for every 3-4 days, assuming you will be washing clothing. Remember bathing suits, cover ups, extra pairs of shoes, scarves, coats, gloves, and other items to keep you comfortable.
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    Move on to Bathroom Items. If you are going to spend 1-7 nights somewhere, bring your own shampoo and body wash, unless it's only one night (sleepover), then consider skipping a shower. Remember to bring toilet paper if you are spending over a week somewhere. For every 2 days you will be gone, bring one roll of toilet paper, just in case where you are staying doesn't supply it. Don't forget razors, deodorant, hairbrushes, toothbrush, hair straightener/curling iron, and for women, tampons/pads.
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    Now, start writing down Entertainment items. Books, magazines, MP3's, phones, and CD's all qualify as entertainment. For a quick 1 night stay, you might only want to bring a magazine instead of two or three books, because you won't get around to reading them overnight. Remember, if where you are staying doesn't have a DVD player, don't take DVD's!
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    You also need to remember Sleeping items. Pillows, blankets, and sleeping bags all should be put down. If you are spending 1-7 nights somewhere, don't plan on washing your sheets. Take what you need for your bed (if it is on a bed or on the floor) and maybe an extra sheet, just in case. If you are spending a long time somewhere, take two sets of sheets and rotate them every other week.
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    Next, start writing down Cleaning items. You'll need something to wash your clothes with for long stays. Check with where you are staying to see if they have cleaners, and if so, what kinds.
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    Now, write down financial/identification items. For most people, this should be your wallet or purse and a passport, if your leaving the country. If you are just spending the night, you may want to take no money because you probably will not have to buy anything.
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    Start writing down medications and other items for your health. If you have any pills you have to take, right these down. Make sure to take bandages, vitamins, and pain relievers wherever you go, unless its just a sleepover. Remember things like First-Aid kits, motion sickness remedies, and sleep medications.
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    Now you can write down some 'gadgets' you need to take. MP3 and Cell Phone can go here or in the entertainment section. Remember a cell phone charger, camera, alarm clock (if you need to wake up at a certain time), laptop, and walkies-talkies if you need these items.
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    If you are camping or spending time outdoors like on the beach or in swimming pools, add an Outdoor items section. Sunscreen is a must for almost anywhere you go. Tents, sleeping bags, flotation items, beach towels, buckets, shovels, and things of such are good for spending time at the beach or camping. Remember insect repellant and flashlights for camping.
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    This last section is only needed if you are traveling with the family or with young children. Wipes, diapers, baby powder, 'sippy cups', and strollers are good for young kids.
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    Add any other items you need for your trip, like pens and pencils, notebooks, GPS (for traveling), or rags.
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    Go back and double check your list. Did you remember everything or did you put on some extra items? Cross off and add on what you really need. Remember that if you are traveling far, you can buy some things when you get to your location.
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    Have fun on your trip!


  • Make sure you have the right size bag for when it comes time to pack.
  • When you are packing, if you think of something else to bring, jot it down on the list. You can use this list for future reference. You may want to make a packing list about a week before the trip, double check it once a day, and then when it comes time to pack, only pack those items, nothing else.
  • If you have a lot of bathroom items, you may want to put these in a completely separate bag for ease when unpacking.
  • Put your list somewhere you will remember it or somewhere the family can see it.
  • If you are traveling on the road, a cooler and plastic grocery bags are a must (grocery bags for garbage).
  • Ask people you know that have been on trips for advice. They can probably give you hints on what bags to bring, how to pack, what items to remember, and what to leave at home.
  • Be reasonable. You aren't going to need a winter coat if you are going to Africa, and you probably won't need your bathing suit in the middle of winter.

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Categories: Moving House and Packing