I am the type of person that, when we go on trips, I want to make sure we have everything we will need.  Often times, that means I end up OVER packing.  I like to think that it’s better to pack too much than forget something that we really needed.  I’m trying to get better though at just packing the essentials and not overdoing it.

Whenever I’m packing for a trip, I try to go through in my mind what I’ll need for getting ready in the mornings, getting ready for bed and sleeping at night, and all the different types of clothing I’ll need for different situations.  AND I do the same for packing both of my boys’ things.  Next I figure out snacks we can bring and eat on the way.  And then I figure out what things we can should for entertainment on the drive.  If we’re going to the beach, hiking, or biking, I have to think of what additional items I’ll need for those activities.  Whew!  It’s a lot to try to remember!

Do you have trouble remember everything to pack when you go on a trip too?  I’m guessing I’m not the only one!  So, I thought it would be helpful to make a packing checklist you can use the next time you travel.  We can let the checklist do the remembering for us!

Obviously not all of these are needed for every person.  Feel free to print out the list at the bottom of the post, white-out anything you definitely won’t need, and add in anything extra you will need.  When you’re done packing for your adventure, you can check each thing off on your list (I get so much pleasure in checking things off my lists!).

Packing Checklist

1. Toiletries

To save some space when packing your toiletries, you can get refillable travel bottles.  That way you can still use your favorite beauty products and don’t have to get travel size for brands you never use.  When going on vacation, you want to feel as good/better than you would at home.  It’d be awful to get some cheap brand of toiletries and have an allergic reaction to it while you’re away!  Pack your usual things that you need, just in smaller quantities.


    • Body Wash
    • Razor
    • Shaving Cream (Bring it if you use it.  I just use my body wash.)
    • Lotion
    • Deodorant
    • Feminine Products (If you think you might need them, bring a few tampons/pads.  But those are easy things you can always pick up at a gas station when the time comes.)


    • Facial Cleanser
    • Toner
    • Moisturizer
    • Any other serums/cream you use and can’t go without (For me, that would be my grapefruit essential oil.)
    • Makeup


    • Eye Makeup Remover
    • Cotton Balls
    • Extra Pair of Contacts  (I’ve lost a contact on a trip before, and it’s not fun being without one!)
    • Contact Solution
    • Contact Case
    • Glasses

I wear contacts & glasses, but obviously, if you don’t, don’t worry about those!


    • Toothbrush (I have an electric one for home, but take a regular toothbrush on tips to save space and not have to worrying about charging it.)
    • Toothpaste
    • Floss


    • Shampoo
    • Conditioner
    • Brush
    • Comb
    • Heat Protector
    • Hair Spray
    • Dry Shampoo
    • Blow Dryer
    • Straightener
    • Curling Iron
    • Accessories – bobbie pins, clips, hair ties, etc.

If I’m going on a family vacation and my mom and sisters will be there, I try to coordinate with them.  If someone else is bringing a blow dryer, I won’t bring one.  We usually don’t all have to blow dry our hair at the same time!  I usually just bring one of the hair tools.

2. Clothing

The outfits you pack depend on where you’re going, what the weather will be like, and what type of activities you’ll be doing.  Look at the weather for where you’re going ahead of time so you can be prepared.

These are just ideas of what you may need.  We recently went on a two-week vacation to Minnesota and Wisconsin and stayed on a lake for the majority of the time.  We did a lot of bike riding and boating.  So my outfits were not very dressy ones.  I packed mostly casual tops/t-shirts and shorts.


    • Underwear
    • Bras
    • Sports Bras
    • Socks
    • Camisoles
    • Pajamas (I pack one pair for colder nights and one pair for warmer nights.)


    • T-shirts/Tanks for Workouts
    • Casual Tops
    • Dressy Tops
    • Cardigan/Sweatshirt
    • Jacket/Coat


    • Jeans
    • Shorts
    • Pants
    • Skirts
    • Dresses


    • Tennis shoes
    • Sandals
    • Flats
    • Heels/Dress Shoes
    • Boots


    • Scarves
    • Gloves/Mittens
    • Hats
    • Jewelry
    • Watch

When I pack my clothes, I lay out the bottoms I want to wear and then pick out a few shirts to go with each pair of bottoms.  Save some space in your suitcase by planning to wear items more than once.  That doesn’t mean you have to wear exactly the same outfit more than once.  Mix and match your clothing items to keep it interesting.

For each pair of bottoms I packed, I had two shirts that I planned to wear with them.  And then I planned to wear the same shirts with different bottoms as well.  In Wisconsin it got to 85 degrees in the daytime and down to 50 degrees at night.  So I definitely had to have long and short-sleeve options.

Try to be realistic when you’re packing.  If you’re doing mostly adventurous/outdoorsy things, you probably won’t need a dress and heels.  I threw a dress and a romper (not show in this picture) in my bag and never even wore them.  If you know you’re not going to be going to a gym or doing some sort of physical activity while you’re there, it would probably be best to leave out the work out clothes and tennis shoes.

3.  Entertainment

    • Books (for you and and your kids)
    • Water Reveal Books for Kids (for mess-free coloring)
    • Small Toys (We picked up some vintage tin lunchboxes at a flea market on our trip, and the boys used those to keep their little toys in.  Any small container will do though.)
    • Laptop/Tablet
    • Portable DVD Players  (We bought these for our recent road trip, and they were a life saver!  They made for a much more peaceful drive than in the past.)
    • DVDs
    • Chargers for All Devices

4.  Snacks

These are snacks that I normally pack on a road trip.  You can check out my post for more healthy snack ideas.

    • Trail Mix
    • Cookies (gluten-free)
    • Granola
    • Fruit
    • Raw Veggies & Nut Butter
    • Bars (Larabar and Epic)
    • Meat Sticks (Nick’s Sticks)
    • Fruit Snacks (Annie’s)
    • Chocolate! (These are Chocolove.  I got the Ruby flavor because they were buy one, get one free at Sprout’s Farmer’s Market.  However, I did not love it.  It was a little too sweet for my taste.  I’m sticking with my favorite Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate flavor next time.)

5.  Other

    • Medication
    • Supplements
    • Vitamins
    • Essential Oils
    • Sunscreen (Check out my post for safe options.)
    • Insect Repellent
    • Equipment/Toys for hiking, beach, kayaking, or whatever activity you’ll be doing
    • Travel Pillow
    • Blanket

I hope these packing tips and checklist help you prepare for your next adventure!  What else do you always pack when you travel?

Download and Print My Checklist


Watch this video to see how I use my Ultimate Packing Checklist to pack for a trip to the mountains!

The Ultimate Packing Checklist for Your Next Trip
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x