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Free Printable Travel Checklist

Free Printable Travel Checklist- Download yours now

Whenever we’re gearing up for one of our military family travels, my 11-year-old daughter has this cute ritual – she asks me to create a packing list. Then, she diligently packs her bags using it. Surprisingly, this system works out pretty smoothly. So, to help keep our packing organized, I’ve created a handy, free, printable travel checklist, and I want to share it with you! Ready to make packing stress-free? Download your travel checklist once and re-use it for all of your upcoming adventures!

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Why do I need a Travel Checklist?

When the kids were younger, I found that not only did I pack for myself, but I would pack for ALL the kids (and sometimes the dogs!), too. My husband was on his own! I’d have to know every detail of our itinerary and plan outfits based on those activities and the weather. As well, I needed to remember baby monitors, toiletries, sleep machines, and all the various items we needed throughout the time we were traveling. I felt scattered and disorganized when I didn’t write it down. And no wonder- that’s an incredible amount of details to try to keep all in your head! Making a list always helped, and I learned to start creating a list about a week or two out. Viewing our daily itinerary also helped me think through how many outfits or pieces of clothing I should plan for. I’ve included a free daily itinerary page with my free travel checklist to help give a complete view of your travel plans. Download yours here!

Adventuring with the kiddos when they were little
They were so little!

What to Include in your Travel Checklist

Every trip will look a little different, so it’s essential to try and be as detailed as possible in your itinerary. If you are going somewhere you have never been, it’s probably a good idea to pack a few more items just in case. However, if you’re traveling back to see family, you probably have a better idea of what they already have in their homes (chargers, shampoo, hair dryers, etc.). We tried to go as light as possible during our last PCS move from Tampa to Madrid. The picture below shows our luggage for 5 people with a road trip from Tampa to Texas in between. It was a lot of prep and planning, but we had everything we needed (and then some) for two weeks until our Unaccompanied Baggage came!

This was all the 5 of us had for our move from Tampa to Spain!
Everyone had a carry-on, a backpack, and one large suitcase.

How to Use Your Free Printable Travel Checklist

  • Start with your Itinerary
  • List out clothing
  • List out toiletries
  • List out electronics
  • List out all the other odds and ends.
Travel Checklist: list out clothing, accessories, toiletries, etc.
Bonus Page: International Travel checklist to keep you organized interntationally
Vacation Itinerary: List out your vacation to plans to ensure that your packing is inclusive of all of your adventure plans

Start with your Itinerary

My free printable travel checklist has 3 pages for you to download once and reuse as many times as you would like. I suggest starting with the itinerary and then moving on to the checklist. If you are traveling for more than 7 days, feel free to make a copy and then TAKE ME WITH YOU! I’m kidding… kinda. But seriously, you can easily make a digital or physical copy if you need any more space. Try to be as detailed as possible, but leave room for spontaneity! You might get somewhere and find out there’s a fantastic hike you must do. Sometimes, the weather has different ideas, and you must adjust on the fly. But by thinking out your rough plans for the trip, you can plan your clothing, shoes, outerwear, toiletries, and electronics appropriately.

List out clothing

Next, I would move on to the clothing checklist. Try to see what items of clothing you can re-wear in different ways. “Do you really need 6 pairs of jeans for a 3-day trip?” (Direct quote from me to my oldest daughter 😜). What shoes do you need for different activities? Do you have layers in case the weather turns cold or rainy? What undergarments do you need for your different outfits? Do you have a dressier outfit just in case the occasion arises? PRO-Tip: If I know I can do laundry, I normally can cut the amount I am taking in half. Now, the question becomes, Do I WANT to do laundry? Answer: No, never! 😫

Toiletries and Electronics

I like to list out my toiletries in the week leading up to the trip. This helps me to see if there’s anything that I need to buy. I am a fan of travel-size toiletries, but I purchased these refillable travel-size bottles to save some money. I’ve also noticed that here in Europe, they don’t sell many travel-size products, or at least not at our little grocery store. So these are great to have, plus they cut down on plastic waste. In addition to toiletries, I write down what we need in the way of chargers, cords, plugs, etc. As our kids have gotten older, we make them responsible for their devices and chargers, so I’m just thinking through my own devices. I usually travel pretty lightly, but my husband uses this electronics bag to help keep us decluttered and organized.

The Odds and Ends

Every family has the things they need at different stages in their lives. If you have littles or toddlers, there will be a whole assortment of things for feeding, diapering, and sleeping that you will need to consider. For older adults, there may be more considerations for medications or dietary needs. For adventure enthusiasts, you may need special pro-gear or accouterments to make your adventure the best it can be. Take the time to think through and list these things out as you think about them.

How did the Free Printable Travel Checklist work for you?

So, now I have to know. Do you use a travel checklist? How has it worked for you? And definitely, if you use the one I created for you, please let me know how you liked it!

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7 Responses

  1. I love the checklist! It’s great that your daughter wants a list. It is super helpful. It saves me so much time when I have to use the list. I also found that making specific packing lists works for me. I made a customized cruise packing list for when we go on a cruise since there are particular things you need for a trip like that. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Travel and checklists go hand-in-hand. I can’t quite imagine taking a trip without a list. And when you’re responsible for packing for others, it’s even more important. Your lists are terrific!

    When our kids were young, I used to make the list and pack for them. Then we moved onto the stage where I made the list and they ‘pulled’ the items to pack. I’d check it and then pack for them.

    From there we moved to the stage where they made the list, I’d check the list, and they’d pack themselves.

    And finally, I pulled back completely. They independently made their lists and packed without any input from me. One of the tricks I taught them early on was to use packing cubes. That habit stuck.

    1. Yes, I see this progression in my own children! My oldest can pack for herself, my middle can pack but needs reminders, and my youngest definitely needs the list!! I think having them think through the trip is a good skill that they will carry through into adulthood. And we have shown them the ways of the packing cubes as well. They are so handy. My youngest just went to a 4-day camp and said the cubes were great so her stuff was not “exploding” all over the cabin like some of her fellow campers! 🤪 Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

  3. What I find really helpful in this article is your suggestion of working on the itinerary first and THEN the packing list. Different activities call for different things, and knowing your plans can help you decide what to leave at home to help those bags stay under the weight limit airlines like to impose on us travelers.

  4. First, that photo of your family is adorable! What a beautiful family!

    Second, I am with you! I can’t leave the house for more than 24 hours without putting together a packing list. And while I wouldn’t need six pairs of jeans for three days, I do pack heavily. I’ve never gone over the weight limit for a suitcase, but I’ve come close. I’m not adventurous; my goal is to never feel inconvenienced. I spent my first week in Italy trying to find baby powder — it was so hot and humid — and never want to wear something sweaty or wrinkled. (My traveling companion and I have given in and just accepted the fact that we’ll be sending laundry out in Europe, because our tour hotels never have laundry facilities; it’s a luxury, but I’ve learned that a bra washed out in a hotel sink will not be dry by the next morning when it’s 90° outside!)

    Lists rock, and yes, basing it on your itinerary guarantees you won’t forget essentials. The only time I ever failed to create a packing list, I traveled for Thanksgiving and forgot to pack shoes! Sneakers just don’t work with a little black dress! 😉

  5. I love having checklists. They are in an app, and I use different ones, for local or international. I also separate if it’s a hotel or a rental. Like you said, having access to laundry cuts the amount of clothes we’re packing, especially under garments. I also don’t want to do laundry on vacation, but it’s nice to come back home and not having to do it immediately.
    Thanks for all the tips.

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Jana Arevalo- Declutter Coach, The Organized Military Life

Hello! I'm Jana

Hi! I’m Jana! I have been a military spouse for 18 years, and I am experienced when it comes to PCS moves, organizing new spaces, and creating more efficient systems for my family. I understand the feeling of anxiety and overwhelm that can come with clutter, and that’s why I love helping military spouses, busy moms and small business owners declutter and organize their homes, digital lives and paperwork!


I am an Amazon Associate as well as an affiliate with Share-a-Sale and List & File, Military Life Binders. I receive a small commission (at no cost to you!) if you purchase through my links. Thank you!

 

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