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!
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!
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.
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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