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How to Pack for a Trip

Written by Seana Turner, PO.

Everybody loves the word VACATION! But while being away is great, getting ready to go can be daunting.

Packing can feel like reinventing the wheel! But it doesn’t have to be this way. Below you will find a “basic” packing list. Feel free to copy this list and keep it on your computer. Then, adjust it for your destination, family size & ages, mode of transportation and duration of trip (you can add a number to each item…for example “8” next to underwear for a 7 day vacation). 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 think of items you forgot, write them 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/dressy undergarments (sports underwear if needed)
  • Pajamas, robe
Layer 2
  • Casual clothing - bottoms (shorts, jeans, sweat pants)
  • Casual clothing – tops (short sleeved, long sleeved, rule of thumb is 3 tops per 1 bottom)
  • 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 fops
  • Tennis/golf/fishing/skiing/etc. clothing


  • Sunscreen/Bug spray
  • Baseball cap/Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera & Memory Card* (with labeled charger)
  • iPod*/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
  • A couple empty plastic bags (for wet items)


  • Prescription Medicines*/Vitamins
  • Feminine Protection
  • Hair Bands
  • Contact Lenses & Solution/Glasses
  • Toothpaste & brush/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

Important Items

  • 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 check in with luggage

Bon voyage!

Seana Turner, PO
Seana Turner, PO

Seana Turner is the founder & President of The Seana Method in Darien, CT. The Seana Method is a structured approach to organizing the three aspects of daily life: space, time, and responsibilities. Developed to erase the slate of self recrimination, The Seana Method designs life strategies that result in predictability, flexibility and joy. Vi.. Read more

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