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Tired of Forgetting Stuff at Home? Start Using Travel Checklists

travel packing list, surrounded by travel items like a camera, sun hat, and map
Zdravinjo/Shutterstock

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first rodeo or you’re an experienced globetrotter. Having one or more travel lists to refer to before departure can help you avoid all kinds of mishaps. 

Why You Should Use Travel Lists

Fans of pros-and-cons lists and to-do lists know this: writing things down can help you visualize things and have a clearer idea of what you’re supposed to do. This is particularly useful in situations when you’re feeling anxious, and you have little time at your disposal. 

Preparing for a trip can be just that: highly stressful and with plenty of room for mistakes to be made. With the number of things we’re supposed to do before we leave for the holidays, it’s not uncommon to forget things. It’s not really a problem if you forget an item of clothing or toiletry, or if you didn’t leave an extra house key with your trusted neighbor. But when you forget something like your wallet or an important document, that’s when you hit a crisis. 

Having travel lists is very practical and doesn’t cost a thing. You can customize them however you like, and you can have as many as you need. Think of everything you usually do before you leave the house for a few days at a time and consider writing it all down. From the little tasks you complete around the house before you leave to the things you can’t leave without, you can make multiple lists to save you time and give you peace of mind. It’s an easy and smart way to fast track your travel prepping process. 

How to Customize Your Travel Lists

There’s no right or wrong way of making a travel list. It’s up to you to choose a particular style that suits your preferences and helps you the way you need it. However, there are a few things you can do to make them even more practical. 

Dividing your lists into categories, for instance, can make them more specific and easier to handle. Think of clothing, electronics, and toiletries as the categories for a packing list. Similarly, think of every room of the house and list the things you’d have to do before you leave.

You can also have dedicated lists to the different types of trips you might do, such as work or holidays, summer or winter. Every occasion calls for specific items. 

Creating Your Lists

a suitcase packed with travel essentials
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

There are different ways to bring your lists to life, and it all depends on personal preference. Here are the most practical ways to create them. 

Write Them By Hand

This is the most straightforward and most inexpensive way to make your own creations. All you need is pen and paper, and you can write it any way you like. Whether it’s ticking a box or scratching a whole item as you pack them or complete them, there’s something quite satisfying about doing it by hand.

Use Your Computer

An easy way to save time in the whole list-making process is by typing things up on your computer. There are tons of applications you can use to create lists; however, some are more convenient than others. 

Take Excel, for instance. You can create multiple tables, divide them into categories, and type everything you need to pack and do pre-trip in no time. It’s simple, straightforward and helps you keep it all neat.

You can make your lists and save them for future use, or even print them if you still prefer a more hands-on checklist. To make it even more practical, you can upload the file to a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive. By downloading the respective apps onto your phone or tablet, you can sync the files and have continuous access to your lists. If Excel is not your favorite, you can use Google Sheets instead, which is very similar and already part of the cloud thanks to your Google account.

With this method, you won’t have to worry about throwing away your precious work by mistake or losing it when you need it the most. Having your lists available for reference at all times is very handy and undoubtedly reassuring. Not only that but easy access your files on any device means that you can edit them on the go. 

You can consider your organization skills boosted!

Download Travel Apps

If you’re looking to save even more time with the list-making while also maintaining the same level of utility, why not invest in an app. There are many options available on the market, all able to remind you of the things you need for your trip. Two popular iOS apps are Packing Pro and TripList. Packing Pro lets you customize your lists, sync them and back them up, and even offers an expert list assistant that creates a relevant list based on the details you provide about the trip. Whether it’s a to-do list, a packing list, or a future list you already want to get started on, this app is a free boon for list lovers. TripList offers very similar functions, including cloud sync, backup options, customization, and even multiple users. For Androids, there’s PackPoint, a free packing and planner app for travelers. You can build your own list or let the app do it for you, then save it and use it as many time as you’d like. Quick, simple, and extremely practical.

Use Tailored Websites

Not a big fan of handling lists on your phone’s little screen? Worry not. There are several travel packing and planning related websites that can help you minimize stress and feel more prepared for your trip. PackingEssentials, for instance, creates a packing list specific to your next holiday in just a few clicks. It even takes into consideration the weather by referring to the 16-day weather forecast at the designated destination. PackingListOnline is another free website that can help you create an appropriate packing list for your adventure, taking into account factors such as means of traveling and travel companions. 

For a full pre-trip checklist that includes a packing list as well as a to-do list for the things you can’t forget to do before you leave, TravelersChecklist is the website for you. It even offers travel tips, information, and the chance to print your list to have it with you. 


Travel planning doesn’t have to be stressful. Having a list or two with the things you need to pack or do can easily streamline the whole prepping process, and it can save you time as well as a few headaches along the way. Follow the tips mentioned above, and enjoy a stress-free trip. 

Carla Cometto Carla Cometto
Carla has been writing professionally for five years and blogging for many more. She's worked as a journalist, photographer, and translator. She's also an avid traveler who hopes to inspire a sense of curiosity and adventure in others through her writing. Read Full Bio »

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