Going on vacation is supposed to be a fun time, but packing can be a nightmare. Space is often limited, due to luggage restrictions or your own personal preferences, and most people end up packing in a rush, making themselves liable to forget something important.

That’s why it’s handy to have a general packing checklist—you won’t have to worry about forgetting something important, so long as you capture all the items on the list (even if you’re pressed for time).

Check out this ultimate packing checklist when you prepare for your next vacation. 

Must-Haves

These items are ones you shouldn’t go on vacation without, even if it’s just for a few days: 

  • Travel documents. Don’t leave the house without your important travel documents. This covers a wide range of possibilities, depending on the type of trip you’re taking. For example, if you’re driving, you’ll need your driver’s license, and if you’re flying, you’ll need a government-issued ID. You’ll need a passport if you’re traveling outside the country, and you may want to print out documents like tickets and reservations—just in case the electronic versions fail on you when you need them.
  • Electronics. Next, you’ll want to remember to take your electronics. These will likely include things like a laptop, a smartphone, a tablet, or maybe a digital camera. For most people, these are modern necessities, and will give you emergency communication, access to your travel plans, and more. Just don’t forget to bring your charging cables, too. You might even want to pack an extra—the last thing you want is to be stuck without a way to charge your iPhone.
  • Clothes. Clothes are another broad category that will vary depending on your lifestyle and where you’re going. Will it be hot there? Cold? Will the temperature vary? Be sure to take more socks and underwear than the number of days you’re staying, but don’t over-pack things like shirts, shorts, pants, skirts, and jackets.
  • Hair products. You’ll also want to bring your hair products, especially if you need to make an impression. The TYME styling iron and similar models are lightweight and especially portable, so they won’t take up much space in your suitcase. You may also want to take products like hairspray or conditioner if you have specific preferences.
  • Dental hygiene. Toothbrushes and toothpaste aren’t expensive, but you don’t want to be caught without them—especially if you have a signature toothbrush, like an Oral B electric model.
  • Sunscreen and makeup. Finally, you’ll want to take along sunscreen and makeup. You need to protect yourself from the sun, and you won’t be happy if you leave your makeup stash at home while you’re living it up on vacation.

Maybes

These are items you may want to include, but they aren’t necessary for everyone (or for all trips): 

  • Special attire. You may need to bring special forms of attire depending on your plans. For example, you might need to bring formalwear if you’re planning on attending a special event, or a swimsuit if you’re going to go swimming. These things are easy to forget, but aren’t always necessary.
  • Entertainment. Depending on your mode of travel, you may want to bring along a separate form of entertainment, such as a book or a portable DVD player. Plane rides and car trips can get boring after a few hours.
  • Personal needs. You may also have personal needs to consider. For example, do you have prescription medications that you need to bring along? Are you bringing any work with you to do during the trip? It’s good to think about these requirements in advance, as everybody will have different needs. 

Other Tips

If you want to make the most of your packing, and minimize stress before your vacation, make sure you follow these tips as well: 

  • Stay minimal. Even if you’re going on an extended trip, it’s not a good idea to pack your suitcases to the brim. Traveling light will save you money on baggage checks, give you less to keep track of, and of course, less to lug around when traveling.
  • Pack in advance. If you can, try to pack several days—or even a week or more—before your trip. The sooner you do it, the more time you’ll have to remember things you may have forgotten, and the less stressed you’ll be.
  • Take extra cash. Even following a checklist, there’s a chance you may forget something important. Bring some extra cash in case you need to buy something new. 

If you follow these tips and keep this checklist accessible, you shouldn’t have any problems packing stress-free—and remembering everything you need to have a successful, relaxing trip.


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