We are leaving for a trip to Spain and Portugal soon, so that means I am trying to get a handle on what each member of my family needs me to bring for them. [Note: When we go to visit grandparents across the state, the kids can pack themselves. When we go across the ocean, I’m in charge.]
I’ve been working from the same basic packing list for years. I use it for every trip and modify as the need arises. I’ve prettied it up, though, and created a printable that you can download to use for your family. The list is broken up by category, so that it is easier to see with a brief glance where I still need to gather items to pack. I also have five tick boxes next to most items so that I can think about each family member individually. (Yes, we only have four people in our family, but I thought families with more kids might also like to use a packing list.)
Here are the categories I pack for trips:
- Clothes – These are so obvious, but I do want to point out that I include “Dressy Clothes” in case we go to church or the theater and “Workout Clothes” because if I pack them, we can use them.
- Toiletries – Once again, these are pretty obvious. But, if I don’t write them down, I will forget. Every time.
- First Aid – I have a friend who is that mom. She always has everything anyone would need in a bag she carries everywhere – band-aids, mints, Tylenol, granola bars. She is practically Mary Poppins. Y’all, I am not that mom. I need to be reminded that my family members may feel ill or need to blow their nose. That’s why I have a checklist.
- Technology – Our little family of four is completely wired. Between the cameras and computer that Matt brings everywhere to the devices that the kids can’t live without, we live a tech-filled life. When we travel internationally, we need to plug all of our items in, so I included plug converters on my list. I also included “Books” because, even though they aren’t technology, everyone should have one on every trip.
- Accessories – For the first five years of our marriage, every time we would leave town, I would forget to pack Matt a belt. Lists are the best.
- Documents – If you are traveling by air, adults need photo identification, and it’s a good idea to have your child’s birth certificate. If you are traveling internationally, everyone needs passports. Of course you need your tickets and any pertinent information for your trip. Additionally, having a copy of your medical insurance is recommended.
I also have a place to write the number of days that I need to think about along with the high and low temperatures we will encounter.
I hope these tips help you as you pack for your next trip. Feel free to download the packing list that I use. As you can see from the picture above, mine is laminated and I use a dry erase marker to check things off as I pack them in a suitcase.
What’s the most inconvenient thing you’ve ever forgotten to pack? Let us know in the comments.