I’m not the type of traveler that usually has to book a flight and take off at the last minute. Most of my trips are vacation and long weekend trips planned out in advance. Regardless of when I travel and how far in advance I anticipate doing it, having a packing checklist always takes the hassle out of thinking things through, because without one, ultimately there is something you will always forget. I use Excel to keep track of items. Excel is easy to use, you can easily add and delete items, and that way I have a permanent checklist that I don’t have to recreate or think through each time I’m traveling. My checklist has pretty much everything I will need, and as I pack and go through it, if there is an item I know I won’t need (like let’s say, a jacket if I’m traveling into warm weather) then I simply don’t pack it.
Here are the essentials of my packing checklist in no particular order (I left out some obvious ones like clothing for simplicity):
- iPad and charger (plus a book to read)
- Snacks for the flight and the hotel (I’m always hungry)
- Cash and credit cards (depending on my expected spending patterns for the trip)
- Foreign currency if needed
- Two passport photocopies for backup to the original
- Phone and computer power chargers (you’d be surprised), including car charger
- Electric current converter (international trips only)
- Amex Platinum and Priority Pass cards (for airport lounge access)
- Toiletries in zip lock bag (I have a fully equipped bag ready to go at all times)
- Bathing suits
- Undercover drinks (to sneak into cruises). Yes, Johnnie Walker looks a lot like iced tea
- Hotel gift cards or coupons, or anything else I may have that I can use on the stay
- Baseball cap to protect against excessive sunlight
- Pen (needed all the time at the airport)
- GPS with charger (if I’m expecting to rent a car at a place I’m not familiar with)
- Medication (always pack a few extra days) and some over the counter drugs
- Place mail on hold if I’m out for an extended period of time (you can do this online at www.usps.com up to 30 days in advance)
- Trash bag for dirty clothes
- Jacket (living in Miami, this isn’t always needed)
- Label with all my information inside the bag (in case the outside label gets detached)
- Take two pictures of my bag (inside and out) when finished.
When I have tickets for an event, such as a concert, as soon as I buy the tickets I add them to the checklist, although I always try to select the will-call option or print them to PDF and save them on my email to reprint them at my destination if I leave them or lose them.
I also try to have an even smaller version of my carry-on, even if it is a plastic bag, with all the items that I want within reach during the flight, so I don’t have to get up from my seat if I’m in the window seat or if there is turbulence. So I keep snacks, my reading glasses, a book, my iPad and my sunglasses always nearby.
Any items that are important to you while you travel? Any tips? If so, please feel free to share them with everyone. Remember, this is a packing checklist from a guy’s point of view, so ladies, feel free to chime in!