I’m the type of person that, when we go on trips, I want to make sure we have EVERYTHING we’ll need.  Often times, that means I end up OVER packing.  I like to think that it’s better to pack too much than forget something that we really needed.  I’m trying to get better though at just packing the ESSENTIALS and not overdoing it.  So a packing checklist for travel is definitely needed to keep me on track!

Whenever I’m packing for a trip, I try to go through in my mind what I’ll need for getting ready in the mornings, getting ready for bed and sleeping at night, and all the different types of clothing I’ll need for different situations.  AND I do the same for packing my kids’ things.  Next I figure out snacks we can bring and eat on the way.  And then I figure out what things we need (or WANT, really!) for entertainment on the drive.  If we’re going to the beach, hiking, or biking, I have to think of what additional items I’ll need for those activities.  Whew!  It’s a lot to try to remember!

Do you have trouble remembering everything to pack when you go on a trip too?  I’m guessing I’m not the only one!  So, I thought it would be helpful to make a packing checklist you can use the next time you travel.  We can let the checklist do the remembering for us!

Obviously, not all of these are needed for everyone.  Feel free to print out the packing checklist for travel at the bottom of the post, cross off or white-out anything you definitely won’t need, and add in anything extra you will need.  I also have a blank one you can fill in as needed.  As you’re packing for your adventure, you can check each thing off on your list (Do you get pleasure like I do in checking things off your lists?) and rest assured knowing that you’re well prepared!

packing checklist for travel

Packing Checklist for Travel

1. Toiletries

To save some space when packing your toiletries, get refillable travel bottles! They’re the best!  Then you can still use your favorite beauty products and don’t have to settle for brands you never use.  When going on vacation, you want to feel as good/better than you would at home.  It’d be awful to get some cheap brand of toiletries and have an allergic reaction to them while you’re away!  Or you might experience that they just don’t work as well as your normal shampoo, body wash, face wash, etc.  Pack your usual things that you need, just in smaller quantities.

portable bottles for toiletries when traveling

Here’s some toiletries to remember:


    • Body Wash
    • Razor
    • Shaving Cream (Bring it if you use it.  I just use my body wash.)
    • Lotion
    • Deodorant
    • Feminine Products (Bring a few tampons, pads, or your menstral cup just in case.  Or if you’re pretty sure the time will come while you’re on vacation, bring more than a few.)


    • Facial Cleanser – check out my favorite clean beauty products here!  I take some of these with me whenever I travel!
    • Toner
    • Moisturizer
    • Any other serums/cream you use and can’t go without (For me, that would be my grapefruit essential oil.)
    • Makeup


    • Eye Makeup Remover
    • Cotton Balls
    • Extra Pair of Contacts  (I’ve lost a contact on a trip before, and it’s not fun being without one!)
    • Contact Solution
    • Contact Case
    • Glasses

I wear contacts & glasses, but obviously, if you don’t, don’t worry about those!


    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Floss


    • Shampoo
    • Conditioner
    • Brush
    • Comb
    • Heat Protector
    • Hair Spray
    • Dry Shampoo
    • Blow Dryer
    • Straightener
    • Curling Iron
    • Accessories – bobbie pins, clips, hair ties, etc.

If I’m going on a family vacation and my mom and sisters will be there, I try to coordinate with them.  If someone else is bringing a blow dryer, I won’t bring one.  We usually don’t all have to blow dry our hair at the same time!  I usually just bring one of the hair tools.

Watch this video to see how I use my Ultimate Packing Checklist to pack for a trip to the mountains!

2. Clothing

The outfits you pack depend on where you’re going, what the weather will be like, and what type of activities you’ll be doing.  Look at the weather for where you’re going ahead of time so you can be prepared.

These are just ideas of what you may need.  We recently went on a two-week vacation to Minnesota and Wisconsin and stayed on a lake for the majority of the time.  We did a lot of bike riding and boating.  So my outfits were not very dressy ones.  I packed mostly casual tops/t-shirts and shorts.

packing clothes for travel


    • Underwear
    • Bras
    • Sports Bras
    • Socks
    • Camisoles
    • Pajamas (I pack one pair for colder nights and one pair for warmer nights.)


    • T-shirts/Tanks for Workouts
    • Casual Tops
    • Dressy Tops
    • Cardigan/Sweatshirt
    • Jacket/Coat


    • Jeans
    • Shorts
    • Pants
    • Skirts
    • Dresses


    • Tennis shoes
    • Sandals
    • Flats
    • Heels/Dress Shoes
    • Boots


    • Scarves
    • Gloves/Mittens
    • Hats
    • Jewelry
    • Watch

When I pack my clothes, I lay out the bottoms I want to wear and then pick out a few shirts to go with each pair of bottoms.  Save some space in your suitcase by planning to wear items more than once, especially if the place you’re going will have a washer and dryer.  That doesn’t mean you have to wear exactly the same outfit more than once.  Mix and match your clothing items to keep it interesting.

For each pair of bottoms I packed, I had two shirts that I planned to wear with them.  And then I planned to wear the same shirts with different bottoms as well.  In Wisconsin it got to 85 degrees in the daytime and down to 50 degrees at night.  So I definitely had to have both long and short-sleeve options.

Try to be realistic when you’re packing.  If you’re doing mostly adventurous/outdoorsy things, you probably won’t need a dress and heels.  I threw a dress and a romper (not show in this picture) in my bag and never even wore them.  If you know you’re not going to be going to a gym or doing some sort of physical activity while you’re there, it would be best to leave out the work out clothes and tennis shoes.

packing clothes for travel

3.  Entertainment

    • Books (for you and and your kids)
    • Water Reveal Books for Kids (for mess-free coloring)packing activities for kids for travel
    • Small Toys (We picked up some vintage tin lunchboxes at a flea market on our trip, and the boys used those to keep their little toys in.  Any small container will do though.)
    • Laptop/Tablet
    • Portable DVD Players  (We bought these for our recent road trip, and they were a life saver!  They made for a much more peaceful drive than in the past.).   Or bring an iPad with some movies/TV shows download onto them.packing checklist for travel DVD players
    • DVDs
    • Chargers for All Devices

4.  Snacks

These are snacks that I normally pack on a road trip.  You can check out my post for more healthy snack ideas.

packing snacks for road trip

    • Trail Mix
    • Gluten-free Cookies
    • Granola
    • Fruit
    • Raw Veggies & Nut Butter
    • Bars (Larabar and Epic are our favorites!)
    • Meat Sticks (We love Nick’s Sticks!)
    • Fruit Snacks (I don’t buy these often, but sometimes I do for easy road trip snacks.  Annie’s are probably the best, cleanest option)
    • Chocolate! (These are Chocolove.  I got the Ruby flavor because they were buy one, get one free at Sprout’s Farmer’s Market.  However, I did not love it.  It was a little too sweet for my taste.  I’m sticking with my favorite Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate flavor next time.)

packing snacks for road trip

5.  Other

    • Medication
    • Supplements
    • Vitamins
    • Essential Oils
    • Sunscreen (Check out my post for safe, non-toxic options.)
    • Insect Repellent
    • Equipment/Toys for hiking, beach, kayaking, or whatever activity you’ll be doing
    • Travel Pillow
    • Blanket

packing checklist for travel

I hope these packing tips and checklist help you prepare for your next adventure!  What else do you always pack when you travel?

Download and Print the Ultimate Packing Checklist for Travel  or customize your own here.

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