Some people swear by packing lists, but the idea of them might be intimidating to others. It all depends on what works for you of course, but you can make packing lists work in your favor. Let’s take a look at some of the different kinds of packing lists and how you might consider using them.

Should you have one master packing list or multiple lists?

One thing to think about is if you would benefit from using a single, master packing list or if a packing list for each type of trip would be better.

A master list would have every possible thing you could pack for any kind of trip on it. For example, it would list beach towels and beach chairs and if you were heading on a ski trip, you would just cross those items off for this trip.

On the other hand, you could have several different types of lists — one for each kind of trip. So, you could have a packing list for beach trips and a packing list for ski trips. Maybe you could have a list for vacation-type trips and a list for business-related trips. There are also trips you take alone, with friends, or with family. All of these trips require different things in your suitcase.

Having a list for each type of trip is a good idea, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the thought that you are missing items that are on another list.

Using shared packing lists for group trips

If you’re heading on a trip with a group, not everybody needs to bring every single thing. This is where utilizing a shared packing list can be beneficial.

You can use Google Docs or Evernote to share a single document that shows what each person is bringing. You can also use Signup Genius or something similar and create a master list of what needs to get packed and people in the group will sign up to bring it.

Maybe one person is responsible for food, while another brings towels and sunscreen for the group. You can also use these shared documents to house important information related to your trip, such as directions, addresses and even keyless entry codes.

Consider the list format

Now that you have some ideas for packing lists, what format will the list take? Will it be a digital file on your computer or in the Notes app on your phone?

Will you print it and check off each item as you pack? Choose a format that will work best for you.

How to Get Started

If you have searched online for a sample packing list, it’s easy to get obsessed with finding the perfect one. It’s best to just start with a simple one and then add items to it as you think of them or as you are packing.

Use your next trip as your packing list trial run. Then, when the trip is over, go back to your list and give it an audit. Add things you wish you would have had and remove things you did not end up using.

If you get into the habit of evaluating your list after every trip, it will become more and more useful to you. This is especially important as things in your life change. For example, maybe now you wear contacts, but in a year you get Lasik and no longer need to pack contact solution! Or in this crazy time we are living in now, adding “masks” to the list is necessary!

So, consider what type of list will work best for the next trip you’re taking. Then, use a simple list to get started. Finally, customize the list to fit your needs.

Download our master packing list to get things going!

If you have specific questions about this, I’d love to address them. Please leave a comment or send me an email at: