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The Ultimate Travel Prep List: 83 Crucial Items Travelers Typically Forget To Pack

Ever been on your way to the airport, or even worse, thousands of miles away from home and realize you may have forgot an important item?

You literally think out loud, “Oh no! What if I forgot my (blank)????!!!!”

In your mind, that (blank) you may have forgotten becomes an EPIC blunder! That menacing thought that you didn’t pack it could mean disaster for your trip.

You frantically search through your bags. The odds are 50 / 50 — either you have that all important (blank) or you don’t.

Being that you don’t remember even packing that (blank), or the last place your remember seeing the (blank) was at home on the kitchen counter (for example)… the odds become worse.

After a few seconds of searching through your luggage (even twice through your large checked baggage) the odds become even more worse.

Your heart rate has increased dramatically. Your breathing is shallow. All you can imagine is the embarrassing and disastrous effect not having your (blank) will have on you and your trip as a whole…

THIS is what we call Packer’s Anxiety — that agonizing fear that you have forgotten an important item for your trip.

The thing with packer’s anxiety is this:
Even if you remembered EVERYTHING, packer’s anxiety can and most certainly will creep into your head and do a number on you.

The only way to tackle packer’s anxiety is with a simple, rock-solid system that’s guaranteed to remind you of every particular item you need.

You need a list! And not just any list. You need our…

In this post, we’ve built a master prep list and organized this list into five different groups. This list accomplishes one simple goal: Rid your mind of packer’s anxiety.

For each item we also leave you with sure-fire pro tips to take your travel prep to the next level.

Let’s go over each group and see how to triumph over Packer’s Anxiety:

  1. Assemble These 9 Essential Travel Documents
  2. Conquer Clothes & Accessory Angst
  3. Sure-fire Ways to Organize Your Toiletries
  4. Handle Those Devices Like a Boss
  5. Master the Art of the Carry-On

Ok! Let’s jump right in.

1. Assemble These Essential Travel Documents

Drivers License:

If you are headed somewhere within the United States you only need this document to get on a flight at any airport anywhere in the United States. Don’t take this one for granted, many people forget their license because they assume they have it with them. Double check!

Pro Tip: Make sure the name on your Drivers License matches your flight itinerary EXACTLY! TSA will not let you through if it doesn’t. This mistake will cost you up to $400 in airline change fees and possibly a missed flight.

Boarding Pass:

This may seem like a no-brainer, but… you need your boarding pass to travel. Whether you have a printed boarding pass or the digital version, be sure you have this as far in advance as possible.

Pro Tip: Check-in online with the airline 24 hours before your flight and print your boarding pass out before you ever get to the airport.

Emergency Contact Numbers:

Whether you save them in your phone as Favorites or have them saved in your email (which I’m really not a fan of) make sure you have any emergency contact numbers to assist you while on your trip. This should be provided by your travel adviser.

Pro Tip: Some travelers carry a little black book (like the ones our grandmas carry) with them just in case their phone gets lost or dies.

Passport:

Your passport is essential if you are traveling outside of the country you reside in. If you’re planning to travel internationally and do not have a passport, make sure you apply for yours 4–6 months out from your travel date. It takes a while for passports to get approved and processed.

Pro Tip: Make sure the name on your passport matches the name on your itinerary. Also some countries require your passport to be valid for several months before they allow you into their country.

Hotel Voucher

Be sure you have your Hotel Voucher with reservation number. NEVER plan on just arriving at a hotel, giving them your name and being ushered to your suite. Although this sounds really cool (and it IS when it happens that way).

Pro Tip: Print your itinerary. Always print it out and if there’s any issues all the information pertaining to your trip is at arms reach — Plus it avoids the whole “my phone died” or “I’m not getting a good connection” scenario.

Medication Supply:

Don’t leave your meds. It’s very important that you are able to take your medication. The best way to travel with your medication is to use a pill organizer. You can just take the pills you need for the time you will be away and sort it according to the days of the week.

Pro Tip: Pack your medication with your carry-on. You’ll have it while in transit in case you need it — plus you won’t be stuck out if your luggage is lost or separated from you.

Visa:

Some countries require a VISA to visit their country and some countries require one if you are staying for more than a few weeks.

Pro Tip: When working with a travel agency, never hesitate to ask if you need a VISA for your travel.

Rental Vehicle Voucher:

If you have a rental vehicle I strongly suggest you (I’m sure you can already guess) — print out your voucher.

Pro Tip: This may seem obvious for some, but when you show up to the counter, have your reservation / confirmation number in hand. Having this printed will dramatically speed up everything for you.

Birth Certificate:

Some territories of the US (Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico, etc), cruise lines accept Birth Certificates as a form of identification and proof of citizenship. Many individuals use this method instead of a passport or drivers license when taking cruises. Just make sure ahead of time that this is indeed true for your trip.

Pro Tip: Although many companies accept photocopies of your birth certificate, many others do not. It’s a safer bet to get an official copy way ahead of time.

Excursion Vouchers:

Make me a promise right now. Promise to PRINT YOUR VOUCHERS. This will save you from tremendous headaches in the event excursion companies are having an issue finding your information.

Pro Tip: Many travelers burn-out from traveling because they over do it with excursions. They end up needing a vacation from their vacation. If this is you, schedule one excursion for every 2–3 night’s stay. Take advantage of your hotel / resort amenities that’s included in your stay.

2. Conquer Clothes & Accessory Angst

Underwear:

Underwear is sooooo easy to forget. So don’t put anything in your luggage before putting your favorite underwear or panties in there.

Pro Tip: Pack two pairs for each day you are gone is always a go-to quantity. (Need some for your trip? Check these out)

Socks:

Never go anywhere without socks. Even if you are going to the beach. Those hotel rooms can be cold at night. Pack one pair a day if you want. Here are some cool socks that are fun to travel with.

Pro Tip: Check the weather forecast for where you’re traveling. You may want to double up your socks (or purchase some more cozy socks) in colder climates.

Undershirts / Bras:

These are important too. Pack them in the bag before you load anything else in it to make sure you don’t leave them home.

Pro Tip: Roll these military style to add extra support in your luggage and take up minimum space.

Sleepwear:

Travelers are notorious for not having anything to sleep in on amazing trips (Unless it’s a honeymoon of course or romantic getaway). Sleepwear can be packed along with your underwear.

Pro Tip: Pack at least 1 sleepwear set for every two days you are away.

T-Shirts:

Depending on what type of trip you’re on, t-shirts are THE BEST. They easily roll up and can fit in any bag so you can pack your favorite shirts and save lots of room in your luggage.

Pro Tip: T-shirts can also be used for sleepwear. They take up considerably less space than most sleeping gowns, so you get a double-win here!

Dress shirts:

Have business meetings or a formal event? Try to get the wrinkle free dress shirts if you can help it.

Pro Tip: If you get your shirts dry cleaned beforehand, RESIST the urge to remove the plastic wrapping they came in. The plastic actually reduces wrinkles in a dramatic way!

Casual Shirts:

To keep from ironing try finding some really nice wrinkle free shirts right here if you don’t already own some.

Pro Tip: Shirts easily roll up and can fit in any bag so you can pack your favorite shirts and save lots of room in your luggage.

Jeans:

Although jeans tend to take up space and add additional weight to your luggage, jeans (like t-shirts) are invaluable on trips. You can roll them up and throw them in the luggage and not worry about them getting wrinkled. Pack a pair for every 2 days depending where you are going and what activities you’ll be involved with.

Pro Tip: Pack a pair no matter what climate you’re traveling to. They just come in handy!

Pants:

To keep from ironing, try finding some really nice wrinkle free pants if you don’t already own any.

Pro Tip: Always pack one pair even if you’re going on a casual getaway on the beach. Many clubs and restaurants have strict “no jeans” dress code policies. Don’t get stuck out!

Dresses:

It’s best to pack dresses that are easy to iron or that don’t need an iron at all. Check out these here. You can always use wrinkle free fabrics while traveling and still look amazing. These are the go-to fabrics for travel.

Pro Tools: Most modern resorts & hotels carry steam irons, which can get out any relentless wrinkles.

Sweaters:

Check the weather ahead of time. This may sound like a no brainer, but if it’s cold, pack a sweater or two. Wear your sweater on the flight to save space in your luggage.

Pro Tip: Investing in a good coat is key here. In most cases, a warm coat goes further along than sweaters (unless you’ll be outside in the elements for a prolonged amount of time).

Formal wear:

You will definitely need a garment bag. Find out if your hotel could refer you to a steamer service if you need to get a few wrinkles out. Some hotels even have steamers in their rooms.

Pro Tip: Request your formal garment bag specifically to be hung on the flight in the captain’s closet. Some airlines do this as a courtesy so find out before you travel if your airline allows that.

Swimsuits / Cover Ups

Swimsuits are easy to pack. Just roll them up and throw them in the luggage. Don’t forget your cover up, so you don’t need to sport an unfashionable towel while walking to or from the beach / pool.

Pro Tip: Check your destination’s dress code for swimwear. Some resorts & countries allow for certain types of swimwear.

Coats / Jackets / Rainwear

If you’re traveling to a cold climate, its best to wear your coat on your flight or transport. This will save a ton of space and reduce the weight of your luggage.

Pro Tip: Don’t have a good coat? If you live in a typically warm climate and are traveling to a verrry cold climate, it’s well worth it to purchase your coat when you arrive at your destination. Absolutely, they’ll have a MUCH BETTER coat selection and better prices than a warmer climate.

Hats:

Hats are the hardest things to pack if you don’t have a hat holder. Hats can easily be squashed and if you’re a beach bum and have a hat for every swimsuit, this may pose as a problem for you. Find hats that can bounce back easily if smashed without any issues.

Pro Tips: Wrapping your hair in a cool turban-style wrap is extremely effective in the summer sun and takes up considerably less luggage space.

Gloves:

Gloves can easily go in the pockets of your coat or better yet — in your carry-on bag.

Pro Tip: If you’re planning to play in snow (and/or throw snowballs) gloves are a necessity — unless you want to suffer the agony of near-finger frostbite… your choice.

Scarves:

Scarves are important items that most travelers forget about, unless they already live in cold climates. Forgetting your scarf may cost more than normal (accessories like scarves are priced much higher in tourist zones) or it may cost you a lot (getting sick while travelling is no fun and you could lose the cost of your trip).

Pro Tip: If you’re traveling from a warm climate to a colder climate, put your scarf in your carry-on or personal items. This prevents you from having to dig through your luggage to get that neck of yours warm.

Umbrella:

This is an interesting one. Unless it’s a small umbrella that can fit in a carry-on bag you may run into troubles traveling with it. Check with your airline for the rules on packing umbrellas.

Pro Tip: Umbrellas come a dime-a-dozen (unless you’re in a remote location). No need to carry an umbrella “just in case” it rains. Unless there’s a strong forecast for rain in your destination, purchase them on an as-needed basis.

Laundry Kit:

Who wants to do laundry on vacation? If you HAVE to then most hotels have detergent and washing machines you can use — for a small fee of course. You can save money by hand washing in your bathroom sink. If you foresee the need to do laundry, pack a laundry kit like this or this in your luggage.

Pro Tip: This little gem — Scrubba Wash Bag is a washing machine you can take ANYWHERE. It doesn’t get your hands all wet like the hand washing method. You don’t have to dirty up your sink. And it takes up very little space in your luggage. A MUST HAVE!

Leisure shoes:

Some resorts do not allow you to enter restaurants and entertainment venues with flip flops. Leisure shoes work great with your slacks for a wonderful dining experience but are casual and comfortable enough to enjoy afterwards for walks on the beach, or a night enjoying music and dancing.

Pro Tip: Pack a pair of these if possible just in case. Being caught off guard with resort dress codes can ruin an entire evening.

Hiking / Athletic Shoes:

This pretty much goes without explanation, but for those excursions that may have you in those more active situations, appropriate shoes make the difference between memorable or excruciatingly painful experiences.

Pro Tip: Go for function over fashion here. You need proper ankle support and protection from the elements. In this situation, a solid pair of New Balance crushes a cool looking pair of Jordans any day!

Walking shoes:

Think about what shoes would a person who works on their feet all day would wear — like nurses, doctors, or waiters / waitresses — what shoes would THEY wear? Buy and pack those.

Pro Tip: Again — function over fashion. Bring shoes meant to support your feet. They will thank you at the end of the day.

Dress Shoes:

If you are traveling for an event such as a wedding or formal engagement, make sure you don’t forget these. Put them in a satin sack and stuff them somewhere soft and snug (surrounded by socks and shirts) in your luggage.

Pro Tip: Keep everything sanitary and protect the shoes by wrapping them in plastic grocery bags or even inexpensive disposable shower caps!

Sandals/Flip flops:

Sandals are a must too if you are traveling somewhere with hot sand, rocks are asphalt. I suggest packing 2 or 3 of these since they don’t take up much room in your luggage.

Pro Tips: Some people (ladies) wear shoes on the beach… if this is your preference, just know you’re missing out on the natural “foot pedicure” that you can get (for free) from the sand.

Belts:

Pack your belts with the pants you will need to wear that belt with.

Pro Tip: When going through airport security — try to go without a belt if you can. If you can’t, then purchasing a belt without metal is a cool way to travel.

Ties:

Ties should be packed with your undies so you don’t forget them too. They are easy to leave behind. And if you’re traveling for business, you don’t want to put your professionalism in jeopardy.

Pro Tip: Bringing a tie for every day you are away is a good idea. More ties and less dress shirts make for less luggage.

Jewelry:

Some women use jewelry bags for just what they will wear for the trip and some bring their entire jewelry collection… don’t be the one with the entire jewelry collection. Try to pack something that’s neutral in color and that goes with several outfits so you don’t have to pack too much jewelry. Eyeglass cases are always a great way to keep your jewelry from becoming damaged while traveling.

Pro Tip: If you must bring valuable jewelry, pack your valuable jewelry on board WITH YOU in your carry-on bag(s). Then it’ll be in your possession the entire trip to and from your destination.

Purses:

One purse should be enough, but if you are a fashion guru, then you may have a purse for each outfit. I suggest you pack two that matches several of your outfits to save space.

Pro Tip: Try not to have hand clutches on your travels. Traveling with purses that aren’t hands free is a disastrous recipe. It’s too easy to set the purse down somewhere for a second and forget it — or even worse, it being stolen.

Collapsible Totes:

These are actually great to have at the airport to carry stuff in like snacks and your earbuds and neck pillows.

Pro Tips: Sometimes you can find a great collapsible Tote at the grocery store for $99. These are used for people who want to save the planet from plastic but they are sturdy enough to hold heavy things.

Travel Money Belt:

Travel money belts beat out wallets and purses ANY DAY! They come in many forms and brands — look for RFID blocking to protect your credit cards from hackers, strong but comfortable material and the “seamless-ness” of the money belt so it doesn’t look ugly under your clothes.

Pro Tip: Some money belts come with theft insurance policies in case it gets stolen (not likely to happen) and owner info tags in case it is lost and someone is kind enough to return it.

3. Sure-fire Ways to Organize Your Toiletries

Toothbrush:

A travel toothbrush will be great to bring. Nothing fancy or that cost a lot of money. Leave those toothbrushes at home.

Pro Tip: Keep a travel kit with a toothbrush designated strictly for travel. Store this travel kit away in your luggage case. When it’s time to pack for the next trip, your toothbrush will already be packed and ready to go.

Toothpaste:

Travel size toothpaste is great for your carry-on or personal item. If you want to bring something larger than 4 ounces then put that in your checked bag.

Pro Tip: If you followed the pro tip for your toothbrush, then simply purchase a tube of toothpaste specifically for traveling. Put in your travel kit, which you keep stored in your luggage. Then you’ll never be stuck away from home without toothpaste.

Dental Floss:

Also pack this in your checked back to make sure there’s no security issues.

Pro Tip: You guessed it… “travel kit” the dental floss. Buy dental floss and keep it in your travel kit with your toothbrush and toothpaste.

Soap:

Yes hotels provide those little soap bars but definitely feel free to bring your own and favorite brand new bar soap or liquid soap. Pack those in your checked bag as well so you can get through security faster.

Pro Tip: “Travel kit” it! Get a cheap plastic travel soap box (about $1) and store it away in your travel kit.

Deodorant:

You can put this in your carry-on or checked bag. Just make sure you put some on before leaving the house — j/k.

Pro Tip: (Clapping on each syllable) Trav-el. Kit. It.

Shampoo/conditioner:

If you have that special type of shampoo that only works on your hair then definitely pack that with your checked bag. Shampoo is also available at the hotel and I’ve heard they work really well at most resorts.

Pro Tip: If you prep early enough, you can ask your shampoo company to send you samples of their brand. These sample bottles are small and perfect for travel!

Brush/Comb:

MOST Hotels DO NOT carry these items in their lobby stores. So unless a store is nearby where you are staying you are stuck. So don’t forget your brush and comb and you can keep that in your carry-on too.

Pro Tip: (Drum roll) This belongs in your travel kit.

Hair-styling tools:

Curling irons, flat irons you name it…Needs to be packed in your checked bags.

Pro Tip: Ladies — imagine wearing a hairstyle that doesn’t require all the major hair-styling tools. Experiment with different options WAAAYY before your trip. That way you’ll know the look you want beforehand and know how to maintain it.

Face cleanser:

Some people can’t go days without face cleansers, so definitely make sure it’s in your checked bag. If you can go without it and don’t have bad acne, regular soap and water will do. But don’t forget this.

Pro Tip: Stick to what works here. Don’t try to get fancy with another brand just because you’re going on a trip. You know what works best for your skin. Don’t experiment here.

Face lotion / gel / etc:

Don’t forget it. You should already have a handy carrying case for these items if you do this on a regular basis. Just stuff this item in your checked bag.

Pro Tip: Just as with shampoos, contact your favorite lotion manufacturer and ask for sample bottles. Those bottles by default are travel sized — BIG WIN!

Sunscreen:

Definitely if you are going to a beach or will be outdoors for the most part of your day, you want to make sure you don’t leave this. The gift shops in the airports or hotels will have this item, but will make you pay a pretty penny for it.

Pro Tip: Many sunscreens double as lotion and skin moisturizer. You can get a two-for-one here and save just a little more space in your luggage.

Contact Lenses:

These are easy to remember but the cases and solution is what we leave on our restroom sink back at home. Then we are forced to scramble around looking for someone with an extra kit to hold you over until you find a store. So don’t leave these items. Most hotels don’t have this in their pop up stores in the lobby.

Pro Tip: “Travel kit” a bottle of the solution and a lens case. Problem solved.

Shaving supplies:

Definitely pack this with your checked items. It goes without saying, but shave the night before or the morning of your departure.

Pro Tip: If possible, remove the batteries in any electric shaver. One — it won’t accidentally get turned on in your luggage case, which can cause a HUGE issue with TSA. Two — you won’t have to worry about accidentally turning on during transit and using up precious battery juice.

Makeup & Makeup Remover:

You should have that make up bag already. Just toss it in your carry-on. But keep it to a minimum…. If possible.

Pro Tip: If you have lots of liquid primers, pack them in your checked bag.

Feminine-hygiene products:

This can be in your personal bags or carry-on. Don’t pack lite here. Depending on your destination, your preferred brand and type may not be available. Better safe than sorry.

Pro Tip: Consider planning your trip on non-period weeks. A woman’s “time of the month” is not a mysterious occurrence. It can be predicted and planned around. Give it a shot.

Birth Control:

Just like with medicine, only bring the amount of pills / patches needed. Pack your birth control in your carry-on.

Pro Tip: Birth Control can double as a way to stop or tone down your monthly period. Quit using birth control a month before you travel and resume the month of your trip. The birth control will kick and cause you to skip (or tone down) “that time of the month”.

Nail file:

Definitely will go in your checked bag as well.

Pro Tip: Though it’s very unlikely, TSA may consider nail files as a possible weapon. So don’t pack this in your carry-on.

Tweezers:

A must have for women. Just don’t bring it through airport security…

Pro Tip: Pack in your checked luggage bag.This way TSA won’t give you any problems.

Hand Sanitizer:

If it’s 4 ounces or less your hand sanitizer can go into your carry-on or personal bag.

Pro Tip: If you want to COMPLETELY avoid any TSA issues, just pack your hand sanitizer in your checked bag.

Bandages & First Aid ointment:

Get one of those travel first aid kits and take with you on your trip. Those are really neat and you never know when you’ll need it. Believe it or not, hotels aren’t always equipped with easy access to first aid kits.

Pro Tip: If you’re planning on hiking, any sports related excursions or adventure experiences, you want to make sure not to go cheap on your first aid kit. Invest in the best first aid kits your pockets will allow. Better safe than sorry.

Insect Repellent:

Keep those mosquitoes off your arms and legs. Insect bites can make any trip uncomfortable.

Pro Tip: Don’t worry about travel sized repellents. Make room for the full can. What’s worse next to not having insect repellent at all, is running out… no bueno. Pack in your checked luggage.

Medications:

All prescribed drugs and over the counter medicine fall under this category.

Pro Tip: These stay with you in your carry-on case.

Pain Relievers:

Don’t forget allergy pills and pain relievers. Experienceist zones hike the price up on these simple items.

Pro Tip: These should be packed in your carry-on or personal bag.

Vitamins:

Pack these away in your checked bag. Remember you don’t need to take the whole container of vitamins, just what you need for the days you will be traveling.

Pro Tip: If you are traveling for an extended time, identify a place at your destination to purchase your vitamins when you arrive. Save yourself the carry-on space and the hassle of packing vitamins altogether.

4. Handle Those Devices Like a Boss

Cell Phone:

Many travelers leave their phones at home for safety reasons and use a “burner phone” (a dispensable phone that you can afford to lose if something were to happen to it while traveling). At every opportunity, hook your phone to a charger while in transit to and from your destination. A dead phone battery can be crippling.

Pro Tip: Make sure you install Google Whatsapp so you can make international calls for free. Make sure someone back at home also has Whatsapp installed so you can contact them in case of an emergency.

Laptop:

No way to get around bringing this if you are going to do a little business while away. Just make sure when you leave your hotel room to secure it as good as possible. If it fits, store your laptop in the room safe.

Pro Tip: NEVER pack a laptop inside checked luggage. It is like a custom and tradition for baggage handlers to throw luggage from luggage carts to the conveyor belt — no bueno for your laptop. Carry your laptop with you.

Electronic Chargers:

Pack your chargers in a laptop bag or a separate bag just for electronics. You can claim a laptop bag as a personal item now with most airlines with no additional fees. Check with your airline ahead of time to be sure.

Pro Tip: Shops in airports, hotels and resorts charge absorbent prices for chargers. It’s always cheaper to buy your chargers at home than on the road.

Plug Adapters:

Make sure you don’t need for electrical outlets at your destination. Not every country has the same electrical outlets as yours.

Pro Tip: If you’re unsure if you’ll need power adapters, check here first.

5. Master the Art of the Carry-On

Change of clothes:

If you plan on changing on the flight this can be in your carry-on bag or personal item.

Pro Tip: The need to bring a change of clothes should only be in dire situations. A change of clothes takes up valuable space in your carry-on that could be used for more pertinent items.

Food / Snacks / Gum:

This is where a collapsible tote comes in handy to carry these items.

Pro Tip: Ever feel heavy pressure or “ear blockage” while flying? Chewing gum the entire time you are changing altitudes helps relieve this huge discomfort.

Valuables, such as jewelry:

This is not up for debate. Keep all your valuables with you in your carry-on.

Pro Tip: Packing valuables in your luggage and checking it in is not good enough. What if your luggage is lost or misplaced. This happens quite often in travel — which is why you have to write your information on luggage tags. You’ll be very relieved knowing your valuables were right with you the entire time.

Camera with memory card:

Its best to carry this with you on the plane. It is small and can be claimed as a personal item and not a carry-on. When you leave it at the hotel lock it in the safe.

Pro Tip: Unless you’re taking truly professional photography, just stick to your camera phone. Most camera phones take AMAZING photos & videos. Plus cameras are a dead give-away that you’re a tourist.

Cash:

Should be within reach for sure in-case you want to buy something on site. Travel money belts come in handy here.

Pro Tip: When you get to your destination don’t convert all your cash into another currency. You may not spend it all and it will cost additional cash to convert it back to the dollar of your currency.

Credit / ATM Cards:

This may be a no-brainer. Be sure to bring your cards with you wherever you go (except the pool or beach).

Pro Tip: Notify your credit card company and / or bank that you are leaving the country or state. For “security reasons” banks will put a hold on your transactions while you are away thinking fraud is occuring on your account. This can be embarrassing and a pain, so let them know before you go.

Insurance cards:

If you purchased travel insurance (cancellation insurance) you are usually furnished with a 24 hour toll free number to call in case of emergencies or issues. Print out and bring any of these documents with you.

Pro Tip: Travel insurance may also take care of most of your medical needs while traveling. Check ahead of time to confirm.

Itinerary:

Print out your itinerary and keep it with you until you are checked into your hotel. Having it on your phone is fine, but phone batteries die, connections are lost, all types of crazy things happen RIGHT when you need your itinerary.

Pro Tip: Be proactive and have your itinerary and other documents ready at every juncture of your travel. When entering the airport, pull out your itinerary. Your flight has landed and need to get a ground transfer or rental car, pull out your itinerary. Arrive at the hotel — you guessed it, pull out your itinerary.

Maps / directions:

Sometimes you will need to print this out if someone is NOT picking you up from the airport when you arrive at your destination. We all have those handy dandy siri map apps but what if your phone dies? You want to know where you are going, don’t be too proud to print it out.

Pro Tip: Get to “know your way around” the city / cities you’re traveling to ahead of time via digital maps. Make yourself well familiar with landmarks, freeways and roads so you’re not traveling anywhere blindly.

Guidebook:

A physical book is good. YouTube and the internet will serve you best here. Bookmark your favorite “guidebooks” online and on YouTube.

Pro Tip: Once arriving, if you’re carrying a physical guidebook, keep it out of plane sight. It’s a give-away that you’re a tourist and could attract anyone preying on visitors.

House or Car Keys:

Keep your keys in your carry-on bag. Technically you shouldn’t need them at anytime throughout the trip but they have to go somewhere.

Pro Tip: RESIST the desire to put your keys in your checked in luggage. In the event that your luggage doesn’t arrive back with you in time, you don’t want to be stuck without your keys.

Books or ebooks:

Secure your favorite books or eBook reading device in your carry-on or your personal bags.

Pro Tip: If you need 2 or more books, eBook devices are great investments and huge space savers.

Video / Music Player:

These are needed especially if you are traveling with little ones. Most phones and tablet devices play music and movies.

Pro Tip: Although many flights have wifi on-board and most hotels provide wifi, video streaming services like Netflix or Hulu are usually blocked due to the high amount of data required to stream video. Plan ahead and download any movies you want to watch offline while traveling.

Earbuds / headphones:

Earbuds are soooo easy to forget. In the back of our minds, we know earbuds are usually readily available, so we lax on remembering earbuds… DON’T slack here. Airports and tourist zones charge up to five-times the normal costs for earbuds and headphones.

Pro Tip: Take a second while packing and match all electronic accessories together — match the device with its charger and accessories (i.e. earbuds). Then pack them together. This is a full proof way NOT to leave behind those all important earbuds.

Travel blanket:

Travel blankets are great to bring with you on long flights. For flights 3 hours or less, just bring a light sweater or jacket.

Pro Tip: Some airlines provide blankets. Check with your airline to see if they provide blankets.

Travel Pillow:

Travel pillows now-a-days come in all shapes and forms. Make sure to pack it in your carry-on.

Pro Tip: Don’t blindly go for the expensive travel pillows until you know what style works for you. Experiment FIRST to find what works for you. Then invest in the higher quality version of the travel pillow type that you prefer.

Ear plugs and Eye mask:

If your roommate snores, or if you want to catch up on your sleep during transit, these are great to have — especially if you’re traveling with an early riser (they like to open the curtains every chance they get).

Pro Tip: While there is no danger in using earplugs, some can cause irritation to the ear canals and potentially lead to infection. Disposable earplugs are the best way to combat this.

You made it THIS far?!!!

You should be extremely proud of yourself! Packer’s anxiety is about to be a thing of the past for you!

But guess what? Now that you’ve read through this massive list, you have to put this invaluable information to use.

Some of those items require you to start working on them months before your next trip (like your toiletry samples, passports, maps & directions, etc). Some of them you can get the month of your trip. But all of them need to be in your possession no later than a week before you take off.

Don’t procrastinate here. Remember your goal is to rid yourself of packer’s anxiety. Waiting until the last moment is the SURE way to catch an unhealthy dose of packer’s anxiety.

And though this list maybe a bit intimidating, I’ll bet 95% of the items you need are on this prep list. So revisit this prep list, item for item, and make sure you have everything covered.

We’ve even created a convenient one page list for you called the Dream Travel Checklist. It’s printable and has all the items listed here plus a few more. You can download it here:

So what are you waiting on? Get to preppin’! And get to packin’!

Happy Travels! 🙂

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