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Vacation Packing: What’s In (or not in!) Your Suitcase?

Vacations are a time to relax, renew and enjoy life, right? Try telling yourself that while you are madly packing the night before! I mean, who hasn’t run around at the last minute like a crazy person hoping you remember everything and still leaving the house the next day with the nagging suspicion that you forgot something important (and finding out all too soon that you did)!

No one wants to spend part of their precious vacation bouncing around from store to store replacing things they meant to bring with them. We can all recount experiences like that…perhaps it’s your favorite sandals for walking or going to the beach, the only sunscreen that won’t irritate your skin, your sunglasses, or your evening clutch so you don’t have to carry your big black tote bag with you everywhere. Aggravating doesn’t even begin to describe it!

Each time this happens you vow that the next time you’ll make a packing list so you can check things off as you pack them thereby reducing the chance of leaving some important detail out. But, once you’re back from vacation the urgency is gone, and it doesn’t return until the next trip. Somehow the list never gets made.

If this sounds familiar, I can help. Years ago I made this packing list (because I’m a Virgo and mildly obsessive about things, and because I cannot stand feeling stressed the night before my vacation begins). I never pack without it!

Use it as a guide and personalize it for the next time you travel. It will make your life easier, your packing more efficient, and your departure worry-free!

Have a great summer and happy vacationing!


  • Underwear
  • Shoes
  • Nightgown
  • Robe
  • Slippers
  • Socks/Stockings
  • Dressy clothing (if needed (we often overlook this))
  • Belts
  • Jewelry/Accessories
  • Handbags (evening, casual)
  • Foldable/Reusable Tote
  • Wrap or Sweater
  • Hair Brush/Comb
  • Hair dryer (if staying at a B&B that doesn’t have them)
  • Haircare products
  • Small manicure set (or at least nail file and clippers)
  • Bandaids
  • Babywipes (keep them in your carry on)
  • Toothbrush & floss
  • Deodorant
  • Nail Polish for touch ups
  • Makeup
  • Skincare
  • Perfume
  • Tampons & Pads
  • Vitamins & Prescriptions
  • Camera (for those who don’t have one in their phone)
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Bathing Suit
  • Bathing Suit Cover-up
  • Gift (if staying with friends)
  • Dirty Laundry Bag
  • Exercise Clothing
  • Sneakers & Socks
  • Computer
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • Nightlight (if staying in a dark hotel!)
  • Ear plugs (if staying in a noisy hotel!)
  • Small umbrella
  • Airline/Train Tickets/Itinerary
  • Directions to where you’re going
  • Passport (remember to check expiration date!)
  • Plug adapters if traveling overseas
  • Mp3 player
  • Books to Read
  • Neck Pillow
  • Snacks for plane
  • Stain remover (I love Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap)
  • Tea bags (if you have a favorite green tea or herbal that you can’t find everywhere)
  • Kids’ Stuff (not my area of expertise, so you’re on your own here)


  • Lower Heat/AC
  • Set security lighting – lights on timers, etc.
  • Unplug toaster oven, stereo, computer and TV
  • Note to petsitter
  • If going for an extended period, turn down the temperature on your water heater
  • Consider turning off your water if you are going away for an extended time (or at least water to washing machine & ice maker (if you have one))
  • Stop mail/newspaper if necessary
  • Be sure a neighbor has a key just in case
  • Remember to arm your house alarm if you have one

Traveling Without the Wrinkles

Do you ever wonder if it’s possible to travel wrinkle free? The answer is an absolute yes! One quick helpful tip. Save your dry cleaner bags. Store them in your suitcase so they are handy when you need them.

On my recent trip to NYC, I had to bring a jacket and a cocktail dress. I had no interest in ironing once I was there so I took a dry cleaner bag and laid it across my suitcase (letting it dangle out over the end). Then I laid my dress on the bag, letting it flow outside the suitcase on top of the bag. I placed another dry cleaner bag over the top of the dress and neatly folded my jacket on top of that bag. I finished with a bag on top of that. Then, I reached underneath all the bags and neatly folded them (all together) into the suitcase.

The bags create air pockets so the clothes are not squished, and they all arrived wrinkle-free in NYC. I even put things on top of the clothes, and they still didn’t wrinkle. Yay!

I hope your travels are safe, fun and have as few wrinkles as possible!

To download a printable version of Ginger’s Packing Checklist, click here.

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing your personal experience about the packing. I love travel so much but hates only one thing about traveling and that is packing. I always prefer to travel light as possible. Good share..!!!!!ncheap tickets online

  2. Thanks for the packing list.u00a0 I’m flying to Australia next month and haven’t flown anywhere for over 5 years.u00a0 I need to bring casual clothes for day and semi-dressy clothes for most evenings, as well as all the other stuff.u00a0 I hadn’t made my list yet so I am glad to have a starting place!

  3. Hi,nThanks for all your ideas and advice. I am really glad to read this post and I feel that this is u00a0a very nice and useful blog and many people would be highly benefited from it.n:)n_________nshipping boxes

  4. Vacations are necessary for refreshness of your mind and body. But while doing travel did you always remember that what to take with you.u00a0 This article is very useful while doing packing during your traveling. I will always forget something while my packing.u00a0 But nowu00a0 I willu00a0 keep all the points in my mind so that i will remember everything during my packing.

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Ginger Burr is a fashion stylist and personal shopper serving clients worldwide from metro Boston.