Vacation and Travel Checklists

For those who have no idea what to do with themselves on vacation, I provide a detailed list of things you can and should consider doing. Topics include: planning your trip, food for thought near the beach or in city life, places to visit during your stay and more!

The “packing list for vacation pdf” is a checklist that has been created to help people prepare for their vacation. It includes all the items that one should pack in order to be prepared for the trip, such as clothing and toiletries.

Vintage 1950s travel family.

The McKay family is set to leave on our yearly family vacation as I write this.

Before leaving on every trip, there are a surprising amount of tasks that must be completed, and I create the same mental checklist of things that must be completed before leaving. But every time, I delay and attempt to jam too many duties into the morning before our vacation, failing to do things and forgetting to pack.

So, inspired by my piece on the importance of checklists, I decided to develop a pre-travel checklist to ensure that all of my ducks were in an order.

Others may find it useful to replicate or remix it for their own travel needs, so I thought I’d share it. I hope you find it helpful, and please feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments section!

Checklist for Leaving on Vacation

A week to 48 hours ahead of time:

  • Put a hold on your mail delivery or have someone else pick it up for you (same goes for any packages that might be coming your way)
  • Place a halt on your newspaper deliveries.
  • Make arrangements for a pet sitter or kennel stay.
  • Pay your bills
  • Check your toiletries, gear, and clothing supplies and replenish as required.
  • Stock up on reading material by purchasing periodicals and books, borrowing books from the library, and downloading books on your Kindle or iPad.
  • If your prescription will run out while you’re away, order and pick up a refill.
  • Inform your friends and family about your vacation plans.
  • Make arrangements for a trip to the airport or book a parking place (assuming your airport is large enough for this — which it isn’t in Tulsa!)

The Previous Day:

  • Remove perishable foods from the fridge, as well as any fruit or vegetables that may spoil while you’re gone.
  • Notify the alarm company that you will be gone for a while.
  • Complete all washing (including bed sheets – there’s nothing like coming home to clean bedding!)
  • Check in for your flight and print your boarding tickets online.
  • Print down driving instructions (you can check them up on your phone, but there are occasions when your digital map of choice isn’t up to par).
  • Make a note of or print out the destination addresses.
  • Check the weather forecast for your destination.
  • Hotel arrangements should be confirmed.
  • Confirm your automobile rental bookings.
  • Make a list of the phone numbers you’ll need and program them into your phone.
  • For yourself and your children, download applications, music, and movies/shows.
  • Construct an email away message.
  • Charge your phone, iPad, or laptop completely.
  • If you need to tip shuttle drivers, skycaps, hotel valets, or others, withdraw cash and swap it for single dollar notes.
  • Call your bank to let them know you’ll be away.
  • Activate the dishwasher.
  • In your luggage and carry-on bag, pack everything (save what you’ll need on travel day).

The Day of Departure:

Note: If you have an early flight, you should do some of these tasks the night before. Simply grab a protein bar and leave the house.


  • After getting ready for the day, pack your dopp kit.
  • Make sure all windows and doors are closed and secured.
  • Make sure there are no food leftovers in the waste disposal.
  • Place the final bag of trash in the trash container.
  • Hand-wash any breakfast dishes you used and put them away (really, protein bars are the way to go)
  • Turn off the lights and set the timer for the lights.
  • Disconnect all electrical devices.
  • Plants in the home should be watered.
  • Set thermostat to away temperature (high 70s in summer, upper 50s in winter — the rule of thumb is 4 degrees cooler than usual).
  • Close the drapes and blinds.
  • Check your baggage and clothes for any loose ammo.
  • Make sure your EDC is TSA-compliant, and stow the prohibited goods that you regularly carry on your person inside your baggage (pocket knife, gun, etc.)
  • Check that your IDs and itinerary are in your carry-on luggage.

Check for things you often use right up until you leave, and then forget:

  • Medicine
  • Sunglasses
  • Wallet
  • Phone

Checklists for Packing Suggestions

Dopp Kit:

  • Shampoo in a travel bottle
  • soap bar of your choice
  • Deodorant
  • Floss, toothbrush, and toothpaste
  • Shaving equipment includes a razor, a brush, and shaving cream.
  • a pair of nail clippers
  • Lip balm
  • Bandages
  • Pins and safety pins
  • Tylenol or aspirin
  • Roller for lint
  • $20 bill
  • Contact lenses (extra pair)
  • Cologne
  • Medications


  • Itinerary
  • Adapter and power cables for smartphones
  • Magazines and books in paperback
  • Tablets/laptops, as well as power cables
  • Driving instructions printed on paper
  • a fresh pair of underpants
  • Pens/pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Headphones
  • Snacks

Bag for a baby or toddler:

  • Diapers
  • Bags for disposing of diapers
  • Wipes
  • Snacks
  • Books (a lot more than you think you’ll need; they’ll devour them quickly)
  • Toys for little children
  • Built-in straw in the bottle/cup (sucking will help pop their ears)
  • Tylenol and/or Benadryl (see here for proper dosing)
  • Headphones for toddlers
  • Downloaded movies and programmes on a tablet

Check read this page for additional advice on traveling with newborns and toddlers.

To get a PDF of these checklists, click here.



The “what to pack for family vacation checklist” is a great way to make sure that you have everything you need when traveling. It is important to check the list before packing so that you don’t forget anything, and you can avoid being unprepared.

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