The Ultimate Printable Packing List & Expert Tips

Posted on March 6th, 2024 in Travel Tips

Your trip is booked and now only one mundane task stands between you and an extraordinary vacation: packing. With each destination’s unique climate, terrain, and itinerary, it can feel overwhelming to know what to pack. Whether you’re a first-time traveler or an avid globetrotter, we’ve all been guilty of unpacking at the hotel only to realize that something important was left behind.

Fortunately, we’re here to save you time and headaches. As travel experts of over 50 years, we’ve meticulously compiled a detailed list of every item you should consider packing for your next bucket list trip. We even have a Holiday Traveler Store where you can shop for travel-friendly items. Take advantage of our wealth of knowledge and professional insight so you don’t have to stress over forgetting anything. On top of detailing every item you might need, here are some of our favorite expert packing tips:

1. When considering money…

  • Don’t forget to notify your financial institution(s) that you’ll be traveling.
  • Purchase some pocket money in foreign currency, if traveling abroad.
  • Whether USD or foreign, you will want small amounts for tipping.
    • Note: If you’re traveling with Holiday Vacations, we pay for tipping at all included attractions and meals!

2. If taking prescription medication…

  • It is recommended that medication be clearly labeled to facilitate the screening process. Check with state laws regarding prescription medication labels.
  • If the medication is not in the original bottle, it’s a good idea to have the prescription information from your pharmacist.
  • Bring an extra seven days of all medications, as a precaution.

3. For packing toiletries…

  • Grab a pack of travel-size bottles, like this TSA-approved toiletry bag, to save room in your bag and avoid a liquid mess.
  • Place all liquids, gels, and aerosols in one quart-size bag or the aforementioned toiletry bag. If you’re unsure what needs to be placed in the bag, follow TSA guidelines.
    • Tip: Liquid or gel prescriptions can go in their own designated bag. This will give you more room for other non-prescription liquids in the quart-size bag.

4. When bringing electronics…

  • Don’t forget a charger and extra batteries for each device.
  • If you are traveling internationally, bring international plug adapters.
  • Check out our tips on packing electronics so you’re prepared for TSA.

5. When packing clothing…

  • Reduce discomfort & swelling by bringing your compression socks.
  • Bring a comfortable pair of broken-in walking shoes; don’t bring new shoes.
  • Pack layers and outfits that easily mix & match.
  • Use packing cubes to stay organized and save space in your luggage.
  • Don’t plan an outfit for each day; travelers often re-wear clothing or take advantage of laundry services at accommodations when available.
  • Place the staple essentials that you cannot go without in your carry-on bag, such as any prescription medication or TSA-approved snacks.
  • Consider packing one outfit in your carry-on bag in case your checked bag gets lost. If not an entire outfit, we recommend clean underwear, socks, and a shirt.
  • If you’re traveling with a partner and checking a bag, put half of your clothes in their bag, and vice versa, so if one bag gets lost, you will still have outfits.

6. To get the best sleep…

  • Bring a familiar bed item, such as a pillowcase you like or a small blanket. This can make a big difference if you have trouble sleeping in new places.
  • Download an app that plays calming sounds or stories to help you sleep.
    • Tip: Start listening to the app a week before vacation, so you feel familiar with it before your first night on vacation.
  • Pack a nightlight for added comfort and convenience in hotels because dim lights aren’t always available.
  • Consider bringing a lightweight extension cord if you use a CPAP machine in case there isn’t a plug-in by the head of the bed.
  • Start adjusting your sleep and wake hours a week before your trip if you’re traveling to a destination with a significant time difference. This will help your body get better rest the first couple of nights instead of there being a longer adjustment period.
Now that you know our pro tips, you can view and print the ultimate packing checklist by clicking below.

We hope you find this printable checklist and our expert tips helpful as you pack for your next destination. If you’ve chosen to travel with us, you’ll receive additional tips that are tour specific in your final travel documents. These documents arrive a few weeks prior to your departure and include every detail of your trip so you can travel confidently. You can also view these details on your Guest Portal and Holiday Traveler mobile app. Or, get a jump start by visiting our Travel Planning Hub, which provides information for each destination.

As always, our priority is ensuring every step of your incredible trip is worry-free, from the time you book to the time you return home. Check out more expert travel tips like this in our Holiday Travelers Tips blog series!

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