Today I thought I would share with you my packing list for a summer trip to Europe. I suggest you copy this list into Word and save it on your desktop. You will find that you can adapt it for different trips. A camping, cruise or winter packing list would be very different from this one. Each time you make a new list by altering this basic list - save it with a name that identifies it, such as "Cruise Packing List." This method will make your life a LOT easier each time you travel, as you will use these lists over and over.
When it is time to pack, print this list for EVERY person that is going on the trip - and hand each person a copy. It is their responsibility to pack everything on the list, and to fit it all into one suitcase (or you can highlight just the items they are to pack if certain things don't apply to them). Ask each person to check off each item as they pack it. That way, your kids can pack for themselves, and you can just check the list, instead of the suitcase.
Ok, here we go. Items highlighted on the list will be explained further below.
Accordion folder with all reservations
Medical insurance cards
ATM & credit cards (notify both of your whereabouts ahead of time)
Extra pair of contacts
iPad (pre-loaded with movies to watch)
DSLR Camera + bag
Any jewelry that has value
Light rain jacket
Panties – one for each day + 2
Bras – 2-3 per week
One light cardigan
Pajamas – wear each 3 times
One pair of ballet flats
Cross body purse
Extra memory cards
DSLR camera charger
Car charger for iPhone (only if you are renting a car)
Cable to listen to iPhone in car (only if you are renting a car)
Mini curling iron
Hanging toiletry bag
Feminine hygiene products
Collapsible water bottles
Ziploc bags – various sizes
Easy, right? Now, A bit more detail on the highlighted items:
Folder with all reservations: The easiest way to stay organized is to print EVERYTHING -- all flight, car, hotel, dinner reservations, directions, maps, etc. and put it into an accordion folder, with each day being assigned its own pocket. Label each pocket: Day one/Paris, Day Two/Normandy, etc. Tear out each section of a guidebook and put it in the right folder. So if you have a guidebook about France -- you aren't going to need the entire book. Just tear out the 15 pages on Paris and the 5 pages on Normandy -- staple them, and put them in their folder in your accordion binder. Then pop this folder into your carry on suitcase and everything will be at your finger tips for the entire trip.
Highlighters: I like to re-read my travel guidebook each night before I visit a new place, and highlight things I hadn't noticed before, and want to see the next day. Highlighters also come in handy for maps.
Day dresses: In Europe, women must have shoulders and knees covered to enter a church. To make life much easier on us, I pre-select dresses that have short sleeves (instead of no-sleeves) and hit below the knee. I also find it is easier to pack casual dresses instead of shorts outfits -- one item instead of 2! They take up more space, are more comfortable, and look better!
Light scarf: Picture those big square pashminas they sell for $10 in the mall. This scarf will be your savior in Europe. If you don't have covered knees, you can wrap it around your waist to enter a church. You can lay it down for an impromptu picnic. You can use it as a blanket on the plane. The uses are endless!
Hanging toiletry bag: Bathrooms are TINY in Europe. Without counter space, you will want a bag with a hanger that you can easily hang on a hook or towel rack.
Turkish towels: You can buy these on eBay for about $20. They are very light and thin, but super absorbent and dry quickly. So if you want to hit the beach and don't have hotel towels, these are a life saver, and hardly take up any valuable suitcase space.
Ziploc bags: Again -- endless uses! Use them to store all the treasures your kids pick up along the way (sea glass, if you are like us!), hold your receipts, transport wet bathing suits, wrap up unfinished snacks, etc. You will wish you had brought more!
I hope that helped! Enjoy!
J & M