The Packing Checklist for Stress-Free Travel

Vacation time is precious and travel anxiety is the worst. No matter how much you rack your brain, there's always this voice in the back of your head that says "I feel like I'm forgetting something, but I don't know what it is."

We stay as organized as possible leading up to the trip so that we can enjoy our time off from work 100% stress free. No one can remember everything in their heads, so we rely on our trusted "travel checklists" to keep us in check. Here's a great book we once read on the power of checklists.

You don't want to forget the essentials lest you're forced to pay $15 for a small bottle of shampoo when you're desperate. You also don't want to binge pack, i.e. "I don't know what I will need so I'll just pack everything.

How to Use This List

This checklist is what we have been using for our own trips over the last 4 years. Each time we forget something, we remember to add it to the checklist. This is an essential step to ensuring the checklist stays current. This list is not meant as a comprehensive, one-size-fits-all list for everyone. Add new sections in the list for any additional items that apply to you. 

Did we miss something obvious? Tell us in the comments below!

Frugal Hackers Travel Checklist


  • Undergarments

  • Socks

  • Shorts

  • Jeans

  • Tees/Shirts/Tops/Dresses

  • Rain Jacket / wind breaker + hoodie

  • Laundry bag for dirty clothes

  • Towel

  • Water bottle (empty)

  • Gloves

  • Eye patch/shades for plane/hotel room

  • Flip flops / Sandals

  • Motion sickness pills

  • Flashlight + Headlamp

  • Umbrella

  • Gum

  • Sunglasses (x2) + case

  • Sun hat

  • Priority Pass Travel Card. Helpful info guide here.

  • Wallet with ID + credit card(s) + debit card

  • Home keys


  • Electric toothbrush + charger

  • Regular toothbrush backup

  • Floss

  • Toothpaste

  • Travel deodorant

  • Shaving foam

  • Shaving razor

  • After shave

  • Cologne

  • Travel moisturizer

  • Shampoo + Conditioner

  • Body wash

  • Contact lens solution + case

  • Face Wash

  • Lena Cup

  • Comb / Hair brush

  • Backup pair of glasses and glass cleaner cloth + spray

  • Nail clipper

  • Sunscreen

  • Lip balm


  • Camera/binoculars/tripod

  • Camera lenses (decide which)

  • Camera + camera charger + extra battery

  • Lens Filters: Polarizer + Neutral Density

  • Remote shooter


  • Travel conversion adapters for based on countries of travel

  • Laptop + charger

  • iPhone car stand + iPhone car charger + aux cable

  • Headphones

  • iPad + iPad charger

  • iPhone + charger

  • iPhone battery pack + micro-USB charger

  • Seagate external hard-drive

  • HDMI cable for TV connection

  • Headphone jack (audio) splitter

  • AC adapter to multiple USB charging


  • Passport (for international flights)

  • Driver's License

  • Nexus card (for Canada)

  • Visa/Work Permit approval notice

  • Trip itinerary / boarding passes

  • USD cash + foreign currency cash

  • I-94 printout


  • Water bottle (emptied out)

  • Lights (optional)

  • Biking gloves


  • Water Bladder/CamelBak + 3L of water each

  • Food and snacks - baby carrots, bread, granola bar, chips, almond butter, peanut butter, trail mix, etc

  • Hiking backpack

  • Hat

  • Hiking shoes

  • Hiking poles

  • For Car

    • iPhone Cable

    • Aux Cable

    • iPhone Car Stand

    • Bottle of water

    • Driver's License

    • Car Keys

  • Sunglasses (x2)

  • Compass/Whistle

  • Headlamp/Flashlight (check batteries)

  • Mini first-aid kit (Red)

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Bear spray

  • Bug spray

  • Facial towelettes

  • Small tissue pack

  • If cold:

    • Hoodie/jacket/softshell/windbreaker

    • Gloves

    • Scarf


  • Camping food (Backpackers Pantry from Amazon)

  • Flip flops (if going to be warm)

  • Extra clothes

  • Extra pair of socks

  • Sleeping bag

  • Tent

  • Camping backpack

  • Foam pad x2

  • Water pump + filter

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste

  • Contact lens case + solution

  • Toilet paper roll

  • Plastic cup + cutlery

  • Lighter for campfire

  • Trash Bag

  • Laundry bag

  • Towel (optional)

  • Toiletries bag

Things to do pre-trip

  • Credit Card and Online Banking Travel Notifications

  • Water plants

  • Check mailbox

  • Send out-of-office email to work

  • Download offline maps on phone of target cities

  • Empty out fridge

  • Close all windows and blinds

  • Turn off all lights/stove

  • Take trash out

  • Lock deadbolt

  • Tighten screws on glasses + take eyeglass screwdriver (if longer trip)

Preparing for a vacation can be pretty stressful, but I hope that you find this checklist helpful! Want to save this list? Pin the photo below! 



What are your favorite planning and packing tips and tricks to help travelers enjoy their vacation days stress-free?