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The Vacation Packing List



July 22, 2020

Jul 27, 2023

The Vacation Packing List

You’ve saved to go on a vacation. You’ve booked your house rental or camping site. You’ve taken time off from work. The kids are even excited. But preparing for your family vacation, without a packing list, can leave important items behind or affect your vacation.

Before Packing, Some Security Considerations

Before leaving your home, securing it is crucial to both peace of mind and safety. Your home, regardless of where you go on vacation, will benefit from some consideration as much as your packing list. A few things to prepare before you pack:

  • Clean out your fridge so that you don’t return to a hot mess to disinfect when you’ll be exhausted from the return trip.
  • Create copies of important papers and identity information in case someone in your family loses their ID or bank cards. Or worse, your home experiences an unexpected break-in or natural disaster in your absence. How are you going to recover what you lost? Prove your identity? Or turn in an insurance claim without proof? Even though a vacation is the opposite of an evacuation situation, it’s more crucial than ever to be prepared. At the very least, it’s less work and emotional investment down the line if you have to leave in a hurry; you’ll have a document evacuation file on a USB key, as well as some important copies, in case you don’t have access to a printer.
  • Secure your home while on vacation.
  • Arrange for pet care or plan to bring them with you.

Organizing your Vacation Packing List:

Checking the Weather

Whether you’re vacationing at the beach or in the mountains, check the weather during the time you’re expecting to be gone in order to know what to pack. This way, you’re less likely to overpack and to have appropriate clothing.

  • Download a weather app on your phone so that you don’t have to guess the weather by sticking your finger in the air.
  • Check the weather the week beforehand, the night before, and again the morning of your departure and address your packed luggage accordingly.
  • Even if you’re sure the weather will be stunning, always pack a small umbrella, long pants and a light sweater since nature is unpredictable and can shift quickly, but don’t go overboard and pack more than a basic, back-up outfit.
  • If you’re packing for cold weather, wear your heavy boots and coat to save space in your bags and carry less, especially if you have to worry about kids and keeping them on track.

Choosing the Right Bag to Travel

However, you’ve chosen to travel, pack as little as you can get away with. A hard case rolling suitcase is best for flying since luggage gets tossed about, often violently, risking tears in luggage fabric. Pick luggage sized for how much you’ll bring. Whenever possible, try bringing only one big luggage for the family and separate bookbags or smaller pieces that each family member can carry on their own without assistance.

  • Make sure your luggage has four wheels and is made of lightweight materials for easier hauling. You can also use luggage for long car trips, but don’t bother bringing one camping. Between the uneven terrain and potential mud, you’ll be sorry you did.
  • A trusted, quality backpack for each member of the family may be all that you need if it’s a short enough trip. However, it’s also great to bring a backpack for small, personal items, spare clothes, and toiletries you may need immediately or in case your bigger luggage gets lost or damaged.
  • Or, instead of a backpack, consider a sturdy, quality tote

Ways to Pack

How you pack is as important as what you pack. Using a combination of packing cubes and rolling techniques will help you fit more into your bag or luggage with fewer wrinkles. When planning on what to bring, lay your clothes out on the bed and then reduce by one third or even half if it’s just a short trip. Consider bringing some packets of laundry detergent or a laundry bar so that you can wash delicate items or underwear more often. If your budget allows, hotels sometimes offer laundry services.

Beach Vacation

Make sure your family is stocked in sunscreen (mineral-based is safe for coral reefs and poses fewer carcinogens), lip protection, bug spray, sunglasses and swimsuits. For a beach vacation, consider packing:

  • One beach towel per family member.
  • A hat for each family member to protect the face, ears, and neck, common skin cancer areas.
  • A beach chair if you don’t like hot sand heating you up, a particular consideration for kids and people with lower heat tolerance.
  • Tote bags to carry snacks, books, sunscreen, and any other details.


Knowing what to pack on a camping trip is a particular art form with its own, extensive considerations that will not only keep your family comfortable but safe from fluctuating temperatures, the elements, and lack of infrastructure. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a beginner, a camping packing list will be key to a positive, memorable experience. If you’re a beginner, it might be a good idea to rent some camping equipment rather than investing thousands of dollars in things you might not want to reuse and will take up space.

In general, you should pack as lightly as possible, especially if you’ll be hiking and carrying packs. And you might have to carry an injured family member’s pack or a small child’s if they get too tired. While each pack should have a small survival kit in case you get separated, you should pack versatile clothing.

The clothing you wear camping should wick moisture from your skin. Whether it’s hot, cold, or rains, moisture-wicking fabrics, like some poly-blends, will dry faster and prevent chafing, as well as protect you against the elements. You’ll also need to choose breathable, waterproof, and windproof fabrics. Remember that showers are less likely while camping unless you plan on glamping in an RV or bring a solar shower. Avoid denim and 100% cotton because they hold on to moisture and don’t dry quickly. Layering is a science that can help manage fluctuations in temperature. When camping, focus on function, not fashion, or you could find yourself overheated or hypothermic.  Besides sturdy hiking shoes, make sure to pack:

  • A jacket that’s well insulated.
  • A sweatshirt to the layer beneath the jacket as a middle layer.
  • Appropriate socks for the expected weather, either wool or poly-blends.

Road Trip

When organizing a road trip vacation, pack light because you may not have a lot of trunk space and will need enough room to stretch legs out and be comfortable. Before packing for your road trip, make sure to prepare your car for the long drive.

  • If it’s not built into your vehicle, put a GPS app on your phone to navigate more efficiently since you won’t know the roads
  • Plan frequent breaks, particularly accommodating small children, elderly family members or family members with health considerations.
  • Bring age-appropriate entertainment depending on how many hours you’ll be on the road.
  • Download a music playlist onto your phone since radio stations frequencies change between counties.
  • Bring blankets for naps.

Be prepared for any vacation packing situation with these suggestions from Clothing Shop Online!

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