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To make packing easy, you need a travel checklist. Not having a packing checklist is like going on a  multi-stop trip without a map. You may get there eventually, but you will waste a lot of time. Why make it hard, when it can be so easy?

 Creating a comprehensive packing list can be daunting. So I’ve made that part easy for you. Go ahead and download the Weir Organized Travel Checklist.xls. This list should be at least 80% similar to a list you would use – so with just a few modifications you can make it yours. If the Weir Organized checklist seems long, note that it includes a lot of items that would be packed for camping, a stay at a rental where you might be cooking or if a baby was one of the travelers. If your travel never includes any of this, your checklist will end up being about half the size. On the other hand, you may want to expand the clothing section with more specifics such as t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, tank tops, dresses instead of “tops” and pants, leggings, shorts, skirts in place of “bottoms.”

 With your vacation a week away, take a seat with a pencil and your travel checklist. Draw only one line of an “X” (such as “\”) on the line next to items that you need to pack for this trip. For items where multiples are needed, such as with clothes, put a number on this line for the amount of each item your travel companions will need. Keep the list handy and add to it during the week when you may realize other things you need to bring. You might want to keep your checklist in the digital form so that it’s easier to edit.

 Notice that the Weir Organized Travel Checklist.xls also includes a “to do” list. This part may be even more important than what to pack, as you can always buy things that you forget. However, if you realize that you forgot to get a pet sitter right before you leave, you’ll be scrambling to avoid missing your flight! Taking care of your finances and commitments ahead of time will help you focus on having fun during your trip. Preparing your house to keep it safe while you are away will also make you feel at ease. Furthermore, drafting at least a rough trip itinerary, as described in the Plan To Have A Dream Vacation blog, will help you fully understand what you need to pack and make your trip more enjoyable.

A day or two before you depart, you should gather all the items on your checklist to a central packing location. To make this go faster, get the whole family involved. Your checklist will make it easy for you to select the number of suitcases and bags you will need. As items get “packed,” check them off the list by completing the “X” next to each item or crossing out the number. We like to pack clothes for a trip on laundry day to save time. Pack any potentially restricted items in checked luggage like sharp objects (nail clippers, tweezers, scissors, pocket knife) and liquids or creams. Conversely, pack prescriptions in carry-on baggage in case something happens to checked luggage. Also, keep items with you that will make your travel both comfortable and safe like a quality sleep mask and money belt.

Using a travel checklist to pack will make you feel prepared and take the stress out of a necessary step towards something that is supposed to be fun: your vacation! Now get packing!