Maybe I’m weird, but I actually enjoy packing for vacation. Anybody else with me? Something about picking out cute outfits, organizing everything together, and making it fit perfectly inside a suitcase……*sigh*. It just does something to me. When Daniel and I first started traveling together, I created a very basic packing list to prepare for the trip. But I never could have guessed that my bare-bones, simple list would turn into my gold-standard template for multiple future vacation packing lists. I’ve used this baby at least 6 times (Jamaica, New York, Wisconsin, Caribbean cruise, Chicago, etc), and it hasn’t failed me yet!
Since the trip we’re going on soon is an Alaskan cruise, there’s a few items that you probably wouldn’t need for other vacation destinations. But this example gives you a good idea of how important it is to be very thorough! Anytime I think about needing something for a trip (like an umbrella or an extra swimsuit), I write it down. It might sound like overkill, but I learned my lesson when I forgot to include “phone charger” on a packing list and had to buy an overpriced one at the airport. I never assume that I’ll remember to pack something, because the closer I get to a trip, the more excited and distracted I’m likely to be.
The framework of my list divides everything I pack into three main categories: outfits, extras, and toiletries. I do this for two reasons. First, it’s easier to make sure I don’t forget things or pack too much of the same thing, and second, it’s easier to find stuff in my suitcase when similar things are packed near each other.
This trip was really hard to plan for, because the weather in Alaska can change at a moment’s notice! We have to pack for potential warm weather, rain, and icy cold temperatures, all in the same suitcase. And I usually over-pack! But I think I’ll do pretty well this time around.
2 fancy dresses for formal nights
5 date night outfits for dinners
8 casual outfits for travel days/excursions
1 pair each of sweatpants and leggings
2 pairs of shorts
2 long-sleeved t-shirts
2 pairs of heels
Steve Madden boots
Travel documents: passport, plane tickets, driver’s license, hotel reservation, cruise boarding pass, cruise luggage tags, cash, insurance cards, credit/debit cards
Electronics: headphones, chargers, power strip for cruise cabin, iPad, phones
Bag of tricks: Tylenol, air freshener, sunscreen, bug spray, anti-wrinkle spray, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, allergy meds, Benadryl cream, aloe vera, cough drops, Chapstick, motion sickness meds, Kleenex, Neosporin, nail clippers
Refillable water bottles
Binoculars (to see wildlife from the ship)
Hammocks (they pack up really small!)
Extra bag for dirty laundry
Deck of cards/magazines/books
Straightener/blow dryer/curling wand
The only thing I didn’t specify in the list is what I put in my plane bag! I typically grab my Osprey daypack and fill it with books, a magazine, my iPad, headphones, chargers, Chapstick, and all my travel docs. Depending on where I’m going, I either use my backpack as a purse or put my purse inside the backpack to use later.
If any of you struggle with packing, I hope this is helpful for you! It will at least give you a good place to start. I’ll share some of the outfits I put together in my next post!
Are you a “plan ahead” kind of packer, or a “throw my whole closet in my suitcase an hour before we leave” kind of packer?
3 thoughts on “Ultimate Packing List”
Going nowhere exciting.
Great list! Can I ask if you used the hammocks at all on the trip? Having trouble thinking of when / where that would be useful. We have them, but hadn’t intended to bring them.
Hi Kely – thank you so much! We didn’t end up using them in Alaska, but we have taken them on Caribbean vacations before and used them a lot on the beach when there were trees. Happy packing!