So you have finally chosen a perfect destination to spend your vacation. You have many ideas of what to do during your vacation. However, have you thought about what to bring?
Without taking time to create a vacation packing list, your perfect and carefree getaway might not end up being so perfect and carefree. It's amazing how simply forgetting insect repellent, sunscreen, and (somehow!) your phone charger can really put a damper things. Who wants to spend time searching for a drugstore while on a dream vacation?
Forgetting just one vital item can quench the excitement of a vacation. It's all too easy to overlook something, especially if you're packing in a hurry. This guide will help you to create an Essential Vacation Packing List to keep your vacation on the right track.
The Absolute Basics
When all else is lost, you can still have a great time with just the bare necessities. First on your vacation packing list should be:
Passports (check they are in date)
Tickets, printed boarding passes or other travel documents
Money, best to take an assortment of large and small bills (smaller bills for tipping)
Don't forget to check the local exchange rate if travelling abroad. When carrying traveller's checks, make sure proof of purchase is separate from the checks themselves. If you're using plastic, note the number to call for 'card lost or stolen abroad' and keep it separate from the card. (Tip: if you're vacationing abroad, let your credit-card company know ahead of departure so they can expect charges from out of the country.) And, if you're carrying cash, divide it and pack it in a couple of different places.
Also, take a copy of your medical insurance details along with phone numbers and contacts in case of emergencies.
Clothes for Vacationing
If you'll be going to a different climate, your Essential Vacation Packing List should include:
For hot destinations - sandals, sun-hats, short sleeved shirts, shorts, sunglasses and don't forget your bathing suit!
For colder climates - warm hats, scarves and gloves, thick socks, light jacket and perhaps a heavier coat.
In mild or even hot locations, you may also consider a small umbrella, lightweight raincoat, and water resistant shoes. Check online to find out what the weather's like at your destination. That's also a good opportunity to find out about the local dress code, including what to wear if you decide to visit sacred sites such as cathedrals, mosques, or temples. (Have you made a list of the local attractions yet?)
Only take items that will not break your heart if they are lost. As for your costly or treasured accessories, including wristwatches... leave them behind in safety. In the case of engagement or wedding rings, if you take them off for an activity, don't forget to put back on afterwards.
Toiletries, Medication, etc
Don't forget hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes on your Essential Vacation Packing List. You also might want your own shampoo, conditioner, shower-gel and lotions, rather than relying on local brands.
Small towels, facecloths, and robes may be a good idea. Will you need separate beach-towels? How about razors, toothbrush, mouthwash, and dental floss? (Consider buying these new, just for the vacation.) And don't forget the insect repellent. You may want to buy or create a travellers' first-aid kit including:
Band-aids (various shapes and sizes)
Rehydration salts (really)
Include any medications (like Advil) or other pills you usually take. UV protection and after-sun lotion are musts for sunny vacationing. If you're skiing, you'll need them just as much as if you're in the desert.
Remember, in-flight security may require you to pack liquids, gels, pastes, etc. in your hold luggage (3oz or less).
If you are taking phones, cameras, laptops, or MP3 players, your Essential Vacation Packing List should include the necessary peripherals such as chargers, headphones, memory cards, batteries and necessary cables. Check with your cell phone company before you leave regarding coverage (and call-rates) at your destination. Don't forget to pack at least one universal electrical adapter if your destination has differently-configured sockets and plugs (your hotel will usually have this information).
Reading, Writing, & Entertainment
A notepad and pens are very useful, especially if travelling out of the country as you will have to complete documentation aboard the flight to your destination; and how about in-flight reading or games? If you plan to send postcards, make sure you have addresses for the recipients. You will need a valid drivers' license if you want to rent a car. Finally, if you're travelling in non-English-speaking areas, pack a phrasebook; it's good manners to attempt 'Please' and 'Thank you' in the local tongue!
Also, don't forget to check the Visitor's Bureau of the area you are going to visit. Most cities have an online Visitor's Bureau that will provide specific information about the area.