The Complete and Only Travel Packing Checklist You’ll Ever Need

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The travel industry continues to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel spending in July 2021 was only 6.5% below 2019’s figures.

This is the perfect time to plan your next adventure. If you’re already in the planning stages of your trip, you’ll need to have a travel packing checklist that you can reference.

It’s an easy way to tell if you have everything you need for your trip. You don’t want to ruin the experience because you forgot a few important items.

Travel in comfort and with peace of mind knowing that you prepared yourself with some of the best smart travel tips. Read on to learn what they are and how to prepare for your trip in uncertain times.

Trip Itinerary

Your trip itinerary maps out where you’ll be on what date. It’s pretty easy to do if you plan to be in one city for the duration of your trip. You can plan a couple of day trips and enjoy the city.

A 10-day road trip is a bit different. You have to know your endpoint and then work your way back to the starting point.

Your itinerary impacts the budget, so you need to have a basic plan before you take the next step.

Too many travelers go on a trip with a list of things they have to do. The list is so long, they’re going to be exhausted and disappointed. Here’s a tip to manage expectations.

Pick out one thing that you want to do each day or in each city. For example, if you’re going to Madrid for a couple of days, the Museo del Prado is at the top of your list. Do that one thing and everything else is a bonus.

Budget and Financials

How much can you spend on your trip? You should try to figure that out in advance. Budget for things like hotel, food, and transportation. Pad your budget a little bit because rates may change before your trip.

Don’t forget to budget for gifts and things you need to pick up beforehand.

Take your total budget and divide it by the number of months before your trip. That’s the amount your want to save each month.

You do have some options if you can’t cover your budget in time.

Should you get a travel loan for your trip? It depends on your financial situation. If you’re a seasonal worker and you need a little cash flow before the busy season, get the loan and pay it back fast.

A travel loan can help you plan and prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime trip, like a honeymoon or anniversary trip. You could use a credit card, but a travel loan has a much lower interest rate.

Compare loans at Plenti and several other providers before you decide on a loan.

Pick the Right Travel Bags

Your travel bags are essential because of money and space. It costs more to bring luggage with you than before. How many bags depends on the length of the trip and your comfort level.

Check out the climate report for your trip. If the weather is usually warm, you can pack lighter clothes. If it’s a mix of everything, then you’re going to bring sweaters, t-shirts, pants, and shorts.

You can stick with a carry-on bag for trips that are about a week long. Anything longer than that, and you’ll want to get a checked luggage bag.

Those that are flying need to check the airline’s luggage requirements. They all have size and weight requirements for checked and carry-on bags.

Airlines will hit you with massive fees if you get to the airport with an oversized or overweight bag. If you think you’re cutting it close, it’s often cheaper to pay luggage fees in advance.

Booking With Uncertainty

This is probably one of the most challenging environments to book travel in. You have to be prepared for just about anything and everything because restrictions change so fast. The European Union just removed American travelers from the safe list.

The best thing you can do is to assume that you are going to change your itinerary. What can you do to prepare?

Book directly with airlines. When you use third-party booking sites, you can’t get a refund directly from the airlines. You have to go through the booking agency you used to book your flight.

They may have their own policies and restrictions around changes and cancellations due to the pandemic. You’re much better off dealing directly with the airlines.

That being said, airlines change their cancellation and change policies frequently. As of now, most airlines only allow free changes on Premium Economy flights and above.

Basic Economy is the cheapest flight you can get. It also costs money to change. That fee is somewhere between $75 and $100.

The only way to get a refund is to book a refundable flight, which is considerably more expensive than Premium Economy.

Keep in mind that when you change your flight, the fee to change is still waived. You still have to pay the difference between the price you booked your original flight and the cost of the new flight.

When you book hotels, you should always book with free cancelation. Most hotels allow you to cancel within a few days before your arrival.

Travel Documents

Look over your travel checklist and start packing about 10 days before you leave. The first thing you want to do is gather your travel documents.

Check the COVID restrictions in your destination. You may need to bring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to get into restaurants or to enter a country.

You’ll need your driver’s license, passport, boarding passes, tickets, and a letter from your doctor that lists your medications.

It’s a good idea to make a couple of copies of these documents. Keep one copy with you, and keep a second copy with a nearby friend or relative. You’ll be covered if you have your belongings stolen or you lose your wallet.

Clothes

Pack your clothes for each day on vacation. Check out your destination and see if there are places to do laundry. This cuts down on the amount of clothes you need to bring.

You’ll want to pack plenty of socks and underwear, casual clothes, sleepwear, comfortable shoes, and belts. Don’t forget to check the weather to see what you’ll really need on your trip.

Your destination might have a ton of activities. Bring a bathing suit, a towel, sunglasses, for the pool, or winter wear for the mountains.

Toiletries

Pack simple travel essentials like your toothpaste, toothbrush, makeup, shaving products, hair care products, and glasses/contact lens care.

A small container of hand sanitizer does come in handy on the road or on the plane.

Technology

If you’re like most people, you can’t live without your phone for more than a day. Get your technology in order and back your bag.

It’s helpful to have your technology in a knapsack and use that as your personal item. Airlines allow one personal item and one carry-on. Storing your tech in your personal item bag ensures things won’t get broken.

Take your phone, tablet, chargers, travel adapters, camera, batteries, USB chargers, and memory cards.

Notify Banks and Secure Travel Insurance

Make sure you contact your bank and credit card company before you leave if you’re traveling abroad. Debit and credit cards have limits on international transactions. The bank will lift these restrictions so you can use your card without issues.

Consider getting travel insurance, especially in the middle of the pandemic. Credit card providers offer some insurance if you book using their cards. Read these policies carefully because they’re limited.

A full travel insurance policy protects you from lost luggage, delays, canceled trips, and missed connections. Some policies give coverage for COVID-19.

You’ll also want to check with your health insurance provider. Find out what kind of health coverage you have when you travel. You’ll need to purchase a small health insurance policy for international travel.

Home Preparation

The final item on your travel planning checklist is to prepare your home before your departure. Make sure the windows are locked, pay your bills in advance, and empty your refrigerator.

You’ll want to unplug your appliances, contact the post office and other delivery services to hold mail and packages.

Make arrangements with someone to stop by your home periodically to make sure everything is fine.

The Best Travel Packing Checklist

What do you need to bring with you on your trip? Your adventurous spirit and a plan. You also need to pack accordingly.

This travel packing checklist gave you all of the smart travel tips you need to make the most of your vacation. Follow the plan and you’ll have an unforgettable trip.

For more helpful travel insights, make sure you check out the other articles on this site.

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