Erica's request to see my packing list gave me the idea of creating a post about it. Veteran travellers likely won't find any new information in it, but it might help out those who don't do a lot of travelling and perhaps feel overwhelmed.
I'm a list maker. Always have been. I tend to forget things. A lot. If something isn't on a list, I'm not likely to remember it. I created my Packing List after getting frustrated too many times about things that were forgotten and not easily purchased at our destination. The list would accompany me on our travels and whenever I thought, "I wish I'd brought _____," I'd write it down.
I started when our kids were little and, as they've grown, the list has evolved. I no longer have to worry about packing diaper rash cream and colouring books.
I'm not going to post my actual list because my wants and needs aren't going to be the same as someone else's. Rather, I'm going to give an outline of it.
Pants, shorts, shirts, socks, jacket, footwear, jammies, undies. Everything you wear. The length of your stay, and whether or not you'll have laundry facilities, will determine how many of each item. When and where you're travelling will determine whether you choose the shorts and tank tops from the list or the toque, mitts and scarf.
All your hair stuff and personal care items. I don't use a curling iron or a flat iron so they're not on my list. If you do, write them down. Even something you use every day, write it down. It's easy to forget a commonly used item when you're busy packing for several people. Moms, you know what I mean. I forgot my deodorant, one time. Who forgets to pack deodorant?!
This is all the medicine stuff you might need. Band-aids, antihistamine, vitamins, cough syrup, anti-diarrheal, anti-nausea, Purell, etc. I put sunscreen and bug spray in this section, as well as my prescription cold sore ointment because, sure as anything, I'm going to pop one while I'm away. Personal wipes are a good thing to have should you get hit with diarrhea. TP starts to feel like sandpaper real quick.
This is pretty much self-explanatory. If you have your own headphones, bring them for on the plane so you don't have to purchase theirs. Don't forget the chargers for your phone, camera, etc.
This is everything else. I have an extension cord on my list because I need one for my blow dryer at one particular destination. Whenever I pack to go to there, my list reminds me that I need to bring it. Any activities you'd like to do...knitting/crocheting, books to read. Ziploc bags and plastic grocery store bags for short term storage of wet items and separating the dirty clothes from the clean ones. I don't like to fold my pants so I bring hangers with clips on them to hang the pants by the hem.
Make a list for each person
For the kids, you can probably just use your master list for clothing. Unless your child has a specific clothing need, like diapers, for instance. Making a separate list for each child, for everything else, ensures that you'll remember each one's specific wants and needs. Susie needs her inhaler and Johnny is happiest when he has his train engine to play with.
The secret to making this list work is to write down absolutely everything that you think you might need and to revise it periodically. Add things as soon as you realize you need something. Delete things you no longer require.
My list has changed a lot over the years, partly because the kids are now grown, and also because Señor B and I are doing more international travelling. Just today, I realized that I didn't have "passport" written down. It's there now. My list is in a plastic page protector and lives inside my suitcase so I don't have to hunt for it each time we go somewhere, last year's loss notwithstanding.
So there you have it. Hopefully someone finds all this useful.