Packing up luggage before a trip

Travel checklist

Whether you’re flying across the country for a wedding, road-tripping through wine country, or preparing to backpack around Southeast Asia, packing can be a challenge.

To simplify the process and make sure you don’t forget any essentials, use this handy travel checklist. While you’ll need to pack differently for, say, a weekend in Toronto in December versus a two-week road trip through the Rockies in July, this basic packing list will get you started.

See travel packing checklist pdf

Luggage

To choose the right bag, think about your travel style, where you’re going and how much you plan to bring with you. Your options include:

  • Rolling suitcase: Breeze through airports and down city streets without breaking a sweat.
  • Duffle bag: Great for tossing into the trunk on a road trip, or keeping everything together on a plane.
  • Backpack: Cover rough terrain or climb lots of stairs while distributing the load evenly on your back. Some big packs have detachable daypacks.
  • Messenger bag, small daypack or purse: Keep travel essentials and electronics close for safety and convenience.
Travel carry-on neatly packed for travel

Travel essentials

  • Photo ID
  • Passport
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Health insurance card
  • Travel insurance info
  • Itinerary, ticket and reservation info
  • Travel visa, if required
  • Phone and charger
  • Keys
  • Water bottle (if you’re flying, fill up after security)
  • Sunglasses
  • Snacks

Clothing

Think about how long you’ll be going, the activities you’ll be doing, and the weather forecast to help you decide what to bring. If you’re travelling for longer than a week, plan to do laundry rather than bringing fresh outfits for the whole trip.

Whatever you bring, consider these packing tips:

  • Bring items you can layer instead of one super-warm coat. That way, you can add or remove pieces as you warm up or cool off.
  • Stick to one or two color schemes so everything matches.
  • Roll up socks and stick them in your shoes to save space.
  • Take the time to plan your outfits while you pack. That way, you won’t toss in a bunch of extra clothing “just in case” ­­and never wind up wearing it.
  • Use packing cubes or stuff sacks to organize your gear:

Personal items

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Soap or body wash
  • Deodorant
  • Razor or shaving kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Glasses or contacts and solution (if you’re flying, keep these in your carry-on bag)
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Hair elastics or bobby pins
  • Prescription medications (keep these in your carry-on)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Lip balm
  • Makeup
  • Jewelry
  • Tissues
  • Basic first aid kit with painkillers, allergy medication, moleskin and adhesive bandages
Traveller checking the mirror near a car

Handy travel extras

Travellers napping in the back of a car

Have a great trip!