Whether you’re heading out on a weekend getaway or are sketching out plans for a future dream vacation, knowing what to pack 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 a winter weekend trip versus a longer summer road trip, this basic packing list will get you started.
See travel packing checklist pdf
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 along without breaking a sweat.
- Duffle bag: Great for tossing into the trunk on a road trip.
- 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.
- Photo ID
- Cash and credit cards
- Health insurance card
- Travel insurance info
- Itinerary, ticket and reservation info
- Phone and charger
- Water bottle
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.
- T-shirts or tank tops
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Lightweight fleece, sweater or cardigan
- Water-resistant or waterproof jacket with a hood
- Pants, leggings or jeans
- Shorts for warm days or workouts
- A dressy piece: a versatile dress or skirt, or a collared shirt
- Bras, including a sports bra
- Bathing suit
- Nice shoes or boots
- Running or trail shoes
- Flip flops
- Hat or toque
- Scarf or neck gaiter
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:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Soap or body wash
- Razor or shaving kit
- Glasses or contacts and solution
- Hairbrush or comb
- Hair elastics or bobby pins
- Prescription medications
- Feminine hygiene products
- Lip balm
- Basic first aid kit with painkillers, allergy medication, moleskin and adhesive bandages
Handy travel extras
- Quick-dry towel
- Earplugs and eye mask
- Travel pillow
- Hand sanitizer
- Book or e-reader
- Small, collapsible umbrella
- Camera with charger
- Laptop or tablet, if you need one
- Auxiliary cord, if you’re driving
- Journal and pen
- Money belt
- Guidebook, map or travel apps
- Luggage lock
- Canada flag patch
- Duct tape
- Portable power bank
- Insect repellent