How To: Writing a Packing List

Paula Rizzo (author of Listful Living) prepares us for summer traveling by giving us tips on how to write an effective packing list.

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

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Traveling is looking more and more possible this summer! That means a comeback of one of my favorite types of lists — the packing list!

Having a great packing list is key to being able to relax on vacation. And it’s especially important if you’re going to be taking your office on the go, which many more people are doing now that they’re working remotely or in a hybrid model. 

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I always make a brand new packing list for every trip. Some people keep a template of items they use often but for me I like to start from scratch and really customize my list.  Having the list helps to make my trip less stressful.

Here’s my packing list making technique:

1. Write an itinerary.

Let’s say we’re going somewhere warm from Friday to Monday. We are arriving late on Friday and then Saturday and Sunday will be carbon copies of each other. Breakfast, Beach, Snack, Lunch, Beach, Snack, Dinner. Fabulous! When you make your list, think of all the activities you might be doing. If you’re museum hopping, you won’t want to forget your camera and comfy shoes.

2. Make categories.

As I start making my packing list, I break it up into sections. Toiletries, clothes, electronics, books & documents, etc. It makes it easier to consider each section separately. This is key for remembering everything you need to take your remote office on the go!

3. Review daily routine.

I run through my morning in my head so I make sure I don’t leave anything behind like floss or deodorant. This is a good technique so you don’t get to your destination without your toothbrush!

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4. Check the weather.

It’s not always 100% accurate – but at least this way I can get a sense of what types of things I might need, like a hat, sunscreen or even an umbrella.

5. Pick outfits.

I find that picking actual outfits instead of just throwing some clothes in the bag will help you from over packing. Go through your closet and pull out the combinations you want to wear – including the shoes. I always pack a pashmina in my carry-on…it can double as a blanket on the plane. Now, you might want to add some extra masks just in case!

6. Make a “last-minute” list.

This list is all the stuff that I’ll need to use the morning before we leave and won’t pack now. I also include reminders to shut the windows, make sure the lights are off, and water the plants.

We’re all out of practice with making packing lists. And you might be making a remote-office-vacation list for the first time ever! That’s why preparation is so important. 

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BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.


Listful Living by Paula Rizzo

Listful Living

A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You

A best-selling author and Emmy-award winning television producer for nearly 20 years, Paula Rizzo produced health, wellness, and lifestyle segments with a range of top experts, including JJ Virgin, Jillian Michaels, and Deepak Chopra. Rizzo brings her experience to this new project. Readers will learn their stress style and strategies for shaping their days in more productive ways. With self-assessments and exercises, this guide will bring readers to better patterns and better, more organized lives.