Travel Packing Checklist: Tried and True 

Travel Packing ChecklistTravel Packing Checklist

Helpful Travel Packing Checklist | By Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan

With hundreds of trips under our belts, Chris and I have streamlined our packing process with our tried-and-true travel packing tips to make traveling a joy instead of a hassle! 

Pack with ease using our Travel Packing Checklist jam-packed with helpful tips and hacks to organize your suitcase for your upcoming vacation travel!

Regardless of how long we are traveling, I try to initiate the five day rule.  Meaning, we usually have a washer and dryer in the hotel (or have access) where we are staying so I only pack clothing items that I may need for five days (obviously this does not apply to medications and such!). 

I will do a load of laundry around the fifth day if necessary. You can bring a packet of laundry detergent or a pod and a dryer sheet if you like in your luggage. This greatly reduces the amount of items that you need to pack.  I discovered that I generally wear the same things over and over while on vacation, so this works well for me.  

Let's Dig Into theTravel Packing Checklist!

Your Travel Packing Checklist will be subjective to your dressing style, planned events and the type of trip.  I pack as light as possible. Most of our trips are outdoor adventures with the need for 2 to 3 casual to dressy evenings.  Always pack a thin sweater to cover your arms to satisfy dress codes or as a layer of warmth.  

Spring/Summer Items for Your Checked Bag:

  • 3 short sleeve tops (casual to dressy)
  • 4-5 tank tops (casual to dressy)
  • 1 hoodie and/or fleece
  • 2 long sleeve t-shirts, consider SPF shirts
  • Thin pull over or zip Nike style top 
  • Sports top(s)
  • 1 thin or medium weight black button down sweater (wear with dresses or tanks.)
  • 2 dresses (1 dressy and 1 casual)
  • 2 pairs of shorts (plus nylon shorts if water sports are involved)
  • 1 pair capris 
  • 1 sports bra
  • 1 pair of gym shorts
  • 1 pair of yoga pants
  • 1 pair of jeans and belt (wear on plane)
  • Jewelry-inexpensive.  Maybe 2 pairs of earrings and 2 necklaces
  • PJ's
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuit 
  • Swimsuit cover-up
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat or visor
  • SPF lip balm
  • Sandals (black, so they can be worn with the dresses if possible and everyday)
  • Heels (if it is certain they are needed and will be worn)
  • Flip flops
  • Water shoes (if necessary)
  • Hiking boots (you may want to wear these on the plane to save packing space)
  • Athletic shoes

Extras and Technology

  • Cell phone
  • Cell phone charger
  • GoPro
  • Adapters 
  • Camera, lens, lens cleaning kit
  • ID
  • Health Insurance Card
  • IPAD
  • Laptop with cord and mouse
  • Earbuds/headphones

Fall/Winter Items for Your Checked Bag:

  • Hat, gloves, scarf
  • Thick nylon wind-breaker pants
  • 2 sweaters
  • Warm coat-wear onto plane
  • Hoodie

Carry-on Bag:

Check with your airline regulations but we generally fly with Delta.  I have a shoulder bag that zips and a computer bag as I tend to work a bit in the evenings or on a rainy morning while on the road. I always carry on my electronics and camera/lens.  I place my camera in the shoulder bag with a tiny travel purse and sweater. 

Lens' can be slipped into socks to protect them if you don't have a small camera bag.  All electronics and phone chargers are placed into my computer bag. 

Generally I take advantage of long flight times to write my next website post or blog.  I also bring my earbuds so I can catch a show or a movie while flying if I'm not in the mood to write! 

Be sure to pack on your carry-on any medications, inhaler, spare contacts, etc. that you may need in case your checked bag is misplaced for a short time.  

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Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Consumer's Advocate put together a comprehensive guide, titled, Best Travel Insurance Based on In-Depth Reviews that you may find helpful when considering travel insurance.  

Protect your trip with coverage for delays, illness, lost luggage, and even natural disasters—the best travel insurance can soften the impact of unforeseen events.

Toiletries for Your Travel Packing Checklist


  • *Deep Woods Off Towelettes
  • **Shampoo, conditioner and lotion
  • ***Traveler Medic packets
  • Small sunscreen
  • Comb, brush
  • Deoderant
  • Baggie with 3-4 band-aids, Advil, hair ties, bobby pins, etc. 
  • Razor
  • Small shaving cream
  • Make-up bag
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Contacts, contact case, contact solution
  • Glasses
  • Prescription medications
  • Vitamins
  • Probiotics and digestive enzymes 
  • Inhaler (I have asthma)
  • Sleep aids 
  • Earplugs (you never know what you'll encounter at the hotels!)
  • Face wash or towels
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hairspray, hair gel-travel size
  • Nail clippers, nail file, tweezers (in checked luggage)
  • Floss
  • Small mouthwash

*Deep Woods Off Towelettes: We just discovered these great little packets.  I used to avoid using the spray but these towelettes are great.  Chris uses it on his head and ears to keep away the pesky mosquitoes.  We use them kayaking, biking, hiking and anytime in the woods. We found these in CVS before a night kayaking trip and decided to add them to our Travel Packing Checklist. 

**I buy the small bottles in the travel section at Meijer or Walmart.  Always place them inside a quart sized zip lock bag in case the cap opens.  I place toothpaste, gels, lotions and such inside these bags.

These little packets are lifesavers and a must for your Travel Packing Checklist! 

I am prone to heartburn with certain beverages and the Antacid works great.  Diamode is to combat Traveler's diarrhea.  Diotame is for nausea, gas, heartburn, indigestion.  Medi-Lyte is for heat fatigue, muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and helps to provide rapid rehydration.  These little packets can be found on Amazon and are lightweight and tiny to pack.  

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

"Sherry & Chris"

We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "" A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

Sherry & Chris are at the Inn at Bay Harbor and looking out at the lake.
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