As mom has gotten older, it’s gotten more difficult for her to pack for her trip. Well, that’s not quite right – she definitely packs her stuff – it’s just a question of whether or not she brought everything she needs and all the right mix of clothes to match the local whether wherever we’re going. Something I’ve found incredibly helpful to Mom in the last few years is to send her a packing checklist tailored to the climate where we’re going.

In case you’re heading out with your parent this summer (and I do hope you are!), here is a summer packing checklist of items to bring in your checked luggage as well as your carry-on.

summer packing checklistI’m not sure I would bring everything with you—few things are worse than overpacking (especially when you have to lug suitcases around!). Instead, I recommend using these lists as a starting point to customize your own before sending to mom and dad. Once you’ve made your edits, send a copy to mom and dad (then print a 2nd copy for yourself!).


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☐   Prescription drugs
☐   Complete information for each prescription drug
☐   Doctor’s authorization for each prescription drug
☐   Complete information for each nonprescription drug
☐   Contact information for all doctors
☐   Sinus medication (spray or tablets)
☐   Airborne or vitamin C
☐   Hand sanitizer (gel or wipes)
☐   Sleep-aid medication
☐   Spare batteries for hearing aids
☐   Glasses case
☐   Spare pair of glasses
☐   Contact lens case
☐   Spare pair of contact lenses
☐   Contact lens solution
☐   Eye drops
☐   Compression socks
☐   Vitamins
☐   Epinephrine autoinjectors (with prescription)
☐   Portable oxygen concentrator (with prescription)
☐   Portable wheelchair
☐   First-aid kit

☐   Gas-relief tablets
☐   Antacid tablets
☐   Antidiarrheal tablets
☐   Antihistamine tables (for allergies)
☐   Candied ginger or other relief for motion sickness
☐   Mild laxative tablets
☐   Pain- and fever-relief tablets
☐   Band-aids
☐   Topical antibiotic

Electronic Equipment to pack in carry-on luggage

☐   Mobile phone and charger
☐   Laptop and charger
☐   E-reader and charger
☐   Tablet and charger
☐   Game console/player and charger
☐   Portable DVD player and charger
☐   Camera and spare batteries, charger, and spare memory cards
☐   Power cords, connection cables, and spare batteries
☐   Power converter/electrical socket adapters
☐   Earbuds (bring headphones instead for anyone who wears hearing aids)
☐   Small flashlight
☐   Magnifying glass

Paperwork to pack in carry-on luggage

☐   Travel confirmations and reservations
☐   Itinerary
☐   Passport
☐   Driver’s license
☐   Copies of all important documents (e.g., passport, driver’s license, prescriptions, credit cards)
☐   Medical and vaccination records
☐   Insurance details (e.g., travel, medical, car, credit card)
☐   Information for embassies and consulates at your destination
☐   Information for local hospitals at your destination)
☐   Information for hotels en route to your destination (e.g., at connection airports, in cities you’ll pass through)
☐   Information for reporting lost or stolen credit cards
☐   Maps and directions
☐   Emergency contact information: people in your travel party
☐   Emergency contact information: people back home
☐   Addresses for postcards

Miscellaneous Items to pack in carry-on luggage

☐   Cash
☐   ATM card
☐   Credit cards
☐   Debit card
☐   Traveler’s checks
☐   Prepaid phone cards
☐   Guidebooks
☐   Foreign language phrasebooks
☐   Reading material (e.g., books, magazines)
☐   Entertainment options (e.g., playing cards, puzzles, games, music, movies
☐   Travel journal
☐   Light jacket or blanket
☐   Water (after security, either purchase bottled water or fill a reusable bottle)
☐   Snacks
☐   Fanny pack or money belt
☐   Sunglasses
☐   Photos of your luggage (for identification purposes if it is lost or delayed)
☐   Tissues
☐   Chewing gum or hard candies (to open your ear canal and relieve pressure)
☐   Eye mask
☐   WineSkin bottle transport bags

All-Weather Clothing to pack in checked luggage

☐   Sturdy walking shoes
☐   Slacks/jeans
☐   Skirt
☐   Formal outfit(s)
☐   Formal shoes
☐   Jewelry and other accessories (e.g., scarves, ties)
☐   Socks
☐   Pajamas
☐   Robe
☐   Slippers
☐   Underwear (e.g., underpants, bras, undershirts)
☐   Lightweight windproof/waterproof jacket
☐   Sweater or fleece
☐   Umbrella
☐   Bag for day-trip excursions
☐   Corkscrew (note: do not put this in carry-on luggage)
☐   Workout clothes (including shoes)
☐   Swimsuit (indoor pool!)
☐   Swimsuit cover-up
☐   Belt
☐   Plastic bags for dirty laundry

Warm-Weather Clothing to pack in checked luggage

☐   Shorts/capris/skirts
☐   Short-sleeved shirts/tank tops
☐   Sundress
☐   Sandals/flipflops
☐   Wide-brimmed hat or other head covering
☐   Beach towel
☐   Raincoat/rainboots

Toiletries to pack in checked luggage

☐   Makeup and makeup remover
☐   Shampoo
☐   Conditioner
☐   Curling iron
☐   Brush or comb
☐   Hair styling aids (e.g., hairspray, gel, headbands, pins, clips, elastic ties)
☐   Deodorant
☐   Toothbrush
☐   Toothpaste
☐   Mouthwash
☐   Denture cream and cleaner
☐   Dental floss
☐   Facial cleansers
☐   Facial moisturizer/cream
☐   Nail-care supplies (e.g., clippers, file, polish, polish remover)
☐   Tweezers
☐   Cotton swabs and cotton balls
☐   Body lotion
☐   Shaving cream and razor
☐   Perfume
☐   Personal hygiene products
☐   Shower cap
☐   Insect repellant
☐   Sunscreen
☐   Lip balm
☐   Birth control
☐   Travel-size laundry detergent
☐   Travel-size laundry stain remover

Note: If you want to bring liquids that are not medically required (e.g,, shampoo, contact lens solution, lotion) in your carry-on bag, be sure to pack them in bottles that hold less than 3.4 ounces so you don’t violate the TSA’s regulations for these items. Liquids in larger amounts should be packed in your checked luggage. Medically required liquids in larger amounts can be brought in carry-on bags if you have the proper documentation for them.

Anyone else use checklists? Anything missing from these lists?  Let us know!

Here are a few previous blogs on packing that may be useful: