Holiday travel season is coming up! If you’re going somewhere, use a packing list. It will ease your travel considerably.
I use checklists a lot, all kinds of them. They’re very helpful for making sure nothing falls through the cracks, and I get the satisfaction of checking off items as I do them. I put everything on my checklists because I find that the most common things I forget are the ones that seem most obvious (my toothbrush, for example). When my checklist is as complete as I can make it, I can stop worrying about forgetting things and focus on worrying about missing the plane (!)
There are many generic packing lists on the Internet, such as this one on a travel website. It includes tasks to take care of before leaving home; a great addition. I recommend cobbling together several lists and then editing them to suit your own travel style and to comply with current security regulations.
Again, it’s important to add in everything you can thing of and be specific. For example, the entry for arranging for pet care might also include: make sure this person has a key to get into your home! On the other hand, a checklist is great because it helps you avoid packing unnecessary items; you’ve already decided what you need to take. As this site points out, a packing list
"…defends against last-minute attacks of "I might need this." The worst possible time to be considering what to take on a trip is while you are packing for the trip!"
Hindsight, of course, is 20-20. You can refine your list by making notes while you’re on your trip. Was there something important you forgot? Did you bring some clothes you never wore? Did you have the right shoes? Would it be great next time to have a book light so you can read in bed (I’m always amazed at how poor hotel room lighting can be)? If you’re traveling domestically, what about bringing stamps with you so you can actually mail those postcards from your destination?