Check-In Packing List
last update: 14 March 2020
Packing - practical details
I've tried to compile a useful check-in packing list, and I've inserted some comments (in italics) based upon our winter trip of 53 nights to Thailand and Dubai, through London.
We put all our personal belonging and valuables in hand luggage (i.e. passports, tickets, visas, money, essential medication, etc.).
I took photographs of all luggage, including during packing. It helps also when you have to unpack and repack during a stopover.
Also I prepared packing lists for both check-in and carry-on. I also had copies of all important bills, proof of purchase, etc., just in case (e.g. laptop, iPad,…)
I labelled all bags inside and out with name, destination address, email address and mobile phone number.
I used suitcase covers and a colourful security strap. I also use TSA-approved locks.
Remember when flying, you should avoid powders and aerosols in hand baggage, and liquids, gels, and creams must be in small qualities (each less than 100ml) and placed in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag of up to 20 cm by 20 cm with a total capacity not to exceed 1 litre (1,000ml).
All the liquids, creams, etc. must fit in the hand baggage, and the plastic bag should be taken out to be screened separately.
Many carriers explain that medicinal tablets and capsules can go in checked baggage or in hand baggage, but must be accompanied by a doctor's prescription.
One suggestion I saw and followed, was to ensure that all electronic equipment was charged and could be switched on if asked.
I also kept separate Zip-loc bags for jewellery, keys, watch, and all contents of our carry-on baggage. It just makes it easier going through security control.
I also travelled in a simple jacket with zipped pockets. So I could put everything in the zipped pockets and dump the jacket in the tray for security control.
The one thing that caught me twice was the metal buckle on my belt, and my wife had to remove her shoes once.
Remember PACK LIGHT, try to keep under the maximum weight for a suitcase of 23 kg.
Try to limit the number of clothes, and use the hotel washing and dry cleaning service (and/or wash by hand).
Start with a smaller suitcase to force yourself to think 'light'.
We travelled with two smallish middle-sized suitcases (62x44x27), plus a spinner carry-on, a carry-on vanity case and a rucksack.
Use compression packing cubes (but don't over compress them).
Compression cubes or bags are designed to reduce the bulk of clothing and other compressible items by squeezing out excess air and volume. It also makes your pile of stuff more manageable. There are a variety of options, ranging from zip-top plastic bags with one-way valves through to simple drawstring bags, and some have compression buckles. The ones I use are just basic 'stuff sacks' of various sizes. They are made of durable nylon with good seams and zips. There are even waterproof versions for rucksacks, etc. There are also smaller waterproof packs which are great from packing liquids (or just wet clothes). One of the most obvious is the way a sleeping bag can be rolled into a small tight compression bag in the form of a roll. For me the cubes or bags provide a way to organise packing, and will provide compression for things like sweaters, puffy jackets, etc., but not for stuff like shoes (although there are shoe box-like sacks as well). They do save space, but they don't cut weight. The key is to role or fold clothes to be small and as flat as possible. Then pack the clothes in to a correctly sized cube or bag, then squeeze down everything before closing with the zip. What you end up with is a series of different sized clothes cubes, which you pack into the suitcase. The rest of the space is then available for the non-compressible items. Once the idea is clear, you need to shop around to find the shapes, sizes, etc. that best suit you and the suitcase being used. I personally found them also very valuable for packing lots of small items such as packeted medication into one single, easy to handle and pack/un-pack cube.
It really helps to use a packing list, and to remember:-
Only take clothes that colour-coordinate (best just one or two colours)
Don’t take ‘just in case’ items (e.g. if it's going to be warm, don't pack for cold weather 'just in case')
Go for layers, and avoid thick, heavy clothes (e.g. avoid jeans if at all possible)
Wear the heaviest pieces of clothing on the flight (airports and flights are usually cold)
Best to leave delicate, expensive, and 'dry clean only' items at home
Go for quick-drying clothes (have a look at moisture-wicking fabrics)
Careful about shoes, because they take up a lot of space (saw a nice suggestion to use shower caps to cover your shoes and stop them dirtying stuff)
Hand wash and dry small items in hotel room (go for quick dry fabrics - you can find travel clotheslines, but we prefer to take a few wireframe coat hangers and some pegs)
It's certainly a good idea to learn to hand wash, but in fact on our trip we had everything washing in the hotels
For a complete list of everything we take with us, the check-in list needs to be read along with the carry-on list.
'Check-In' Packing List:-
I took 8 underpants, and my wife took 12 slips and 6 bras (all white)
I took too many socks because I ended up going almost everywhere in flip-flops, but my wife used her 8 pairs (all were white ankle socks)
My wife took three light sleeveless v-neck nightgowns, plus one button-front pyjama top with sleeves
I took four t-shirts and used three of them, and my wife took five t-shirts and used four of them (and she bought three more)
I took four pairs of shorts but only used two of them, and my wife took four pairs of shorts and wore all of them
Casual (trousers/shirts and slacks/tops)
I wore one pair of trousers for travelling, and my wife wore one pair and packed one pair
I took two shirts
Formal ladies (dress/skirt, top, jacket, …)
My wife took three light 'tank-like' tops and three ultra-light chiffon elegant cover-up's that matched her trousers, but she did not use them
Formal mens (suit, jacket, dress shirt, ties)
For me trousers and a shirt were enough
Warm clothes/Rainwear (coat, sweater, hat, …)
I took a light-weight waterproof windbreaker and a light sleeveless pullover, and my wife took a warm undershirt and a soft-shell winter jacket (she would have probably liked an additional lightweight sweater)
My wife took a 'twist and fold' sun hat, and a golf cap. She did not use the sun hat, but she bought two more golf caps
My wife took two elegant silk scarfs, but did not use them
Shoes (casual/formal, walking)
My wife took three pairs of walking/sports shoes, including those worn for the trip, and she used all three pairs
I took an extra pair of sports shoes, but did not use them
I wore a belt, and my wife took a nice belt but did not use it
Swimwear (trucks, one-piece, cover-up’s, …)
I took two pairs of Bermuda trunks, but only used one pair
My wife took three swimsuits, and bought two more
We did not take sandals, but I wore almost continuously my only pair of flip-flops, and my wife used her two pairs of flip-flops
In all I took 13 pieces of clothing, and used 10 pieces. I could have left at home one t-shirt, two pairs of shorts, and most of my socks. I also could have left at home one pair of sports shoes.
My wife took 23 pieces of clothing, and used 16 pieces. She could have left at home one t-shirt, three light tops and three cover-up's. She could also have left at home a belt and two scarves.
We took a beach bag with us, but it was not useful and we dumped it
We now know that a beach bag must have shoulder straps, a zip closing, and if possible a zip pouch inside
Electric toothbrush and charger
We took our usual electric toothbrush but it may have been better to take a travel electric toothbrush instead
It is true that bulky items can often be bought on arrival, but they may not be the same products as those you use at home
We did take sunscreen with us, but we could have found it easily upon arrival
We did not take an umbrella, and we did not need one
Insect repellent - we did not take any, and it turned out we didn't need any
Tiger Balm - I read that it is great also for warding off mosquitoes, unblocking sinus, etc.
Pocket personal alarm in the form of a keyring - not used
Door wedge - actually came in very useful for providing additional security for our hotel room in the resort
Spray and cleaning cloth for glasses - absolutely essential
Sewing kit - optional, you can find one in all the better hotels
Disinfectant spray/wipes (e.g. Sagrotan) - absolutely essential
Nail scissors/nail file/nail clippers/tweezers - we found that we also needed a pair of scissor larger than just nail scissors (ww should have taken our pair of ceramic scissors)
Hand sanitisers - absolutely essential
Toothbrush steriliser - not used, because we also took spare toothbrushes for our electric toothbrush
Shower caps - you can find them in all the better hotels, but often they are not replaced systematically (we took seven shower caps, but did not use them)
Laundry kit - hand-wash soap or dry laundry soap sheets, stain remover, clothesline, wireframe coat hangers, pegs - and our a large rubber/silicone stopper for sinks came in very useful
Spare bracelet for my wife's Fitbit - not used
Role of duct tape - not used
Spare chargers and cables for MacBook, iPad and iPhones - in addition to cables in 'carry-on', but not used
Plug/Socket adaptors - I took three sets of socket adaptors (one in 'carry-on'), of which only one set was used in one of the hotels
For long stays, consider shipping separately: basic toiletries, special soaps, basic creams, … some no-essential medication
Get decent baggage tags and some people suggest fixing them to the suitcases with stainless steel wire clips.
To lock, or not to lock, that is the question. A lock will not stop a determined thief but it will stop the opportunistic thief, and it will provide some protection in hotels, etc. This time we decided to lock our suitcases using TSA-approved lock combination locks.
There are a lot of packing lists on the Web, but I have used the following:-
The Ultimate Packing List
The Carry On Packing List
The Holiday Packing List