An Easy Packing Secret (You'll Never Forget Essential Stuff Again)

By Celia Shatzman
January 12, 2022
Thanks to this free website, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting something at home again.

It’s happened to all of us: You check into your hotel late, after a long flight, ready to turn in for the night, but realize you forgot to pack your toothbrush...and your contact solution...and possibly your smartphone charger. This is where comes in. The free website makes preparing for a trip a cinch, sparing you lots of stress—and cash! (Having everything in your suitcase means you can avoid pricey last-minute replacements at the airport.)

The smart, easy-to-use site creates a packing list for you, by asking you a few basic questions about your trip, such as where you’re headed, who's going (are you traveling solo or with kids in tow?), your mode of transport (plane, train, car, or motorcycle) where you’re staying (think: hostel, cruise, or campsite), how long you’re going, and what you’ll be doing (such as skiing, hiking, fishing, or a rocking out at a music festival).

To match your personality and packing style, Packing Essentials gives you the option to make your list minimalist, normal, or perfectionist. Enter those details, and the site generates everything from the type of luggage you’ll need to toiletries to medical recommendations, like vaccinations and insect repellant. You’ll also get checklists for the type of clothing and apparel to take along, any specialty equipment (what to stash in your beach bag or hiking backpack), as well as travel preparation, including documents, money, and trip insurance. And to make sure everything is taken care of at home, it supplies a list of reminders, like taking out the garbage, paying the utility bills, holding the mail, and unplugging electronics, to name a few. Plus, when you enter your destination and dates of travel, Packing Essentials even gives you a full weather forecast. 

You can save the customizable packing list for your next trip, making the process even more streamlined in the future. The site can be used on all devices including a desktop or laptop, tablet and mobile, making it easily accessible when you’re on the road, too. Here’s to never buying a cheap, plasticky toothbrush out of desperation again!

Want more packing tips? Check out our advice, below!

How to Become a Packing Genius

Expert Tips for Packing With Style

The RIGHT Way to Pack Your Luggage

Related places


Save up to 50% on Hotels

1 rooms, 1 guests
Keep reading
Travel Tips

Rental cars: Which ones are the safest

Some rental cars are safer than others. USA Today crunched the numbers on new makes and models rented by the eight largest U.S. chains. The paper relied on ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. One out of four cars have "poor" ratings in a few types of accidents: side, rear, and rollover. USA Today found six 2011 vehicles and one 2010 vehicle with "poor" side-impact crash ratings: the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, the Volkswagen New Beetle, the two-door Jeep Wrangler, GMC Canyon, the Chevrolet Colorado with a crew cab, and the 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser. Three 2010 vehicles — the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the Infiniti M35 and the Hummer H3 — are rated "poor" in rear-crash ratings. The safest small, economy-class 2011 cars are the four-door Honda Civic, the Mitsubishi Lancer, and the Subaru Impreza. More details at USA Today. How about with you? Have you ever considered safety when picking a rental car? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Hot deal! Arizona car rentals for $5 a day from Hertz Rental cars: AutoSlash may find cheaper rates than you Hipmunk: Finding "ecstasy" in affordable lodging

Travel Tips

Should we tip flight attendants?

It may be the most controversial article Budget Travel has published: Confessions of… a Flight Attendant. This article's most provocative point was about tipping. Our anonymous confessor wrote: Tipping is not encouraged by the airlines, but greatly appreciated by the staff. The key is insisting that we take the money; we're not allowed to accept it on the first attempt. I make doubly sure to attend to the needs of anyone who has tipped me, sometimes throwing in a free round—and the drinks are always strong. The article received many passionate responses. One was from Jennifer S. Callewaert, a flight attendant for more than two decades: I have never and will never accept a tip from a passenger no matter how much he "insists". The "free round", that your flight attendant confessed to, is not hers to give.… I guess it just shows you that one person in uniform does not speak for all of us. Another reader commented: I didn't realize I had to pay or bribe a flight attendant for service. Silly me, here I thought that in-flight service was part of the fare…. Perhaps you can tell me what the correct amount is for a tip. I was reminded of this debate recently. The debate over tipping flight attendants has popped up on the Internet again. The cause this time is a comment by the popular writer Spud Hilton. He recently blogged for the San Francisco Chronicle: I've often wondered why it is we don't tip flight attendants, who, frankly, work a hell of a lot harder than most of the people I currently tip for even remotely adequate service. I take Hilton's point. I've tipped flight attendants myself. But only when they've voluntarily gone above and beyond in helping me. For example, a flight attendant once treated me to free beverages. I was in the last row of the plane, and my seat couldn't recline—for a transatlantic flight. Her gesture wasn't required, but I appreciated it. I returned it with a tip. I passed it quietly, via a handshake. The flight attendant said no, but I insisted. So exceptional circumstances may justify tipping. In general, America's tipping culture seems out of control. Things should be different. If you work hard, you ought to get a predictable financial reward. Your pay shouldn't depend on a whim or someone's mood. if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('58c77a20-7c9b-4b9f-8677-f0d6ae2f536b');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)Also: When it comes to flight attendants, "tipping" is often the wrong word. Doesn't "tipping" refer to a reward for good service, given after the fact? Yet on an airplane, you often give money in advance to ensure better service. For example, you might slip them some cash for a chance at an extra drink. In that case, the more apt word is "bribe." Whether you call it tipping or bribing, it's not a truly respectful approach. Do we really want to treat professionals—who are trained to save our lives in an emergency—as feudal serfs? On the other hand, giving cash may be the best way to boost in-flight customer service. Name a country where tipping is rare, like England. Its customer service is poor, isn't it? The U.S. has better restaurant and hotel service because its people work for tips. What do you think? Should we tip flight attendants? Sound off now! MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Confessions Of... A Flight Attendant A Flight Attendant Sounds Off About "Rude" Passengers 8 Things an Airline Would Never Tell You

Travel Tips

Bypassing international roaming plans

Making calls with your cell phone while traveling abroad can be a hefty investment. Domestic carriers have a wide range of international calling plans and roaming fees that can quickly add up. But there are some alternatives coming onto the market. Canadian company Polar Wireless has come out with a "global key chip," a thin SIM card that can be inserted into most GSM (which account for more than 80 percent of the market) and some CDMA cell phones, which allows users to bypass their carrier's roaming fees. Polar Wireless' average rates are 28 cents per minute, compared to what the company claims are the average international carrier rates of $2.59 per minute. Polar Wireless subscribers with GSM devices will be able to take their phone (with their existing phone number) to 213 countries with 500 partner carrier networks. They will have access to voice, data and texting services. The company says it provides carrier grade connectivity via standard cell phone towers globally. Polar Wireless touted that one of the advantages of the global key chip over mobile services such as Skype or Google Talk is that those require Wi-fi, which is not available everywhere. Another option is getting a global phone. Tour company Big Five Tours & Expeditions has partnered with Wireless Traveler to promote Wireless Traveler's global phones, which can be purchased for between $95 and $180. With the Wireless Traveler plan, the phones work in more than 200 countries and have no monthly fees. Users are charged per call and per text. So, for example, if you're with your phone in France, an outgoing call to the U.S. costs 65 cents per minute and outgoing texts to the U.S. are 38 cents per minute. Incoming calls and texts from the U.S. to your phone in France are free. Rates vary depending on which country you're in and which country you're calling to, so it's worth comparing and doing the math compared to your carrier's calling plan. More from Budget Travel: Using Your Cell Phone in Europe What's the biggest phone bill you've ever been socked with after returning from a trip? What's the best social network for travel?

Travel Tips

Should souvenirs be authentic and locally sourced?

Many travelers prize an authentic, locally sourced souvenir. if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('1521e6e3-3e7f-47a7-8af3-e72c43a26923');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)I define "souvenir" as something you buy during a trip as a memento. It doesn't have to be sold at a tourist gift shop. Is it important to you that your souvenir be made locally? If so, why? Is it because you want to support local businesses? Or to accurately capture what the local vibe is like? Souvenirs have become political in our nation's capital—surprise, surprise. Congressmen have pressured the National Museum of American History to stock only "made in the U.S.A." products. Soon, the shelves of one of the museum's gift shops will only sell American goods, reports the Washington Post. But there's a wider relevance here to the question of where souvenirs come from. If you're traveling a great distance on your precious vacation time—here or abroad—would you want to buy a memento that is different from what you can get at your hometown shopping mall? If you're visiting Moscow, would you want Matryoshkas made locally—and not in China? When vacationing in Venice, would you want glassware made at the local factories of Murano, instead of in China? Ditto for rug shopping in Istanbul. Shopping local is a way to help the businesses that give a place the qualities worth visiting. Please speak up in the comments. Do you look for authentic, locally sourced goods when shopping on a vacation? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Supermarket Souvenirs: Five globe-trotting shoppers share their unusual goodies from around the world. 20 Museum Gifts from Around the World A slide show How to Haggle Like an Expert Bizarre Traveler Behavior What's the Deal With Duty-free?