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Talk:Packing list

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Early discussion

Quite impressive list. But do you really carry your credit card(s) and its/their PIN code in one place? One crucial advice: don't. I know what I'm talking about; I've been robbed in Brazil (and nearly robbed in Indonesia). They never got my cards and my PIN codes together. DhDh 01:47, 11 Feb 2004 (EST)

I fail to see the reason for a lot of these. Some I don't even know what are:

  • Invitation letter: Who's inviting whom to what? - If you are studying abroad or in a place where you need a visa an invitation letter to the country from the college or a private citizen is necessary to get into customs.
  • Marriage certificate: Why?
  • Other documents: Which ones?
  • Sweater: This depends on where you're going.
  • Tidbits or polo: What kind of tidbits? I don't play polo, so why should I bring it? - A polo is just a colared shirt. Obviously necessary as it can be dressed up or down and is comfortable.
  • Pocket knife: This is likely to be confiscated at the airport. - Not in your checked baggage and is a life saver abroad.
  • Torch: I'm not a welder, so why should I carry one? (note from anonymous browser: some people's dialects replace the word 'flashlight' with 'torch'. It really is a good idea to bring a flashlight.)
  • Chess: Chess isn't a video game, and what does a cell phone have to do with either? - You can play chess as a video game on yor cell phone.
  • Collar bones: Hopefully these are in your shoulders, not in your sewing kit! - Collar bones are the sewing materials that you place in the collar of a formal shrt to ensure that the collar lies properly. Hence these are incredibly useful and should be in your sewing kit and not in your shoulders.
  • Inhaler/roll on/nasal spray: This is a contradiction in terms.

-phma 21:18, 10 Feb 2004 (EST)

Thanks a ton, Some of these are specific brand names available in India. Updated the list with clarifications, take a look. -Sridhar 18:10, 11 Feb 2004 (IST)

So, I like this idea, but I'm worried that it may be hard to do a generic packing list. After all, if I'm going to climb Denali, I need an ice axe more than I need an IDP. Can we do this in a way that's applicable to all travelers' needs? Or should we do different lists for different destinations/activities/types of travel? --Evan 02:13, 11 Feb 2004 (EST)

It would make sense to me that locations that have special travel needs should be noted in a "Packing List" or "Don't Forget..." section to an article. -- Yosemite 03:33, 11 Feb 2004 (EST)

Would suggest different packing lists for different activities. I once ended up in Palani (a smalltown in TamilNadu, India) without soap and towel! I was used to staying in business class hotels and never found a reason to carry these and expected to stay in one such hotel in Palani. In the hotel I stayed 'running hot water' was a luxury! So expecting the hotel to provide soap and towel was stupid. I made it a point to add these to my packing list once I returned. -Sridhar 10:25, 11 Feb 2004 (IST)

UK English torch = US english flashlight by the way. Polos are mints here if that helps. Caroline 20:59, 19 Jul 2004 (EDT)

I think this needs lots - including what not to bring, cultural sensitivities etc. One bit of advice from tourist watching in London is don't broadcast where you come from by your clothes. Certainly don't wear anything national/political. Don't have day bags that only open behind you. Don't have large cameras out at all times. Massive rucksacks on your back in crowded areas is a no no. Is this too patronising? Caroline 21:30, 19 Jul 2004 (EDT)

As much as I alway think "common sense isn't all that common" it's kinda hard to imagine that most travellers don't know at least the basics ("pack clothing for the weather you'll encounter" "Dont walk down empty dark alleys with money stuck to your forehead").
I'm also starting to think that this article is too general to be really usefull. There's a Arriving in a new city article that has a related article Tips for travel in developing countries, maybe all of these need to be rethought to be more useful for specific types of trips? There's a big difference between packing for a weekend in LA than a 6 month budget trip to India...

So I've modified the list a little bit. I think it has the following use for travellers: you can print it out, cross off the stuff you aren't taking, and use it as a reference while packing. Speaking as someone on their first major overseas trip, I know that I've deeply regretted not packing some of the things I've listed as Essential and Very useful ;) -- Hypatia 08:24, 6 Nov 2004 (EST)

Making your own packing list

Often someone goes through this article and deletes tons of stuff to make the packing list into a list that only has stuff that is useful to them. We don't want that -- we want the list to be universally usable, and each traveller is expected to rewrite the list for themselves. But please don't rewrite it here! Instead, please copy the text of the article into Word and edit it there instead. Alternatively, create a login and make a sandbox page (for example, I have a sandbox at User:Cjensen/sandbox). Copy this article's text into your sandbox and edit it there instead.

If you have already made this mistake and we then removed your changes, here's how to get a copy your old version so you can print it or work on it some more: go to the article web page. Click 'history' which will bring up a list of all old versions. Click on the last version you edited, and your last version of the list will come up. Now cut and paste your old stuff to Word or whatever and work on it there.

Thanks! -- Colin 15:24, 24 Sep 2005 (EDT)

I'm sorry, but I think you're kidding yourself if you think this list is "universally usable". It's not, and it never will be... the whole premise of a universal packing list is unworkable. If you try to make it useful for everyone, it becomes useless for anyone, because what's "essential" for one person going to one place is "useless" to someone else going elsewhere. You've got things listed as "essential" that I've managed without for cumulative months in various places, and "very useful" items I can't even think of why I'd ever want them. (Door wedges?) Too many of the items are "very useful... if you're taking a certain kind of trip", and just clutter up the list if you're not. Or they don't have any explanation, leaving people to wonder what they are or why they're on the list. No surprise that people keep trying to edit it down!
What might be more useful would be various articles along the lines of "Packing for a cruise", "Packing for a business trip overseas", "Packing for a ski trip", "Packing to study abroad", etc. Those might be close enough to actual packing lists, and reasonable and helpful enough suggestions in their respective contexts, that people won't be so inclined to "correct" them by taking out the things that don't fit with their own prefered kind of travel. - Todd VerBeek 13:59, 25 March 2006 (EST)
Yet another person has tried to fix this so-called "packing list" (which should more accurately be titled Anything you might possibly bring along when you leave the house even if you don't know what it is or why you'd want it but I needed it once), only to be reverted. This is (originally) someone's personal packing list, after all, and despite the attempt at categorizing it by essential/useful/optional, it still reads like one. Is anyone interested in helping to fix it, or do you all just want to preserve it as the train-wreck that it is? - Todd VerBeek 07:22, 19 April 2006 (EDT)
Lol. I could actually use that kind of list... hmm, keys, wallet, baby bag, door wedge... Anyway, I think there's always a problem with this type of "common sense" travel info, simply because there's no such thing. Some folks do actually need to be told to bring their passport when they leave the county, pack socks if it's cold, etc etc. But the packing list seems to be so context driven (who are you, where are you going when....) that even the Packing for a cruise (artic or tropic? with children? over 50?) is going to be all over the place or too personal.
I'd like to see a real argument & plan for how/why this can work otherwise it gets my vfd. We just dont have a place for personal planning tools right now... Majnoona 09:24, 19 April 2006 (EDT)
I think the key to making this sort of thing work is to focus on commonalities (and forget about the door wedges, resumes, and recipe file). Despite personal preferences and different travel specifics, probably 80% of what a given person brings along on a cruise (for example) is also brought by 80% of everyone else. Someone who's never done that kind of travel would benefit from knowing what most other people bring. I don't see these being useful as checklists per se, but as general guides from people who've done it before. - Todd VerBeek 09:47, 19 April 2006 (EDT)
I agree. I've moved some packing advice into Tips for travel in developing countries, where I think it makes more sense. Much of this list strikes me as ludicrous. I don't even own moisturiser, let alone consider it "essential" for packing. Pashley 11:19, 19 May 2006 (EDT)
...but it is essential if you live in the tropics and plan an extended sojourn somewhere very dry. Which just kind of goes to prove the point. Jpatokal 11:52, 19 May 2006 (EDT)


Just a question- why is a passport not listed as essential?

Well, not all travel involves leaving your home country, and there are some border crossings that don't require one (e.g. certain EU members, U.S./Canada (at present)). - Todd VerBeek 09:47, 19 April 2006 (EDT)
In the EU, when crossing the border, a passport or official identity card is still required. Heck, in some countries (such as the Netherlands) carrying a passport is required at all times, even for locals. Globe-trotter 21:47, 15 September 2009 (EDT)

Complete overhaul

In keeping with the consensus on VFD that something should be kept here, and the general disatisfaction with what was here before, I've taken a stab at rebuilding it as a how-to/ideas article, rather than a checklist. This removes the temptation for people to actually customise the page into their own personal checklist. It also requires people to explain why you should pack any item they add, which should reduce the "what is this and why?" phenomenon. And judgements about "essential" or whatever are put into some context. I tried to incorporate most of the more-commonly-practical list items into the article as bold suggestions to consider in building one's own packing list. If I left out your favorite "door wedge" or "recipe file" or "resumés", you're quite welcome to add it if you feel people in general will benefit from that advice, but be prepared for others to disagree and edit accordingly. - Todd VerBeek 17:29, 20 May 2006 (EDT)

Nice work. I've edited in several places. Pashley 21:20, 20 May 2006 (EDT)

VFD discussion

  • This page is of no practical use. It is useless as an actual packing list, because it includes items that are useful only for some kinds of travel and omits items that are useful in others. It's one person's comprehensive things-I-might-ever-bring packing list, slightly edited. In fact, most times when people make good-faith attempts to edit this page, one of its guardians reverts it, even when the edits are not the kind of blatant personalization that originally inspired this unilateral, no-discussion pattern of reversion. I believe this is inappropriate, but my attempt to question it on the Talk page has been mostly ignored. The combination of this page's uselessness and the fact that it inspires this kind of behavior by otherwise responsible editors are why I think Wikitravel would be better without it. Delete. - Todd VerBeek 22:47, 2 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Oppose. Sure, this list isn't useful as a packing list for most people -- but that's because no list could be. This is more a list of things to consider packing, and in most cases the user can cross each useless item out in one second and move on. I have lists that are just for me, and when I use them I do the same thing even though they are already tailored for me -- cross out the items which don't apply to my trip of the day. For me, an online list like this could have been the start for one of my lists when I originally wrote it. Yeah, I would've modified the heck out of it, but it's a start and includes things that I forgot were important until the third or fourth revision of my personal list. Could this article be improved? Of course, but we don't delete articles which could be travel topics -- we only delete ones which could never become a topic. I could however, support renaming this to "How to make a packing list" and adapting it to the new, improved topic. -- Colin 16:25, 4 May 2006 (EDT)
    • I don't think this article (current name and contents) is a valid travel topic, nor can it be. The premise of the article is unsound: a completely generic packing list is as pointless as a restaurant list for Europe. It tries too hard to think of everything, and inevitably fails at it. More focused and in-depth guides (e.g. Packing for a cruise) could be useful. Now, you say this article could be improved, but I don't see any substantial improvement happening in the 2+ years since it was created (despite a lot of editing)... unless of course you count the addition of a friendly red warningbox telling people that they're not allowed to take anything out, but may only add to the list, to make it more "complete". I don't think that will make it useful. I'm sorry, but the emperor here has packed no clothes. This article was DOA, and it's time we stopped reverting it and pronounced it dead. - Todd VerBeek 20:15, 4 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Oppose. The list could obviously be improved, but shouldn't be deleted. A packing list is included in all guidebooks that I have read because it is useful - it propts you to think about things even if you won't need them. This list does the same - it helps you think and you mentally discard/ignore the items that don't apply. -- DanielC 16:33, 4 May 2006 (EDT)
    • It actually just makes me marvel at the things someone inexplicably found "essential" or "very useful"... and the irony that "OCD meds" somehow got left off the list. :) - Todd VerBeek 20:15, 4 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Keep. Makes you think about what need to take. Can be a quick reference for people like me that have a mind melt just before time to start packing. - Tom Holland (xltel) 18:50, 11 May 2006 (EDT)
    • Delete. Wow, this page has really changed from when I voted. To be honest, I think the page is worthless now. The other page could have been tweeked, but I voted for a list not this! I know Todd has strong feelings about what was there before. I don't, but I want my vote to be clear. The list is much better for me, it is quick, makes you think. I'm a scatter brained and the "list" is much better for me. I would not use what is there now. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 10:56, 21 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Keep, but edit into something more sensible. I've been travelling for years without much of the stuff it calls "essential". Pashley 04:23, 13 May 2006 (EDT)
    • Keep. -- Jonboy 08:28, 16 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Comment: Since it seems there are several people who want to keep this train-wreck, could I ask you folks to engage in editing it, instead of just reverting it when someone who disagrees with your no-deletions policy tries to improve it? I tried to address the question of whether this page was of use on Talk:Packing list, and suggested an alternative that I thought would be more useful, and only Maj responded; none of the sentinels who've been page-protecting it did. She asked for a plan for how this page (or any page about packing) could be done so it would actually work; no one offered any. Just another immediate revert of the next anonymous edit. Wikitravel:consensus says "Unless it is clearly vandalism or graffiti, simply reverting somebody else's changes will normally be unhelpful." When someone removes "recipes" or "resumes" or "tongue cleaner" from the list, that isn't vandalism; please stop treating it as such. - Todd VerBeek 10:10, 16 May 2006 (EDT)
    • I looked at my history with the article; I reverted changes like deleting "bottle of water" without explanation. Also deleting "business cards" and adding "Spanish phrase book" without explanation. While not malicious vandalism, this makes the article worse, not better. I have no problem reverting that. It's hard, if not impossible, to discuss these changes with anonymous users who don't leave comments. The issue of improving the article is a separate one...if a stub article keeps getting vandalized, do I have a responsibility to improve it if I revert changes and vote "Keep"? -- Jonboy 10:31, 16 May 2006 (EDT)
      • If someone makes selective edits such as removing a few items and/or inserting a few, that's not vandalism. That's a disagreement. Maybe you believe that removing "business cards" makes it a worse list, but that anon editor doesn't (and neither do I). The appropriate solution to that kind of general difference of opinion is to discuss it on the article's Talk page, which is what I tried to do. If someone is going to put a page on their watchlist and revert changes to it, they have a responsibility to pay attention to its Talk page, in case someone expresses a differing opinion, and if that happens: address it. Yes, discussing changes with anonymous editors is hard... but discussing them with other regular editors is not. - Todd VerBeek 12:44, 16 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Keep and tag for cleanup. Would be helpful if sections such as Cruise, Europe, North America, etc were formed, with an intro about how writing your own packing list is helpful in preparing for a trip. One puppy's opinion. KillerChihuahua 11:02, 19 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Keep, in line with Colin's opinion above. Ricardo (Rmx) 14:29, 20 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Withdrawn. In keeping with the consensus that something should be kept there, and the general disatisfaction with what's there now, I'm going to take a stab at rebuilding it as a how-to/ideas article (rather than a checklist). - Todd VerBeek 17:24, 20 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Keep the new version. It was painfully pointless to continue tinkering with a universal packing list. Todd's converting it into a series of queries about a particular individual's specific trip should be sufficient to get most reasonable travelers thinking about what to pack. SHC 18:09, 20 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Keep the new version. Pashley 02:54, 21 May 2006 (EDT)
  • So this is a rare consensus achieved. I am closing this VFD as KeepRavikiran 07:20, 25 May 2006 (EDT)

Universal Packing List

I'm the maintainer of The Universal packing List (, and I think it is a useful concept. But it has to be a program. It is even a rather advanced program, where you fill in what kind of travel you want to do, and it will generate a packing list for you. As such it is very popular - I get approx 300 visitors every day, and so far 1.7+ million over the years. What this wiki page contains is also useful, but not useful enough for a specific trip. IMHO. Mats Henricson, 2007-01-08


ok, not that it really matters so much, but do you consider tampons more of a "stay safe" issue than a "clothing" issue? Cause I sure don't... – cacahuate talk 23:11, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

I think they make sense as a "stay healthy" issue, which is where they're mentioned, along with other personal-hygiene items. - Todd VerBeek 00:09, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
Ooops, my mistake... read that a little too quickly... yes, stay healthy makes the most sense. I thought someone was using the all new tampon/buoy knife hybrid or something.
On a lighter note Todd, when you first started editing Wikitravel, did you ever foresee yourself making an edit that would be summed up as "consolidate tampon comments" ? – cacahuate talk 02:16, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
It was, in fact, one of my dreams. (I've had nightmares like that since I was a wee boy.) - Todd VerBeek 14:23, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

Amusement, entertainment

This is a subject that might need it's own page. Books, music (iPods in particular), laptops and such have its own quirks that advices might be given on. Keep the info that is already available on the page (perhaps even shorten it a bit), with a link to the new page.