Whether you’re packing to go on a trip or move out of your house, packing can be a stressful task for some people because it exposes their disorderliness… and you know I live for organization!
Do you constantly forget to pack all your essentials or favorite things? Have trouble making travel plans? Does it seem like the most overwhelming thing to do?
What if I told you that packing for your next trip or your next home can be exciting? Creating a packing list with a bullet journal puts a lot of creative fun into the process. Hear me out.
20 Ways To Use A Bullet Journal To Write A Packing List
This post about creating a bullet journal packing list will take you by the hand and guide you on so much, including tips to create a useful packing list so you don’t overpack or underpack, ideas for your bullet journal packing list to make it creative and fun, and how to make a customized bullet journal packing list for yourself that you can use over and over again. Some of these linked are affiliate links.
I’ll also share affiliate links to some of my favorite bullet journals and bullet notebooks and supplies for sale on Amazon in this blog post. I’ll also share a bullet journal method or two that I love with some things to help you fill your bullet journal travel pages!
Because there are so many different ways to create, I hope this helps you create your first bullet journal with a set of pens or is a great addition to your current bullet journal collection you create with high-quality paper, sticky notes, and brush pens. Travel bullet journal ideas are endless!
This bullet journal is one of my favorites because it comes with colored pens, stencils, stickers, and more – everything you need to be creative and productive in bullet journaling. It also comes in six colors to choose from.
1. Start planning your packing list at least a week before your trip.
Most people like to crash-pack. By that, I mean packing a few hours before they leave to go on a road trip or vacation. When you do that, the chances of forgetting essential items are high. Then, there’s laundry that may or may not be done.
However, if you sort out your things early, you’ll have time to purchase new items you’ll need… or wash them. So the first thing you need to do is start planning.
2. Write down everything you need.
If your boss informs you that there’ll be a business trip in two weeks, it gives you the opportunity to outline all you need. Even if the notification comes late, you should start your mental preparation immediately.
Take out a jotter or an online diary, and start documenting everything you’ll need. Then, keep updating the list until it’s time for you to leave. But what if we made this list of the great place we’re going to look great too?!
This can even serve as a master packing list for you to use on your next trip. For more on making bullet journaling fun, scroll down!
3. Divide your packing list into categories.
When you categorize your items, it would be easier to have everything in place. Use categories like snacks, gadgets, toiletries, makeup, clothes, etc., to organize your list. If you’re on a specialized outing, this section could constitute something different from the usual.
This is also how Marie Kondo suggests organizing a home – by category. Click here to read more on her method. This is a link to her uber-popular book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. (I really think this book should come with a bullet journal notebook.)
4. Use packing cubes.
After categorizing your items, use a mini box to stack them together. Most of these packing cubes are portable and do not occupy so much space in your suitcase. They actually SAVE you space. They are lightweight and carry more than you expect.
I have a friend, Alex at Travel Fashion Girl, who created these packing cubes and assigns each cube a theme – some are by daily outfits and some are by kind of garment, like underwear for example. It’s a great idea for organizing important things as you head to a perfect place.
5. Place what you’ll use first on top.
Let’s say you decide to wear three dresses throughout the trip and pajamas at night. How would you organize your suitcase or packing cubes? The dress you’ll wear on Monday should be on top followed by what you’ll wear on Tuesday, then Wednesday. This allows for convenience because you won’t have to dig through everything to find what to wear. (That’s the worst.)
It also excuses you from the stress of thinking about what to wear. Immediately you open your suitcase and you see your schedule for the day staring at you in the face. Easy peezy!
6. Keep heavy items on the base of your suitcase.
Items like shoes and books should sit comfortably at the bottom of your suitcase. This allows the bag to stay stable and in shape. It also ensures that other things don’t get smushed.
For example, if you packed a neatly ironed shirt, it is not smart to place something heavy on it. It means you’ll do another round of serious ironing when you arrive at your destination. Yes – you can keep clothes wrinkle-free in travel! Roll, don’t fold.
7. Pack a mini iron or mini steamer.
Speaking of wrinkle-free… Even if you keep heavier items at the base of your suitcase, some wrinkles are inevitable, especially if you have a long day in transit. There are portable irons and steamers that can fit into your suitcase or bag and weigh only one to two pounds. This life-saver helps you de-wrinkle your clothes in record time. This is our favorite mini steamer that has lasted us years!
8. Keep your vital medication in your carry-on.
If you leave anything behind, it shouldn’t be your medications. When you leave home, chances are your body will need time to adjust, especially if you’re traveling over a few timezones.
I recommend you have pain relievers, cold medicine, allergy medication, multivitamins, altitude sickness pills, hand sanitizer, and insect repellents. Better yet, ask your doctor to recommend some medications to help your body cope with your new environment.
You will want to carry on all prescriptions. Those are nearly impossible to get when you land at your final destination. If you do need to transfer a prescription, yes it can be done, but it’s best to avoid the hassle and jumping through hoops if you can.
9. Keep your travel and identity documents handy.
I learned this one the hard way when I was traveling to Canada after I got married and changed my name… but before I got a new passport with my new name. It was something that completely slipped m mind!
If you’re traveling out of the country, your international passport is a must. If you’re only moving to a new city, you should have your documents intact. Personal or student ID cards, credit cards, travel insurance cards, and health insurance documents are necessary for any trip.
After you arrange them in your document organizer, crosscheck them before leaving the house. Check out this one on Amazon. It’s waterproof AND fireproof.
I also like to have a folder in Google Drive with all this information and images of the documents so if they’re ever misplaced or left somewhere, I’ll be able to access them on my phone anywhere, anytime.
Creative Ideas for your Bullet Journal Packing List
Now that we know what to pack and how to prepare for a trip, let’s dig into using your bullet journal to help organize your trip. You can do this by daily spreads, weekly spreads, monthly spreads, categories, subcategories, etc.
10. Make your packing list simple, but colorful.
If you don’t want to complicate things in your bullet journal to start, a simple list is perfect for you. It saves you time and allows you to concentrate more on organizing your stuff.
You can start by writing all the crucial categories with beautiful lettering and color them. After that, you can outline all the items below, section by section.
For writing and coloring in your bullet journal, these fine point pens and markers on Amazon are perfect.
11. Insert a floral packing page.
If you’re a fan of everything girly, you probably love colorful paintings, designs, and flowers. You can infuse this theme in your bullet journal packing list by creating cursive writing at the top of your page. Then, you can create subcategories highlighted in yellow with beautiful flowers around the page. What a beautiful spread! This flower sticker set on Amazon will help decorate your floral pages.
12. Use a color-coded packing tracker.
Like the name implies, this bullet journal packing list is colorful and functional at the same time. It is neatly organized and easy to process because every category is written with a corresponding picture on the side to add character to the list. Even if you aren’t a good artist, you can scribble art beside those words and appreciate your effort.
You can’t get any more color than these 100 gel pens for sale on Amazon. My daughter has these and LOVES them.
13. Create a summertime packing list spread.
I love a themed list… and this packing list is specially curated for summer. You can divide it into five categories comprising toiletries, clothing, travel bag, shoes, and other. Below the page, you can create a picture of the suitcase you’ll use for the trip.
You can also create a section of daily pages with all your travel adventures and ideas for your next vacation.
14. Gather inspiration.
Pinterest has loads of content ideas you can borrow from and modify to suit your taste. It is the one-stop shop for quality images and exceptional designs. There are thousands of layouts in bullet journaling to choose from.
A good one has a title, categories, colors, doodles, and a list of items. When you have scanned through your favorites, you can save the ones that make an impact so that they become a reference point.
15. Plan your bullet journal content by answering questions.
Where will you be visiting? Why are you visiting? What are some of the activities you’ll be doing? Who’s joining you?
Ask yourself as many relevant questions as you can remember because it helps you plan. Jot down the things you’ll need and update them as the day passes by. Start by adding non-negotiables followed by things you can do without.
This is one of my favorite travel bullet journals. I love the way it ties open and shut with a spiral inside and a vintage look on the outside.
16. Don’t forget sub-categories.
At this point, refer to your inspiration and look at the sections you have there. The categories you’ll have on your bullet journal packing list depend on your destination.
There are general sections like clothes (you wouldn’t go naked), toiletries, shoes, gadgets, etc. If you are traveling on an official assignment, you’ll need some company documents or maybe a slide containing your presentation. If it’s the beach, you’ll need a casual dress, a camera for photos, sunglasses, a hat, etc.
Think of starting with a world map and getting super-specific to include a to-do list for your big trip. Then, you can add daily logs to it! Travel bullet journal page ideas are endless when you break down all the things relating to travel!
Have fun with colors and stickers as you create subcategories. Something that makes that fun is these 1,300+ bullet journal stickers on Amazon.
17. Gather your art supplies.
It is not possible to have everything figured out in the ideation stage. You may need to purchase more clothes, toiletries, or even a travel charger before your trip. Earlier, I mentioned that you should start planning for your trip at least one week before.
Purchasing things online today is easier than before, hence all the Amazon links in this post, but we can’t deny the fact that something could go wrong and they’ll arrive late. Order the things you need at least one week earlier so that they come in time for your journey.
Your bullet journal packing list has to be organized and beautifully captivating to look at… or else what’s the point?! Bring out your paint and brushes to try new techniques. Let your painting be a reflection of who you are. It doesn’t have to be all fanciful and artistic (especially if you suck at painting), but it should be fun.
18. Create a title for your travel bullet journal and its pages.
The title of each page is the most catchy and visible feature. It should be written boldly with a touch of confidence and style. It is also a great way to show off your personality.
19. Add the finishing touches.
If you are a perfectionist, you may invest time crosschecking your design and modifying some areas. You can take a walk to the garden, stay for a few minutes and come back to look at your bullet journal packing list. (It’s also good to add a travel budget in there too.)
If you find that your design is all over the place, you can arrange it for uniformity. After you have done that, you’re good to go.
20. Start packing.
We’ve made it! Hopefully, this helped you craft a general packing list or even a master packing list that will last you a long time.
I like to pack with everything laid out before me and music in the background. Sometimes it’s a podcast or an audiobook. It just depends on my mood! What about you?
With your bullet journal packing list before you, carefully arrange your stuff in the suitcase. Trust me – this phase is the most exciting one because you have everything figured out. You already know what to pack, how to pack it, and where to pack it. It’s the easy way to get to the right place seamlessly.
I’d love to see what your bullet journal looks like as you plan your trip. Show me on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay.
What are some of the must-have items on your packing list? Do you have a bullet journal or supplies you love that I didn’t mention here? Any other bullet journal packing lists I should include? What’s on your travel bucket list? (Hey, maybe that’s worth a page in your travel bullet journal!) Let me know right here in the comments are on social media.
While this post focused on travel, you can create your own bullet journal for just about anything – a habit tracker, fitness goals, a wish list, a future log, and even mental health goals and activities.
Happy bullet journaling and traveling!