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4 Steps to Make a Packing List Layout in a Bullet Journal

This packing list bullet journal layout is easy to create and so much fun to fill out! To fail-proof your next trip and bring back only wonderful memories, today I’m sharing a layout for a bullet journal packing list that will take away your trip-prepping woes.

In this article, you’ll find:

In most of my vacations that have gone not-so-great, I’ve noticed common causes: underpacking or overpacking. At times, I am guilty of both. I kept forgetting things until I was introduced to the bullet journal packing list. This is why I’d love to share with you how this layout helps me avoid travel anxiety and vacation disasters.

A bullet journal layout packing list printable PDF shown on a white background.

What the Packing List Layout Is All About

At the risk of sounding repetitive, a packing list is an inventory of things you’ll need to bring for a trip. Think of it as a grocery list of stuff you need to buy, but this time you prioritize trip must-haves that should make it your luggage.

The packing list layout typically follows the standard format of a bulleted list. Depending on your organizational needs and travel requirements, you might need to adjust the design. Doing so will increase your recall and improve visualization. Still, what matters is that it helps keep things in order.

How Packing List Layout Helps in Tracking Your Trip Essentials

The reason why you’ll need this layout in your bujo is that it helps confirm in writing that you’ve brought something with you to the trip. I don’t know about you, but as a busy person who tends to forget things, ticking off items in the packing list takes the stress out of the planning.

And there’s actually science backing this up. Psychologists conclude that jotting things down makes it easy to stay organized and avoid anxiety. 1

Indeed, packing helps travelers in achieving the goal of their trips, especially for leisure. Unless it’s something spontaneous, what you bring to your trip should reflect its purpose. Surely you don’t want to bring with you luggage filled with cosmetics when you’re actually going fishing or nature tripping.

The packing list layout can simplify your travel preparations by identifying trip must-haves. Being able to track which things you’ve packed will save you from unnecessarily digging into your luggage and further creating chaos. 

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packing list bullet journal layout being drawn in ink on a page.
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If getting started on new spreads is a challenge for you, my printable PDF packing list bujo layout will help you save a lot of time. You’ll get the same benefits of listing your travel must-haves without conceptualizing and creating the layout from scratch.

How to Use A  Packing List Layout in Your Journal

Here are the steps to making a packing list on your bullet journal pages if you plan to DIY your layout:

A completed packing list bujo spread.

How to Use A  Packing List Layout in Your Journal

Time needed: 20 minutes

Draw boxes of different dimensions in pencil

packing list bullet journal layout being drawn in ink on a page.

The number of boxes to make depends on the categories of stuff you plan to bring that shouldn’t get mixed up with others. This way, everything is categorized for easier tracking and locating.
For instance, you can make a rectangular box for clothing that is separate from the square box dedicated to toiletries. The dimensions of the boxes will depend on your estimate of the number of items to include in the list.

Go over the boxes with ink, adding suitcase details

packing list bullet journal layout being drawn in ink on a page.

Draw over your pencil marks with a pen and then, after the ink is dry, erase the pencil lines.

Label the boxes according to categories

packing list bullet journal layout being drawn in ink on a page.

These will serve as titles for each box for categorization. Categories that are often relevant to the travel packing lists include clothes, toiletries, electronics, documents (such as passport, return tickets, etc.), makeup, and food. You can add as many categories as you see fit and actually necessary for your trips.

Decorate your boxes

packing list bullet journal layout being drawn in ink on a page.

Design your boxes according to your desired aesthetic. Personally, I love adding small details to the boxes to make them look like suitcases and luggage. Decorating them this way can also make you feel excited about going on a trip you aren’t exactly thrilled about.

Fill out the page with your packing list

A hand fills out a bullet journal packing list for summer vacation.

It’s great to have a standard packing list plus a second one that you use for each trip. This will give you a place to collect ideas for things to bring as they pop into your mind while trip planing.

Supply:

  • Bullet journal notebook
  • Pencil
  • Fine tipped pen
  • markers or colored pencils (optional)

Variations on the Packing List Layout in Bullet Journals

While most packing list layouts for bujo follow the standard format of boxed lists, there are also journalers who prefer adding a tick box before each item list. This way, they can easily mark items that are already packed for tracking purposes. A possible downside of this layout is that you’ll need to create a new one for every trip to avoid erasures and confusion.

Some creative journalers have also tried adding illustrations for each category in the packing list. For instance, the makeup category has a drawing of lipstick as a header. This makes tracking easier as you’ll only refer to the images you’ve drawn for a quick list review.

Stickers are also useful for other journalers. All you have to do is stick on Post-it labels under each category, which you can later remove depending on each trip’s requirements. Doing this eliminates the need to create a new list for trips with similar packing categories.

Who Can Use Packing List Layout

The packing list layout works best for regular travelers and frequent flyers. But it isn’t really limited to these people. If you’re a busy mom with kids in tow, I highly recommend using this layout to help you organize and identify which items must be packed for each family member.

Similarly, if you suffer from short-term memory loss or often forget things, it’s best to refer often to the packing list to assist in travel organization. This is especially true for people traveling on more complex trips (if I’m headed to a beach and a mountain in a single trip, you can bet I’m going to forget something important!)

When the Packing List Might Be Most Helpful

Packing lists are most helpful when traveling overseas or via air travel. Knowing which luggage contains particular stuff can ease your mind about delayed baggage that often happens at the airport. By identifying essentials from items that can be retrieved later, you avoid being anxious and frustrated with the airline processing.

A separate packing list for first-aid items and medications can also be really helpful during travels. This is especially true since the post-pandemic has made everyone prioritize safety in all their trips. Documents pertaining to vaccination as well as testing kits can be added to the packing list for easier review.

How Often to Use Packing List Layout in a Journal

If you have plenty of journal pages to write on or you’ve booked a series of trips in advance, I advise that you create a packing list spread for each trip. Starting fresh with a list that is specific to a trip will prevent you from confusing items for another travel plan.

However, it’s also ideal to stick to a single packing list format if you noticed you’re bringing the same items for each and every trip. Maybe adding an extra page dedicated to optional items to bring will help you sort things in case of adjustments in the plans.

Where in Your Journal You Should Place Your Packing List

I strongly suggest that you put your packing list layout on the first pages of your bullet journal. This way, you’ll immediately locate the list when in a hurry to get to another itinerary. Also, you may use a page divider that will help you find your packing list with just a single flip.

Final Thoughts on Using a Journal Packing List in 2022

Adding a packing list layout to your bullet journal still works great in 2022, especially since the global tourism industry is making a gradual comeback. It’s a perfect layout for bullet journaling in summer. In this article, you’ve learned how to use a packing list for tracking travel essentials, and also how to personalize it with design variations for your bullet journal spread.

Image Description for Screen Readers

The feature photo shows a journal notebook opened to a spread entitled “Packing List”. On the upper left corner next to the journal are two Stabilo Boss highlighter pens in purple and pink colors.

Under the title of the spread are illustrations of suitcases in varying dimensions. The labels for each are “Clothes & shoes”, “Documents”, “Toiletries”, “Electronics”, “Food”, “Makeup”, and “Miscellaneous”. The suitcases are all lined with purple and pink colors as designs.

On both sides of the “Packing List” title are doodles. The left side features a plane and the right side features another plane arriving at a pinned location and a passport with a ticket tucked in it.

Sources

  1. Masicampo, E. J., & Baumeister, R. F. (2011). Consider it done! Plan making can eliminate the cognitive effects of unfulfilled goalsJournal of personality and social psychology101(4), 667. []