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Online Packing Lists Only Go So Far

195590736_fcee139b23_m.jpgIf you travel frequently for business or pleasure, you've probably got a well-established system for packing. Me, I'm a big fan of checklists.

My "Travel" folder on my computer includes umpteen iterations of lists -- for travel in summer, travel in winter, long travel, short travel, one-bag travel, travel to Europe, and so forth.

My husband mocks my checklist habit but is invariably thrilled to discover that I've remembered to pack the (choose one: cell-phone charger, booklight, discount card, tickets) for our trips.

But it's hard work, maintaining and creating these documents. So you can imagine my joy to hear about Don't Forget Your Toothbrush, a free online service that helps you automatically generate your packing and to-do lists before travel. As the clouds parted and the angels sang, I thought, "This will be heaven on earth for list-o-phile like myself."

Oh, if only.

I was completely primed to love this site, but I didn't. Why? To my thinking, it's got three big problems.

  • It's UK-based. Which is fine, more or less, except that some of the advice is relevant only to UK users. Example: "Book Channel Tunnel crossing." Um...nope. For me, a better checkbox option might be, "Make sure FasTrak is in car to pay tolls."
  • The travel profiles are limited to Beach Holiday, Winter Sports, Foreign Driving Holiday, Camping or Caravan Holiday, Cruising, and Business Trip/Other. What about my three-day trip to wine country? Or the road trip my family will be taking? No, they're not exactly covered in the "Business/Other" category. And my packing list for a work trip to, say, Seattle, will be very different for a business trip to Sarasota.
  • You have to edit the list down by ticking boxes to arrive at a more-or-less personalized list keyed to your specific needs. I'd prefer a process that allows me to choose my options in advance -- for example, "Select the city to which you'll be traveling," "Select the date," "Are you driving, flying, or taking a train," and so forth -- and then spits out my results, no polishing needed.
So for now, it looks like I'm going to be sticking with my homemade checklists. So I'm off to find my "winter holiday road trip to visit multitudes of relatives and theme parks" list.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

(image by malias via Flickr, CC 2.0)

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