As a veteran packer and traveller, I have nailed packing for my family down to a science. For me, its all in the list. I start my list a week in advance and then begin packing only hours from departure time. Its my fail-safe way from forgetting essential items.
As I started my packing list last week for our trip to Bangalore, India, I began toying with the idea of going digital. Luke tried for a good three years to get me to go digital with our grocery list, but I thought it overcomplicated things to the point of inconvenience. I liked my pen, my paper, and the joy of physically crossing off each item on the list. But the definite advantage to a digital list is that it does help you think through the items that you need to put on the list. I decided to at least give it a try for this trip.
Since it was an experiment, I didn't want to spend any money up front. I downloaded three free apps before settling on one that suited our needs.
Pack by Dejal Systems - This was the first app I downloaded, which I quickly deleted. I didn't like how it organized the items by alphabetical order rather than category and the overall look of the app didn't give me enough motivation to try to re-sort it.
SimplPak by Simpl Studios - This one appealed to me, because as the name says, it is simple. It gives three categories, which is how I also categorize my packing (clothing, accessories, essentials). But it ended up being too simple. I could not figure out how to change the category names or even how to mark off packed items.
TripList by Enabled Apps LLC - This one was a winner! While there are quite a few functions available only with the in-App purchases, it was versatile enough to suit my needs and simple enough to navigate.
Pre-built Item Catalog - There are 8 categories, which can only be changed with the paid version, but they were pretty accurate to my list anyways. Inside the categories, there was no option of adding different items, but you can add new items to the packing list and have them directly saved to the catalog.
The Packing List - Once you've added items to your packing list (either manually or by selecting them from the catalogue), you can adjust the quantity and even make sub-items with the item. This was my favorite!
To-Do List - I liked that the To-Do list was incorporated into the packing list. You inevitably have a to-do list before any trip, so its great to keep track of them in one place. You can set deadlines and reminders for these to make sure you don't miss anything. What a great feeling to see all of the items crossed out!
The Paid Version - If you upgrade, you can access features like weather forecasts, color and theme customization and adding your own categories. For the time being, I don't need it, but if I stick with the digital list I will probably upgrade.
Luke and I are married and have four little munchkins that travel the world with us. I blog about living overseas, travel, kids, education and graphic design.
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