Travel Checklist and My Trip Preparedness – James Melendez

I have often been known to produce a “wow” when someone sees my luggage.

For others most people are okay to leave their home with most humblest of supplies. I prefer to be prepared.   I hear people tell me that they don’t sweat it as they will buy what they need when they are there. Rarely on a trip do I have enough time to just attend my itinerary let alone to go shopping for clothes or toiletries.

While I get that concept—the logistics have rarely worked in my favour.

I also travel with a good number of electronics and traveling lightly is rarely possible. Here are a most often pack list of my electronics:

  • MacBook Pro
  • Power Adaptors
  • Two iPhones
    • Different networks
    • Extra video and photo capability
  • Power adaptors x2
  • Power converters if abroad (at least two—I use to travel with one and north of impossible to get everything powered up)
  • Extra photo cards
  • Ultra heavy Canon camera—depends for reason of travel I might now always take with me; if I take with me two batteries (always have one powered up and ready to go)
  • Extra Apple lighting cables
  • See through Bags to hold electronics (which I place in my carryon)
  • Portable external drive (if you do video—it is a must for me)
  • External drive
  • iPad only on a long trip-in case I need something to read and all power is exhausted

I used to carry a portable iron – imagine that?!? Small but heavy…… I decided non-iron shirts are a must. Are they wrinkle resistant—no not really but they don’t look like the wrinkled versions when you pull them out of the suit case. I have found a general lack of irons in Spain… I don’t think it has to do anything with Spain it is just the hotels I have gotten over time.


This is where I get in trouble…. On my long European trip this year (2016) I packed only enough clothes for a week as I had AirBNBs and many had washers and dryers. From my experience it was not perfect and here is why. Imagine getting use to a washer and dryer in each new city you went to—I had what I call 10 base camps—each one was in a different language: German, Italian, Polish, and Czech. And a lot of guesswork as it related to each washing machine and dryer—sure I could have translated everything. But I thought how different can these machines be to the ones I use in English—and as it turned out—not very different. The hard part was not every apartment always had laundry detergent. I being the boy scout (lower case) I was never a boy scout when I was a youngster—we were way too poor. But I anticipated it and brought a very small amount with me. I live near a Laundromat and bought the small boxes.

What do I bring? Well it depends—is it pure pleasure trip (rarely are they ever) or is it a combination. I bring a ton of clothes because I need a ton. In winter it may be a heavy jacket. Yes, Amsterdam, Antwerp, London and Paris in particular in winter are particularly cold.

Late Spring or mid-Fall in Europe are particularly chilly. I thought I would start off in April in Italy and when I got further north the warmth it would be there in May—wrong. It was chilly and rainy almost everywhere I went. I did have a heavy enough jacket. But I had to buy an umbrella—lasted me from start of journey in Napoli in April till end of trip at end of May in Berlin.

Because of my many travels I may have needs other don’t. This list is geared towards Fall, Spring and Winter and less so on Summer as I try to travel as little as possible.


  • Lightweight Jacket or a sport coat (great to travel with if you anticipate dressier occasions—I love sport coats because of the many pockets. if you anticipate a slightly warmer travel period; a jacket in colder periods
  • Scarf – I bring one year round. When I am in Italy I want a scarf on at all times; in all cool seasons I always wear one
  • A pullover sweater if a short trip an additional one if longer time; I bring cotton in cooler periods; wool if traveling in winter
  • Two or more pair of jeans (depends on length of visit)
  • A more dressier pair of pants
  • Long-sleeve shirts I bring non-iron (less than an everyday change—even if light this gets super heavy)
  • Short-sleeve – I rarely do this unless it is going to be warmer
  • For a shorter trip I bring enough undergarments for each day plus one
    • I keep the plus one in my carry on –just in case your luggage is delayed
  • Socks – I bring enough for each day plus one and keep an additional pair in my carry on (again, just in case)
  • Pajamas
  • I bring a tie if I know I have a dressier occasion
  • I try to bring only one belt (I generally bring two to match the shoes I’ll be wearing)
  • I try to bring a nicer pair of shoes
  • A more comfortable pair of shoes
  • Running shoes
  • Running wear and cap
  • Slippers (I don’t like walking barefoot in places I am staying)
  • I have clothing bags so I can have major categories to place in drawers rapidly
  • A plastic bag for dirty clothes
  • Sewing kit—I have many an important button come off and I can quickly fix.


Probably many things you pack probably without thought—mine I would say is comprehensive and not exhausting

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste – a tend to bring a larger amount depending on trip
  • Floss (some countries I have been to this is a rarity—I hate to run out—I keep hearing my dentists ask the question they ask way too often “do you floss”)
  • Mouth wash
  • Shaver
  • Shaving cream
  • Electric shaver
  • Shampoo (I have been at hotels that have a 3-1 formula) I hate that –and my scalp is way to sensitive for a 3-1 soap
  • Conditioner
  • A small bar of soap (just in case) I am probably the only person on earth that does this
  • Facial Moisturizer
  • Lotion (larger than travel size)
  • Hair gel (larger than travel size)
  • Band aide
  • Nail clipper

Carryon toiletries (travel size of course)

  • Moisturizer
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip balm
  • Tylenol
  • Allergy med
  • Tissue
  • Floss
  • Small fragrance (yes, I love fragrance and of course I never wear during a wine tasting event or judging)
  • Vitamins
  • Prescriptions

On a longer trip I do replenish as anyone would—and can find most supplies and I have found some great things that I love to get each trip like Taft men’s hair gel.   I got Schwarzkopf Taft men’s hair gel in in Prague. I took a small gamble and went for the lower priced product. Loved the product quality and smell and long lasting formula.

And lastly because I am James the Wine Guy I always travel with a wine key and Champagne/Sparkling bottle closer; So often so many places don’t have at least a bottle opener—usually the hotel or AirBNB has one when you don’t need one or when you need one your hotel or AirBNB doesn’t have one.

I have had to pace what I might bring back. My luggage is heavy when I leave and heavier when I get back. I have a gift I have received or gifts I want to bring back. I am conscious of it and I try to never bring back more than two bottles of wine in my suite case—actually I should only be bringing back one and if I am buying wine at an airport retailer (there are some good ones—I like the wine retail store in Bari’s airport—mainly local wines.

I have only had to pay for extra heavy baggage this year and that was Air France. I was barely over and the only thing that would bring down the weight is taking a bottle away. When I fly discount carrier (which is rare) I always pay for luggage.

My new suitcase purchased this year just crashed completely. I think the problems began in Florence and I remember the wheels were never the same. Super noisy and it was the extra brutal cobblestone of Florence did my bag in as well as my “comfortable shoes” I took pictures of the most uneven cobblestone of any European city that I have ever seen. My feet, my body and my soul and of course my luggage were wrecked.

Here is picture of my wheel and keep in mind I have had this piece for less than year—what obsolescence—amazing.


I have another Samsonite suite case that still works well and have had for least 3 years.

Travel is great and do yourself a favour—create a checklist before you go. Ask questions of your hotel or Airbnb be you travel (about things you want or need). I would say being less casual about what you bring on travel and being more specific makes you feel empowered—not scrambling for toothpaste on a Sunday where every shop is closed in the European city you are visiting.

I hope you find this article useful—let me know.

Cheers, happy and safe travels to you!



Also, published in my travel blog – James the Travel Guy 



James the Wine Guy

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© 2016 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.

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About James Melendez

I love wine and have had the privilege of working in the wine trade as a senior national wine marketing manager for a wine, food and home goods retailer in 30+ US States. I executed into making wine experiential and made 'wines of the world' programme work in a highly regulated framework for a successful business proposition. My "wine" site also incorporates those categories intimately involved with wine such as food, travel and lifestyle. This site incorporates my many dimensions of interest. I love to review and also talk about many aspects of wine. I have been privileged to visit many wine countries and find them enthralling no matter how many times I visit. I love all aspects of wine: viticulture, history, winemaking, brand development, wine regions and many more aspects. This is a living tradition that needs documentation, education, reporting and reviewing. Do I have favourite varieties and styles? I love so many varieties and often it is situational and yet there are time honoured wines that I anticipate and I am passionate about. I like all colours of wine and all styles. I have had a mad passionate affair with sparkling wines and they are always top of mind. Wine nourishes our soul and is the key to connecting with other people at our dinner table. Salute, James © 2014, 2017 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social medias.
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