Discuss all things Remember The Milk.

Travel Checklist

mrgage says:
Inspired by GTD guru David Allen's Travel Checklist (, I set out to make my own with RTM. I tend to travel across country a couple times a year to visit family and it's never fun to stress about what to pack. Then of course, it's even worse to stress about what I forgot to pack. With my travel checklist, I never forget anything!

My first step was to create a new separate list which I called "Packing". I then populated it with all the items I could possibly think of that I would need while away from home. This list must be complete, otherwise, it renders itself useless. I've added items in certain detail that I know will work for me. For instance, just to be safe, I add items such as "white socks, dark socks, dress shirts, t-shirts". However, someone else might prefer to have just one item called "clothes". It all depends what is comfortable for you.

I've created groups to help me separate my items in a logical way. My groups are: "Prepare, Pocket, Carry On, Suitcase, and Last Minute". For each item, I prefix the item name with the group. Here some items from my list:
- Prepare: Snacks
- Prepare: Load Music onto Mobile Device
- Pocket: Cash
- Pocket: License
- Carry On: Headphones
- Carry On: Mobile Device Charger
- Suitcase: Deodorant
- Suitcase: Shorts
- Last Minute: Get sunglasses from car
- Last Minute: Close Apartment Windows

I've opted to prefix task name with the group name rather than use labels for a couple of reasons. First, RTM alphabetically orders the list so prefixing with groups keeps like items together and second, these groups are only ever used in my "Packing" list so I feel there is no need to crowd up my tag list with a lot of tags I won't ever use elsewhere.

I've got 78 total items in my Packing list. It may seem like a lot, but when packing, it's easy to throw a bunch of items in the suitcase, and then check off all those items at once off my RTM list while they're still fresh in my head. The stress relief is so valuable to not have to worry about whether or not I packed something.

For items grouped as "Prepare", I'll begin to tackle in advance of my trip. I may even assign due dates on these items so I make sure they get done a head of time. All of these items help me with preparing for my trip. I really don't want to have to rush at the last minute to find good reading material because I didn't realize that I ran out of good stuff at home. I'll also need ample time to transfer content to my mobile media device for the long plane ride.

All items labeled as "Last Minute" ensure that I handle all the loose ends literally right before I walk out of the door or shortly after. For example, they make sure I run to my car (before I get into the cab) to get my headphone adapter and my sunglasses that I didn't bring in with me the night before. My "Last Minute" items will also remind me to turn off all my electronic devices in my home to save money while I'm away. I can coordinate these last minute items either from a printed paper version, or using my trusty application I run on my Android phone.

Now, there is an important aspect of this system: when it comes time to start packing for my trip, I don't touch my RTM Packing list. That's right. I've created this list once, and with 78 items in it, it took a while! I don't want to check everything off and then either rebuild the list next time, or un-complete all the items. Instead, I check all the items, duplicate them, then move them to another list I created called, for instance, "Packing for XMAS break '09". Now with this list, I can make special modifications to the list that I might need for that specific trip. I can delete the item: "Suitcase: Sun Tan Lotion" cause I won't be needing that back in New England during the holidays. I can also add some other items such as "Suitcase: Gifts for Parents". Now I've got a customized list for my specific vacation that I can check-away and then archive the list when I'm done. All the while keeping my original RTM Packing list intact and ready for my next adventure. Now packing has become a relaxed time rather than a chore because RTM has done all the hard work for me!
Posted at 3:23am on October 30, 2009
(closed account) says:
With the holidays coming up, this should be a "Tips and Tricks Tuesday" winner.
Posted 10 years ago
durtle says:
This is another awesome way to use RTM that I hadn't thought of yet. I actually have a camping list that I created a while back in a plain old document that will convert nicely to this RTM format.

I second the nomination for a Tips & Tricks winner! People will be traveling a lot in the coming months.
Posted 10 years ago
calipidder says:
Excellent - I just came to the forums to look for exactly this thing - using RTM for packing list. In my case, I do a lot of outdoor sports which require the same core items (mostly camping/hiking gear), as well as specialty items depending on the specific sport I'm doing on any given trip (climbing gear, photography gear, ski gear, etc). I'm going to play with this technique to manage my complex packing lists. Thanks!

Posted 10 years ago
steveshay says:
I do a very similar technique except I email the list in from a text document.

I have the text document in sections so I can choose only the relevant tasks depending on the type of trip including:
Driving or Flying
Bringing the pets or leaving them home
Temperature of destination

I have the smart add syntax set up in the text document with high priority to essential items and tags for last minute stuff.
I also include ^{DUE} in the text file and so I can do a find and replace of {DUE} with the date of my trip

When I am planning a trip I create a new list in RTM, copy the sections I want from the text file into an email, then email in the tasks with the appropriate tag, priority and due dates already set. This way I can complete them as I go along, search for them by text or tag and have them end up on my focus list if desired without cluttering up my task list the rest of the year. When the trip is over I just delete that list and everything is back to normal for the next time.
Posted 10 years ago
formless says:
This is a great system, I like the idea of duplicating the list and customizing for each trip. I travel quite a bit to different places and this would really help having the right equipment for each trip.
Posted 10 years ago
davidbwagner says:
This is worth a tip-of-the-week award just for suggesting this way of implementing templates. The e-mail approach is more flexible, because you can edit it in a text editor before sending it off, but this is very slick.
Posted 10 years ago
targ says:
I employ the same method as mrgage, however I find it somewhat of an inconvenience not being able to duplicate an entire list, or even to duplicate more than 25 items at once. Will this ever be possible, RTM?
Posted 10 years ago
scadario says:
Great...but i've a question:
How i can hide that "tasks" (Prepare: Snacks, Pocket: Cash, etc.) in GMail plugin ? (i've enabled show in list any tasks even no due to date tasks)

Thanks ! :)

Posted 10 years ago
andrewski (Remember The Milk) says:
It would probably be useful to you to to create a Smart List that shows exactly the tasks you want to see. Such an example may be (dueBefore:tomorrow OR priority:1) NOT list:"Packing Template" or similar (this is just an example to show anything overdue/due today/high priority, but the important part is to exclude your packing list)—so your packing list wouldn't show up, but it would when you duplicated it to create a packing list for a specific trip.

Hope that helps!
Posted 10 years ago
(closed account) says:
I agree with targ, how do you go around the limit of duplicating max 25 items ??

I might start to use emails too
Posted 10 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
As e-mailed tasks can use the Smart Add syntax I guess a lot of clever travel checklists can be maintained in for example MS Excel. You could have the due date as a variable and then send a lot of tasks with correct due dates corresponding to your travel date.
Posted 10 years ago
ghovnanian says:
First off, great idea.
One thing I would find valuable to add to this approach would be a "re-packing" concept. I have a one year old, and getting together all of her stuff to leave the house is just as important as putting it all BACK in the suitcase to come home.

When I use this approach next, I'm going to set the tasks to repeat again on the day that I'm scheduled to come home, so I can check them all off again when I get BACK in the car.
Posted 10 years ago
emily (Remember The Milk) says:
Hi mrgage,

I just wanted to let you know that we've upgraded your account to have a free year of Pro, as this tip is a Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner. :)
Posted 10 years ago
agnescb says:
Wonderful idea.

But my packing lists must be insanely detailed, because after following the instructions on the blog and painstakingly creating all the tasks in the "template" I just realized that I couldn't duplicate more than 25 tasks at a time.

And after checking the thread and using emails RTM refused to import more than 55 tasks at a time?
Posted 10 years ago
casutton says:
The way that I get around the duplication method is to use the same RtM list every time and uncomplete all of the items before each trip.
Posted 7 years ago
casutton says:
Duplication *limit* I meant to say
Posted 7 years ago
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