Home Travel How My Packing List Has Changed In 18 Years

How My Packing List Has Changed In 18 Years

by joeheg

While digging around the darker corners of my hard drive, I found copies of my packing lists from 2003 and 2005. I use a version of this list to help me pack for trips even today, but it’s been updated significantly in the past 16-18 years.

I thought it would be enlightening to look back and see what items we felt were “travel necessities” back in the early 2000s. All that I ask is that you don’t judge me too harshly on this list (Note from Sharon…TOO LATE! I’m judging the fact that you travel a minimum of 6 times per year and STILL USE A FLIPPIN’ PACKING LIST….)


Here are the items I reminded myself to bring in 2003:

  • Camera, Memory Cards and Charger
  • Phone
  • Laptop
  • DVD’s [sic]
  • Chip Clip
  • Palm III
  • Books
  • WALLET!!!!!!
  • Passport

I like that I needed to remind myself to bring my wallet. 🙂 (Note from Sharon: I like that he had to remind himself of that so much that he had to put it in ALL CAPS, with multiple exclamation points)

Ahhhh….my Palm III organizer; I never went anywhere without it. But what about the wonderful camera I had? It was a digital Olympus D-560  that had a 3.2 Megapixel camera and came with a 16MB xD picture card.


I also needed to bring my phone. I had a Sony Ericsson that lasted me several years before I dropped it while in Minneapolis and a homeless person found it, but that’s another story (Note from Sharon: Holy crap, I had completely forgotten about that but yes…true story! Joe, that’s another blog post for you. Add it to your list!).

Sony Cel Phone

I also brought my HP Laptop, which ran the newest version of Windows XP, and a selection of DVDs I could watch while at the airport. That was, if I was plugged in since it had a battery life of about 90 minutes. It had a network card to plug into hotels’ LAN cables for internet access if it was available. If not, I could always use my phone modem. nc62201-275x300One thing that’s stayed on the list for the last 15 years is my chip clip. Even if technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, some hotels still can’t seem to manage to find a way to keep the curtains closed all the way.



My list had changed a bit in 2 years but was basically the same:

  • Digital Camera, Batteries & Charger
  • Camcorder, Batteries, Tapes & Charger
  • Air Purifiers and extra batteries
  • Chip Clip
  • MP3 Player & Charger
  • Books/Magazines
  • Cell Phone & Charger
  • E-TICKETS!!!!!!
  • WALLET!!!!!!!
  • PASSPORT!!!!!!!

Note the addition of E-Tickets to the list. How could I forget an electronic ticket?? Also, note how I (Sharon: STILL!) had to remind myself in ALL CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS to bring my wallet and passport. 🙂 (Note from Sharon: OK, I take the blame for the “DON’T FORGET THE PASSPORT” because I couldn’t find ours the night before we went to Japan in April 2005. But really, he STILL needed a reminder to bring his wallet? Did I really marry someone who might forget his WALLET?!?!?!)

I had the same camera at this point but I also got myself a camcorder—a really nice Sony Handicam Mini-DV recorder.


I was also sure that the air on planes was unhealthy, so I got a personal air purifier from Sharper Image. I actually wore this around my neck on airlines for about two years (Note from Sharon: I wore mine for even longer. Eventually, the airlines declared them “electronic devices” and wouldn’t let me keep it on during flights).


I was able to ditch the laptop for DVDs because I now had a personal MP3 Player. I was a Windows person at the time, so I would never get one of those Apple gadgets (how times have changed – I now have an iPhone, Ipad Pro, MacBook Air, and an iMac). The Creative Zen Nomad was so much better and was easier to use. Who can figure out a touch disk with no directions on it????


I couldn’t forget my phone. Who didn’t have a Motorola RAZR phone in 2005????? (Note from Sharon: Me! I had a Sidekick. OMG, did I love that phone!)


Please note the chip clip was still on the list, as were the books.

Final Thoughts

I found it interesting to see what I needed to bring on a trip back in 2003 and 2005. Now I can use my iPhone to take quality pictures and video to the point where I no longer need to bring a camera or video recorder. My iPad stores my music, books, and videos so I don’t need to bring DVDs or paperbacks with me anymore.

My travel plans are in the cloud with TripIt so I don’t need to worry about e-tickets or reservations anymore. I still remind myself to bring my wallet and passport, though (forget those once and you want to make sure you’ll never do it again).

I got to wondering…if that’s what’s changed in the last 18 years, what will travel look like in 2040???? Whatever it is, I’ll probably still bring a chip clip with me… (Note from Sharon: And don’t forget your WALLET!!!!!)

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary



John Dough November 24, 2019 - 1:25 pm

I swapped a chip clip for several binder clips for paper. They are smaller and you can have several. If you forget them then no big loss.

derek March 20, 2021 - 4:13 pm

I have a further list categorized into bathroom, bedroom (including closet, meaning clothes), kitchen, and study. For example, dental floss, underwear, plastic fork (for emergencies and if I buy a little food), and pen.

I do not pack a chip clip for hotel curtains. The hotel provides one! Look closely at the hotel on the next trip. Every hotel I’ve stayed in, even Econolodge, has some hangers with two clips for skirts. Think again how you can you that hanger clip!!! What do you think of that?

joeheg March 20, 2021 - 5:05 pm

Very MacGyver of you.


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