packing list in Todoist

How to make the ultimate packing list in Todoist

With your packing list in Todoist, I guarantee you: Packing for travel will never be the same again. That nagging feeling that you may have forgotten something is long gone.

We have all been there: After diligently making a packing list, and following it to the last detail, you arrive at your destination only to find out that you forgot that little thing. It could be your cufflinks, the charger for your computer, of fresh blades for your shaving kit.

Or, as I did, the whole bag containing my formal attire for a weekend with two formal dinners. After the said weekend, I have always included the total number of bags at the bottom of my packing list.

For years, I had been using Excel for making packing lists. One for London, another for visiting my extended family in the US, yet another for road trips. Not to forget separate lists for work-related trips. The system has been woking OK, but it was cumbersome. Every time I bought a new laptop, camera, or other gadgets, I had to make sure to update all relevant lists. With my relentless focus on improving and streamlining, I was never satisfied.

packing list in Todoist
When packing, always make sure to bring the important stuff. (Picture: Pixabay)

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I have spent quite a lot of time getting, not only my projects and tasks into Todoist but also my GTD Horizons of Focus. By now, I know very well how Todoist works.

One of my most irritating issues with my packing lists has been to make sure that I get all of the small but important items packed before I leave. Let me give you some examples:

If I bring my camera, I also need batteries, and these batteries need a charger. If I bring my laptop, I at least need to bring my charger. There is no use bringing my laptop stand if I simultaneously do not bring my external keyboard and mouse.


How to create a packing list in Todoist

The solution is to create a packing list in Todoist in the same way as you create a project.

packing list in Todoist

Start with making a project for each of the groups of things you need to bring for your trip. The first item in the list to the left is my pre-departure checklist. More about that later.

Notice that I have named all packing projects starting with a lowercase p. This is to be able to sort them better when working with all my projects in Todoist.

In my Basic list, I have all the basic stuff like underwear, toiletries, and basic clothing. I also have things like cell phone, chargers, laptop with charger, etc.

In the Photo list, I have everything I can possibly need when bringing my camera. My Work list contains my work laptop with accessories, plus my ID card and notebook.

The International list has things like passport, foreign currency, outlet adapters, headphones with sound canceling, etc.

My car list has three items; car charger and holder for my phone and a reminder to download the relevant maps for my GPS app on my cell phone.

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For more travel tips, read 10 tips to utilize your gadgets when you travel.



How to make sure that you remember to pack everything

The secret to always remember the batteries, charger and memory cards for your camera is this: List the accessories as subtasks.

As you can see, if I want to bring my camera, all that I need to bring along with it is automatically added to my list. If I want to bring my tripod, I’m also reminded to bring the carrying strap.

packing list in Todoist
Part of my Photo packing list in Todoist. (Picture: Screen dump)


Knowing where you have packed your stuff

If you look at the list above, you will see that my Canon EOS 70D camera has a label. The reason for this is that by doing this, you know which bag you have put the different things in. This makes it much easier to find what you are looking for. If you ever find yourself in the situation that one of your bags is lost or stolen, you instantly know what to tell your insurance company.

Since I tend to travel with three pieces of luggage, I have created three labels in Todoist:

  • pCarryon – for my carry on.
  • pCheck-in – for my checked luggage.
  • pPers.item – for my small personal item that I can bring along when boarding.

In the same way, as for my packing projects, my packing labels start with a lowercase p.



Download my Todoist Packing List Template for free!



How to put together a packing list in Todoist

Now that you know how to make the different lists, the time has come to reveal how to create a packing list in Todoist, tailored for a specific trip.

What is important to have in mind is that the lists I have shown you so far are just templates. I construct the actual packing list for a trip by creating a new project in Todoist and then importing the lists I need from my template files.

What I have done is to export all of my packing projects as CSV files. I have saved these files in my Google Drive, making it easy to import them into Todoist at any time.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of templates in Todoist, I recommend taking a look at the below video.


Please be aware that you can only create project templates from the web or desktop apps.

For more detailed instructions, see

Setting up your packing list in Todoist

  1. Create a project in Todoist. Let’s call it “Trip to Italy.”
  2. From the Project Actions menu, choose Import from template.
  3. Drag and drop, or select a file from your computer. You can only import one file at a time.
    You will now see the items from the project you imported as items in the project “Trip to Italy.”
  4. Delete whatever you do not need for this specific trip from your project.
  5. Now, all that’s left is to include the total number of bags to bring, so that you are sure not to forget one of your bags.

That’s it! You now have the perfect packing list in Todoist. Aside from this, you have a library of packing lists that you can update as needed. Just remember to export the updated project as a CSV file so that your CSV library is always up-to-date.


My pre-departure checklist

Using the same system as described above, I have a checklist of things that I need to do before going away for an extended period. Some examples are listed here:

  • Stop the mail.
  • Making sure that I have a valid passport.
  • Turn off all my computers.
  • Arrange for someone to take care of the cat.

Now, Its just to make it to the airport in time.


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