In preparing for an upcoming boating vacation, I got to thinking about what I needed to bring. I've never taken an extended boating trip and keep peppering my captain with questions. He's the boating veteran, chef, and navigator - but I'm the list maker. It's all in his head (flares, battery charger, food, packing essentials) and I needed to see a concrete list so I could get organized, too.
Luckily, I just learned about the Universal Packing List, a one-of-a-kind application that helps you quickly prepare for most trips. You simply fill in details about your trip, and the it spits out your list for free. Exactly what I needed.
I tried out the application for my boat trip and was impressed. It doesn't have a particularly snazzy design, but the basic list is all you really need. I selected "All items" for my packing list length (you have a choice of "normal length" "just critical items" and more) and found a plethora of things to do before leaving (from handling spare house keys to holding mail) as well as a full packing list.
Opt to view the comments. They're helpful and specific. Examples: bring a collaged photocopy of pictures of loved ones if you think you'll get homesick, leave most wallet contents at home and only bring the basic credit cards and ID (so if stolen, you don't have to also replace your library card, video rental card, and so forth).
Obviously, each trip has its specific requirements, but the Universal Packing List is about as comprehensive a starting point as it gets.