Bite the bullet (point)

After a period of not posting, I am very pleased to present this post. For those of us who tend to forget things, nothing beats a good list. And so, without further ado, I present to you the most exhaustive list of lists you could find anywhere, written by the master of lists himself, Sakis Kaliakoudas.

I’ve always had trouble remembering things: I would go to the supermarket to buy a couple of things but end up forgetting an item, or I would tell someone that I would do something and then not remember to actually do it. The most annoying of all probably was forgetting something when preparing for a trip. I thought that maybe I wasn’t focusing/paying as much attention as I should or that some people have a better memory than others, and I was doomed to continue like this for the rest of my life.

Thankfully over the last few years, I’ve come to appreciate the power of one of the simplest inventions of all time: Lists. Lists, as simple as they sound, have transformed whole sectors and are one of the driving forces in decreasing the number of accidents in aviation, as well as decreasing child mortality and surgery fatality rates.

What has it done for me? Well, three things come to mind:

  • A guarantee that as long as I structure my life around lists, I will never forget anything.
  • I am offloading information from my brain to a list (which can be a piece of paper or some software), meaning that there is “more space” in my brain for the important stuff.
  • A consequence of the second point is that I feel substantially less stressed, as I don’t have to worry all the time about possibly having forgotten something. I trust the system that I’ve built instead.

Hopefully, this list helps you the next time you are travelling. It has undoubtedly helped me 🙂 The list didn’t start this big, but over time I keep adding things to it, making it harder and harder for me to be surprised about something missing during a trip!

My travel preparation list lives in Evernote, and then I duplicate it so that I can delete things as I go through them. To speed things up, I initially pack/prepare everything without using the list, and then I check the list, in the end, to see what I have missed. Doing it the other way around (checking the list one entry at a time and putting it in your suitcase/actioning it) takes substantially more time)

Here we go!


  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Jackets
  • Coat
  • Trousers
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts               
  • Shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Shoes
  • Flip-flops
  • Belts
  • Swimming suit
  • Scarf
  • Pyjamas
  • Towels
  • Beach towel
  • Hat/Cap
  • Laundry bag
  • 1-2 empty supermarket bags (they can prove helpful for temporarily storing wet clothes or other things)


  • Passport
  • Id
  • Driving License

Personal Hygiene

  • Nail-clipper
  • Shaver
  • Nose hair trimmer
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Cologne
  • Deodorant
  • Hair shampoo
  • Body shower gel
  • Hair gel
  • Small brush
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Tissues


  • Watch
  • Watch charger
  • Power bank (I usually carry a 20,000mAh one and a tiny 5,000mAh one )
  • USB type C charger
  • Micro USB charger
  • USB power plug adapter
  • Laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Laptop external USB/HDMI adapter
  • Headphones (I can’t go anywhere without my noise-cancelling Bose QC 45 headphones!)


  • Paracetamol
  • Hay fever pills
  • Vitamins and other supplements
  • Rapid COVID tests
  • Eye drops for dry eyes (too much computer use, I guess 😅)


  • Git fetch
  • Make sure I don’t have any uncommitted local changes on any computers I am not bringing with me (e.g. my desktop).


  • Make sure I cancel/reschedule all meetings for the duration of the trip and update relevant people.
  • Check all upcoming Todoist tasks for the duration of the trip.
  • Setup automatic reply in emails – notify potential business associates.
  • Let my team know that I will not be available.
  • Set Slack status on holidays.

Carrying with me

  • Keys
  • Wallet
  • Phone


  • Water plants
  • Shut off the main water pipe (a few friends returned to find their flat flooded, so I decided to start doing this)
  • Take trash out
  • Empty fridge from things that are expiring
  • If you are leaving the flat for longer than a week then you need to shut down the reverse osmosis water filter and place the filters in the fridge (this is a recommendation from the manufacturer so that bacteria don’t grow in them!)


  • Glasses + case
  • Sunglasses + case
  • Glass cleaning cloth

Sleep aids

  • Travel sleep mask
  • Travel sleep pillow
  • Earplugs (I actually have some always with me in my key chain. We go to quite a few concerts/music festivals throughout the year, and I really don’t want to get Tinnitus)


  • Make sure that Revolut is topped up (I had a case where I happened to be abroad without internet, and I couldn’t use my card)
  • Some cash in the currency of the destination country I am going to.
  • Separate emergency cash with me, in both the currency of destination and British pounds (I live in the UK)


  • Check-in for the flight
  • Download podcasts and audiobooks to be available offline (the last thing you want to do is to get stuck on a flight with nothing to do!)
  • Open some tabs on Google Chrome on my laptop with articles I want to read during the trip before I lose internet connectivity.
  • Set an alarm clock to go off at the time the flight departs, to remind me to set my phone on airplane mode (This is an interesting one: I used to forget to put my phone on airplane mode most of the time, and my phone once picked up network signal from a random country local network provider as I was flying above it. Then all the apps started syncing, and I got charged roaming charges.)
  • Set an alarm clock to go off when the flight arrives at the destination, to remind me to tell my mom that I’ve landed! (My mom gets a bit worried when I travel and she likes it when I keep her in the loop ❤️, so why not, only takes a minute!)
  • Check for train travel disruption going to the airport and back. (This has only happened once: I booked a return train ticket to the airport and back, but trains weren’t running on the day of my return. Now I check for any possible service disruption before booking)

Work trip

  • Clear browser cookies (I might be presenting on the laptop, and I prefer if it’s in a clean state)
  • Need any software artifacts? Get them or build them locally from a clean build. (Sometimes, you might be unable to produce these artifacts when you get there. e.g. VPN issues)
  • Clean laptop screen
  • Get business cards
  • Presentation laser pointer (you never know when you are going to need it 🙂)
  • Mini mouse
  • Notepad


  • Umbrella
  • A hard copy of any books I want to bring with me. Also, bring a pen to highlight things and add notes to the book. (I usually stick to Audible audiobooks, but from time to time I do carry some real books)
  • 750ML water bottle (These days, I pay a lot of attention to making sure I stay hydrated while travelling)
  • Put my phone on focus mode during my holidays and enjoy my time with friends or family without any random interruptions! (Referring to this focus mode, which I’ve been using for a while to minimise notifications while working. In the last few months, I started experimenting with using it during my holidays to take a break from my phone and engage more with the people I am travelling with!)
  • Is your trip special in any way? Spend a few minutes to think about anything extra that you might need.

The end!

Please remember that this is only the beginning. The power of lists doesn’t stop here. You can create lists for anything in your life to help de-clutter your mind and get more organised!


For anyone interested in digging a bit deeper, some recommendations:

  • A book, “Getting things done” describes a tried and task management system that you can follow.
  • Todoist, is a task management tool that helps you apply the getting things done methodology easily.

Published by eranboudjnah

A software consultant and tech lead. Passionate about optimizing as many aspects of my life as possible, to free time for what really matters.

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