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Creating a Packing Essentials Spread in Your Journal

by Ambassador Team 30 Sep 2023 0 Comments

Hello, Lisa from nolalettering here! What you decide to pack can depend on the type of trip you’ll be going on. If it’s a business trip, then business casual clothes is a must. Or if it’s a beach vacation, swimwear is a must. However, there are items that you will definitely be bringing for every trip, so in today’s blog, I will show you how to create an essentials packing list in your journal that you can then refer back to when it’s time to pack for your next adventure. This will save you time and mental energy when packing for your next vacation as you can start off with this list and add on items that are specific to that trip. Onwards!


image of yellow Archer and Olive journal, acryograph and calliographs

You can use whatever items you have on hand to create this spread, but for mine, I used the following tools:

Don’t forget to use my affiliate code “nolalettering” to get 10% off your purchases from Archer and Olive!


Brainstorm and Categorize

image of hand holding a pen writing travel packing list on spiral bound journal

Before we dive straight into creating the spread in your journal, we need to brainstorm what items are necessary for every trip. I will be sharing my list as I create the spread for this blog, but definitely think about the items you have brought on every trip in the past and add them to your essentials list.

I like to keep things organized, so I categorize the items in my list. This will also help when we’re creating our spread!

If your mind is drawing a blank or you’re worried you’re missing out on items, check out the printable for my list of essentials to jog your memory. I’ve also included some doodle ideas you can use in your spread. Don’t forget to add your own must have items to your list, for example if you use contacts or take medication/supplements in your daily life.

image of a thumbnail of a downloadable printable list for packing

Now that we have the list ready, it’s time to decide how we want the spread to look. You can do it real simple with the headings of each category being larger and then list out the individual items in each category. Maybe you could do each category a different color in order to make each section look more cohesive. But if you’re like me and love to letter everything, we can make our packing list a little extra fun.

One word of advice is to sketch your spread with pencil first so you can ensure proper placement and spacing of each category. Also, if you think you’ll need to add some more items in the future, leave a little space for those additions.

Letter the title and category headings in different styles

image of journal with packing essentials written on a dot grid journal and surrounded by archer and olive calliograph and acrylograph

For the title of the spread, go big! And since traveling is generally an exciting time, I like to give it a happy feel by doing bubble letters that seem to pop off the page. Color is optional, you can always stick with black and white, but I figured I’d do a mix of color and black and white for my spread.

image of packing list and different categories lettered in different styles on a dot grid journal surrounded by pens

For each category, I like to do a different lettering style and color so it’s really easy to see where things may be located in the spread. If you’re like me and have lots of items, it can get a bit hard to remember where things are with all the tiny words on the page. Breaking it down by categories, lettering styles and colors really helps keep things feel more organized.

Add doodles to your list

image of art supplies and miscellaneous travel items listed out and surrounded by doodles on a dot grid journal

If you find that you have a lot of extra space, you can add in some doodles. It can be drawings of items on your list or travel and/or packing themed doodles. Since all my categories were in different colors, I decided to do my doodles in black and white so the spread didn’t end up looking too busy with all the different colors and lines.

iimage of packing list items listed out and with related doodles on a dot grid journal

You can also make each category stand out more by adding lines around each section, or in my case, I made it look more like a bulletin board with different types of paper, fliers, post-it notes. It’s not necessary, but it is fun and gives you even more ways to add color to your spread.

doodles of clothing, glasses, toothbrush and tooth paste

Doodling never came easy to me until I started thinking of items in terms of shapes and setting aside the need for them to look real. As long as it has the general shape of the item, folks can tell what it your drawing is. In the video, I demonstrate how I drew the above items that you can include in your spread.


image of packing essentials spread on a dot grid journal surrounded by calliograph and acrylograph

Here is my final spread for all the items I pack every trip. For my upcoming trip to Europe, I can easily refer back to this list to save time on thinking about what I need to pack; I only need to modify accordingly to the weather, events I’ll be partaking in, etc. For example, since I’ll be going in the fall when it is cooler, I know I’ll need to pack clothes I can layer, and since I will be attending a wedding, I know I need to pack a nice dress. But otherwise, it will mostly be items that are on this list!

Packing for a trip can be overwhelming, but with a little pre-planning, future you will be very happy with past you. If you need more ideas for spreads on travel packing, you can check out some past A&O blogs here, here, and here.

Hope you found this blog helpful! If you do create your packing essentials spread and share on social media, don’t forget to tag me (@nolalettering) and @archerandolive and use the hashtags #AOShare and #archerandolive so we can check it out!

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