When our family travels (and we do that a lot, considering our closest relatives are hundreds of miles away), I want to be organized. For ages, I would make lists of what needed to be packed for vacation, then checked things off as they went into whatever bags they belonged in.

Eventually, my brilliant husband said, “Why don’t you make a list on the computer of the things you always pack so you don’t have to write the same list every time?”

Did I mention he’s brilliant?

So I did it; I made up a list of the typical things we packed on vacation, then wrote the things we’d need for a particular vacation on the page I printed out when we went on a trip. Things like shampoo & conditioner, deodorant, underwear, pants (yes, we went on a trip when I forgot his pants once) … these things were on the permanent list. Things specific to our trip-at-hand (swimsuits for the Summer vacation, collapsable rolling box for the homeschool conference trip, notebooks and pencils for the weekend of religious ed classes) were still hand-written at the bottom.

Then Steve Jobs invented the iPod Touch and the iPhone, and the world rejoiced! And crazy have-to-be-organized people like me started creating apps that did the job without printing out a piece of paper! And so we come to Packing Pro: the best app there is for preparing for a trip!

I was good at making lists for before, during, and after vacation. Packing Pro brings my neurosis to a whole new level.

Do you want something to remind you to put your prescription medicine in your bag? (*sigh* Yes, I forgot that one time, too.)

Do you need something to write down your cash budget for the trip?

Do you want to share that packing list with your kids so they can pack their own bags with a checklist YOU arranged? (Oh, my gracious…YES MORE THAN YOU KNOW TO THAT LAST QUESTION!)

Packing Pro is for you. I kid you not, my 14- and 11-year-old daughters have been packing their own bags for vacation - with success! - for more than 3 years because of this app. I kid you not, I gave them a list for a 2 ½ week trip to Florida and they lacked for nothing when we were there.

Not only can you create a list for each trip you’re taking, but you can have a template list of items you need for a specific kind of trip (which is handy if you’re a business traveler).

You can also arrange a list of items for each person in your family: Dad has a list of things to be packed, so does Mom, so does each child in the family. You can create lists, add categories to the app, then add items to the categories as needed.

Perfect example of creating categories: There is no “Religious Stuff” category, so I made one. In it, I created items (you can even add descriptions, weight, who should pack it, what bag it belongs in, etc.) including Rosaries, missals for Mass, candles and matches, Bible, and the Catechism.

I created a category called “Kitchen Stuff” because we frequently go to timeshares with full kitchens. In this category, I have sub-categories for storage items and actual food I need to bring. (Remember that whole “write a menu” post from before? It comes in handy for this!)

I created a category that my children lament: Homeschool Supplies. BWAHAHAHA! Each book we need, each TE I need, gets added to the list. If we are doing an art project that will require markers, that’s on there. Am I scrapbooking? Scissors! Glue! Possibilities are endless!!

I’m such a geek, I get excited just describing all the organization you can achieve with this app.

Packing Pro has pre-vacation, mid-vacation, and post-vacation lists already made for you.

Traveling internationally? (Lucky you!) Don’t forget to check exchange rates, update your passport, and print boarding passes.

Is someone watering your plants and feeding your cat? Don’t forget to give them a key and your itinerary before you go! Have you called the post office to stop your mail while you’re away? Unplug your appliances? Turn down the A/C and the water heater? Did you purchase any tickets for activities on vacation?

I’ll admit to not using the mid- and post-vacation lists as much, because those are usually the same for me: have fun, do laundry, put the luggage away. But they’re there, in case you need reminding about calling to check in on the dog.

I think what I love best is how much you can customize this app. I can delete things from lists I know I’ll never use, I can add things I know I always will use, I can save templates, create child-specific lists, and even sync the app through iCloud! I also have the option to share a list through Bump, via email, or even through iTunes as a shared file.

Even though I don’t print my own list, I will often print a list for my children to use and check off as they pack their own suitcases for our trips. (For our most recent trip, I emailed the list to my girls and they printed a copy off for themselves, but I could also send it to my iPod Touch from my iPhone and allow them to check items off on the iPod, only to sync again later.)

My girls love the independence it gives them, I love that I’m not packing their bags. (Definitely a win-win!)

I just got a good look at the iPad screen shots (the app is universal for Apple products), and holy cow! Even better-looking, and it looks like it’s going to be even easier to use that way! At only $2.99, this is a steal as far as I’m concerned. I have saved many times that by not forgetting something and then needing to go buy it later. (Someday, I’ll tell you about how I forgot my toiletry bag and had to shop at the Piggly Wiggly in Edisto Island and pay about a billion times more for everything.)

QuinnScape’s website is found here. You can read about Packing Pro in the App Store here.

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Copyright 2012 Christine Johnson