We Test The Holiday Packing Apps

22 March 2015
Read Time: 4.1 mins

Words By Lizzie Porter 

Do you need an app to help you manage what to pack for business or holiday travel? Telegraph Travel rates some of the available applications, and decides if they are worth the download

For those in search of help packing for a trip, there is a bewildering choice of apps available. A quick search for "packing list" on the App Store brings up 140 possible downloads, which might leave one tempted to eschew them all in favour of a scrap of paper and a pencil to jot down items that you are likely to forget. But these apps can be helpful, especially if you're juggling multiple trips and are determined not to forget the essential but easily missed items you'll require.

To help you choose the most suitable packing app, Telegraph Travel has tested some of the most popular options to find out which are really worth downloading.


A packing list app for all types of travel, from business to leisure, cruises to camping. An unlimited number of lists can be created. It claims to facilitate trips by not only helping with packing but also by supporting notifications and due dates (such as deadlines for online flight check-in).

TripList: Items can be ticked off and then disappear satisfyingly from the “unchecked items” screen

What’s good

Items are clearly categorised: clothing, documents, electronics, family, medical, miscellaneous, outdoors, tasks and toiletries; users can create their own categories (although it seems strange to categorise "tasks" as an item - it might have been better to create a separate category called "things to do", for example).

Items can be ticked off and then disappear from the “unchecked items” screen, but are still visible if you flick to the “checked items” tab, so you can see what you've already packed.

Items can be added to categories using the “+” button at the bottom of the screen, but a quick-add feature allows multiple items to be added to one category at once.

Should you have forgotten an item or need to source it, online searches (Google or Amazon) can be conducted by pressing and holding.

What’s not so good

Buttons for features in the paid-for version appear in the free app but when they are clicked on a message pops up saying that the feature won’t work without the “PRO” version.

The quick-add feature is not entirely intuitive: the button to the right of the box in which one adds items – where one is drawn to press having added the desired items – actually pulls up an option that either deletes or ticks off all the items you have just added to the list.

The free version has adverts.

Price – free

The bottom line: worth the download? Yes.

Travel List

Travel List bills itself as a start-to-finish travel app, with a calendar function for scheduling in departure and return dates for multiple trips. Each list users create is split into three parts - "trip schedule", "alerts" (for before-you-go reminders) and "packing".

What’s good

Well designed

Easy to navigate

What’s not so good

A lot of the “Schedule” section feels just like using the existing calendar feature on iPhone and doesn’t seem to add much value to information users would already have stored.

Items can only be added to the packing list from a pre-selected drop down menu, and not everything is in it – it didn’t recognise “cagoule”, for example. This makes adding them confusing (I couldn’t work out if it was possible). So not 100 per cent user friendly.

Items are also pre categorised: eg "clothing", "personal care" and the option to create one's own category is hidden right at the bottom of the list.

Price – £1.49 (A$2.85)

The bottom line: worth the download? No

Fast Lists

Not specifically travel-related, this app allows users to create unique lists and operates as a "check list" where you can tick off items. The focus is on lists you would want to reuse.

What’s good

It's simple: if you just want a list of items under a category heading, such as "cruise trip", then it does the job.

Sub-lists can be created.

What’s not so good

It's too easy to delete your list's name and not easy enough to enter it to see all the items you have logged

A handy "quantity" button allows you to add multiples of the same item, for example "knickers: 8", but this number does not show up when looking at the page summarising all the items in the list.

Items aren't categorised into groups like "clothing", "documents" - with many items it could all become a bit too random.

It doesn't seem to add much to the "Reminders" function already available to iPhone users.

Price – free

The bottom line: worth the download? No

Mammut Packing List

Designed for adventure travellers, this app enables groups to create and share lists of serious gear. It has been developed by Mammut Sports Group AG, a Swiss producer of mountaineering and trekking equipment.

What’s good

The pre-created trip type lists - "expedition", "bouldering", "snow shoe hiking" have comprehensive lists of everything you might need for the type of trip in question. For example, the "hiking/trekking" list, for which you can choose a duration ("day trip" and "overnight in bivouac" are options), includes everything from hand cream to an altimeter.

What’s not so good

The pre-created trip type lists are too specific.

While the comprehensive lists of everything you might need are visible as soon as you download the app, to actually create a list, you have to create an account and log in, which is irritating.

Some items are clearly labelled into categories such as "clothing" and "technical equipment", but the "miscellaneous" section is far too long and includes everything from GPS to insect repellent.

There is no obvious function for creating alerts or reminders.

Price – free

The bottom line: worth the download? No.


This app is designed for travellers and allows items to be categorised into favourites. Pre-selected lists of items are already available but an individual's own items can be added.

What’s good

The app incorporates functions for all parts of a trip, from "to do (pre-trip)" to "medical and health".

It is clear which items have been ticked off your packing list and which haven't.

What’s not so good

When users add sub-lists, the app layout quickly become highly confusing and it is not easy to move between tabs/pages. The function allowing users to "add new item in new category" comes right at the bottom of the list of items previously added, meaning some serious scrolling is required.

By clicking on one button, it is all too easy to add whole pre-prepared lists of items to one's inventory: you could end up with hundred of unwanted items on your list.

Too much information! Do we really need to choose, in an app, which bag, from a choice of six, every item is going to be stowed in?

The function allowing users to assign articles to members of the family might be useful for those travelling as a group. However, this categorisation doesn't obviously appear next to the item afterwards, making it seem a bit redundant. This is, apparently, a feature with better functionality in the "pro" version of the app, which costs £1.99 (A$3.70)

1.8Price - £0.69 (A$1.20)

The bottom line: worth the download? No