Packing List Toolkit

Packing List Toolkit

What to bring on your family history vacation

First, here’s what not to take along on your family history vacation: your original files, photos or documents. But do make room in your suitcase for these family history “road warrior” essentials:

• Paper for note-taking (some archives don’t allow spiral-bound notebooks)

• Pens, pencils and pencil sharpener or mechanical pencil with plenty of refills (pens are forbidden in many libraries, so always pack pencils, too)

• Camera, flash, tripod and film; consider investing in a close-up lens for copying documents (ask permission before photographing in archives)

• Maps

• Change for photocopiers

• Essential charts and lists of what information you want to find where

• Self-addressed stamped envelopes to leave behind

• File folders

• Comfortable shoes

• Magnifying glass


• Insect repellent and umbrella if you plan to explore cemeteries and other outdoor sites

• Rice paper and crayons for tombstone rubbings (again, ask permission)

• Tape recorder for dictating notes or for taping an on-site translator

• Video camcorder

• Laptop computer with copies of your files

• Handheld scanner

• Gloves and trowel for clearing around tombstones, plus a plastic trash bag to kneel on

• Business cards with your name and address to leave behind


• Passport

• Voltage converter

• Little souvenirs or postcards from home you can leave as thank-you gifts

• Thick-soled shoes that can stand up to cobblestone streets

• Proper clothing — nix the white sneakers, sweat pants and sports-logo shirts
From the June 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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