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Plus you will receive inspiration and tips to launch into your next family adventure.
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This family travel packing checklist is created based on years of family travel with babies to teens. After keeping my personal family vacation packing list on a basic spreadsheet, I decided to spruce it up and share it with your family.
I got tired of making the same list every time our family traveled together, so I started making master packing lists. Now when we travel, I print my checklist and start packing.
I hope this article helps you remember all the things that need to make it in the suitcase for a family trip. I created a printable checklist for you that is prettier than my spreadsheet. Please download it and make your life a little easier!
I first start packing by thinking about what needs to be accessible during our travel days. We will need extra clothes, activities and other necessities while we are in the car or on the plane.
I have carry-on luggage and bags that I don’t need until arrival whether we drive or fly. So I jokingly tell Charles which are the check through bags meaning he can pack them in the trunk or on the roof rack of the SUV.
In the carry-on luggage or bags I need accessible in the car for a road trip I follow this checklist:
An extra outfit for everyone
Crayons or color wonder
Minty chewing gum
Water Bottle (empty for airplane)
ziplock bag for trash
Books or magazines
Earplanes for pressure change
Of course, when you have a baby or toddler (or both) in tow, the amount of baggage grows exponentially. The best bet is to pack light. So if you can do without anything on the checklist, cross it off and keep going.
I added some extra gear – such as the portable high chair that we don’t always take. Of course, if we are in the RV, I take more gear. That’s really more like a home on wheels and what would be the point of a camper if I couldn’t pack some extra gear.
Carry-on Checklist for the Baby or Toddler
Diapers or Pull-ups
Ziplock bag to dispose of diapers
Bottles or sippy cup
Food and snacks
Formula or milk
Carry as much formula or breastmilk as you need through TSA
Clothing and Outerwear
Once all of the carryon items are packed, or at least listed and laid out, I begin on the clothing and outerwear. I follow the essential items to pack in the suitcase because if I didn’t have a list to follow we would forget even more things than we do now!
With our family, I actually list the number of items that we need on the left and make a different color check mark for each person.
For example, a 4-day trip would require 4 pairs of socks for each person, so 4 goes on the left of the socks and I start with 6 different pens for check marks.
Sometimes, I use sticky notes on top of the persons’ pile if its missing – like is something still in the wash.
Otherwise, I print 6 separate sheets, one for each family member. Either way – I use a packing checklist to keep track of the family packing duties.
The kids help pack and learn to follow the checklist too.
Tip: I use these packing cubes for everything
Skirts or Dresses
Short sleeve shorts
Long sleeve shirts
Walking shoes or sneakers
Dirty clothes bags
More Weather Appropriate Outerwear:
Snow or Rain Boots
Mittens, hat, scarf
Chemical Hand Warmers
Sun hat (with chin straps for kids)
Sandals or flip flops
Adventure or Location Specific Gear
Beachwear and cover up
Bag for wet swimsuits
Hiking Pants and boots
Chemical hand warmers
Personal Items and Toiletries
All of our families personal items and toiletries go in one bag together. I put everything in plastic ziplock bags and in a packing cube. I am yet to find an organizer that works for our family. The key is to remember that any items that you bring through TSA security must follow the 3:1:1 rule.
Tip: Remember only one – 1-quart bag with 3 oz liquids and gels
Shampoo and Conditioner
Hairbrush or comb
Hair care products
Curling iron or straightener
Contact lenses and solution
Feminine hygiene products
Razors and shaving cream
Laundry detergent packets
First Aid and Safety
I actually have 2 first aid kits that I travel with. I keep a small ziplock bag in my diaper bag or stroller at all times. You wouldn’t believe how many band-aids I have handed out at playgrounds. Ok, maybe you would believe it.
This small first aid kit stays in the diaper bag or goes in the carry on bag.
A second larger first aid kit goes in my suitcase or in the RV. I carry more of the necessities on the packing checklist. We use the antibiotic, hydrocortisone and burn creams frequently and break out the fever medicine when necessary.
Since the small kit is always with me, I double check the contents against this first aid kit checklist and refill as necessary.
Travel First-aid kit
Anti-itch cream or hydrocortisone cream
Individual eye drops (for dirt in the eyes)
Baby fever medication
Fever and cold medication
Children’s motion sickness pills
Nausea and diarrhea remedies
Vitamin and supplements
Important Documents and Necessities.
During the travel planning process, it is important to keep all the information and important documents organized. When you travel make sure to take photocopies of the information. Photocopies will be very helpful if documents are lost or stolen.
Keep all your travel documents and credit cards organized and safe with this RFID blocking wallet I am still looking for the perfect RFID mobile office/ computer bag – so leave a comment if you have a favorite for a large family.
Also, you can’t always depend on internet access or cell service to access your reservation information. This is a checklist for all the documents and copies you will need to pack. Download and print the family vacation packing checklist to help keep track of the documents and record important information in the spaces on the checklist.
Photocopies of birth certificates
Passport and visas – and photocopies
An extra passport picture to expedite the replacement
Driver’s license or international driving permit
Photocopies of important documents
Travel Insurance information
A hard copy of the travel itinerary
Print out of electronic-tickets and airline reservations
Print boarding passes at home
Rail passes and transportation documents
Hotel or other lodging reservations
Directions to lodging and activities
Car rental confirmations
Membership cards or numbers (AAA, airline, hotel programs)
Health information – doctors contacts, prescriptions, allergies
Doctor’s note – allergies, pregnancy
Pediatrician’s phone number
Health Insurance Information
Medical and vaccination records
Contact information for your bank and credit card companies
Gadgets and Electronics Checklist
The last things I pack are the electronics. Not because that’s the least important, but because I am using those till the last minute. I can’t put my laptop in the travel case a week early. I am a travel blogger after all.
I keep a separate bag, or two for all the electronics. The cords get organized in a bag for accessories and cords because those things are well..everywhere.. and all tangled. I have a couple of these travel electronic accessory organizer to keep the plugs, connectors and cords organized.
Cell phone and charger
Laptop, accessories, and charger
External hard drive
USB cords and connectors
iPad or tablet and charger
Camera, accessories, and charger
Lenses and Filters
Rain Sleeve for the camera
GoPro / Video Recorder
Converters and adapters
Extra memory cards
Electrics organizing bag
Supplies for the Car
Just a quick reminder for a few supplies for the car but a more in-depth reading and checklist for winter driving is here on the blog.
Printed driving directions
Oil and A
Windshield wiper fluid
Extra pillows and blankets
Extra food and water
I hope this family vacation packing checklist makes your travels a little easier! I created it based on my personal large family packing list I keep on a basic spreadsheet.
Please, take advantage of the download I made for you and share with your friends to make their life easier too!
What is your strategy for packing for family vacation? What would you add to this checklist for packing with babies, toddlers, kids
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