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If you are planning a family vacation this is the must-have travel packing list for a family trip.   By the end of this list – you will not be asking “what should I pack for a family trip?”  You will be armed with a family and kids packing checklist so you don’t leave anything behind.

First off – we have a 15-page printable checklist to accompany this article.  If you want to print this family vacation packing checklist go here. 

We have 6 kids (baby to adult) that we have traveled with.  This family vacation packing checklist has been created based on years of family travel with kids (babies, toddlers, teens, and every age in between).

After keeping my personal family vacation packing list on a basic excel 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.

By the way – have you seen our step-by-step guide to planning a perfect family vacation?  That is the ultimate article taking you through each step of planning a family vacation with a free printable template.   We even included some tips about leaving the house and the day you return home.  Anyway, I’ll probably remind you at the end of the planning resources we have for you.

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.


Carry-on bag packing list

In the carry-on luggage or bags I need accessible in the car for a road trip I follow this packing checklist.  I make sure to have a change of clothes and jammies in a carry-on bag for me and each child.

Changes of clothes are so important when traveling with kids.  Spills, dirt, potty accidents – anything can happen.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed to change my clothes after being spit up on by a baby or thrown up on by a toddler.

If we get delayed, stop at a hotel, or travel late at night I can change the kids into their jammies.  Also, the jammies are handy as a third set of clothes if you need them.


An extra outfit for everyone
Extra Underwear
2 books for each kid
Crayons or color wonder
Travel Pillow
Light Blanket
Stuffed Animal
Travel journal
Hand sanitizer
Lip balm
Moist towelettes
Minty chewing gum
Water Bottle (empty for airplane)
ziplock bag for trash
Books or magazines
Earplanes for pressure change
Eye mask
Portable electronics

Of course, when you have a baby or toddler (or both) in tow, the amount of baggage grows exponentially.   I know, I said  Although I said this checklist is the must-have travel packing list for a family trip, but 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
Diaper cream
Changing pad
Nursing pads
Bottles or sippy cup
Baby Spoon
Food and snacks
Formula or milk
Carry as much formula or breastmilk as you need through TSA
Portable plate
Extra clothes


Additional Baby and Toddler Travel Accessories

Packing the Suitcases – Start with 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
Long underwear
Walking shoes or sneakers
dress shoes
Dirty clothes bags

More Weather Appropriate Outerwear to Pack:

Winter Coats
Rain Coats
Snow or Rain Boots
Snow Pants
Mittens, hat, scarf
Lightweight Jackets
Chemical Hand Warmers
Sun hat (with chin straps for kids)
Sandals or flip flops

Things to Pack for an Adventure

Beachwear and cover up
Beach towel
Beach toys
Collapsible buckets
Bag for wet swimsuits
Hiking Pants and boots
Sleeping bag
Trekking Poles
Camping equipment
Silverware/ cutlery
Water bottle
Chemical hand warmers

Personal Items and Toiletry Packing List


What should I pack in my toiletries bag?

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
Body Soap
Dental floss
Hairbrush or comb
Hair care products
Hair dryer
Curling iron or straightener
Eye drops
Contact lenses and solution
Feminine hygiene products
Razors and shaving cream
Travel towel
Laundry detergent packets

Pack a Travel First Aid Kit for 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
Triple Antibiotic
Anti-itch cream or hydrocortisone cream
Bug spray
Aloe vera
Burn Cream
Individual eye drops (for dirt in the eyes)
Baby fever medication
Fever and cold medication
Pain reliever
Allergy pills
Children’s motion sickness pills
Prescription medications
Nausea and diarrhea remedies
Vitamin and supplements
Sewing kit
Coconut oil
Water purifier

List of Essential Travel Documents

During the travel planning process, it is important to keep all the information and important documents organized.

You should be aware of the documents that are required to travel with kids.  TSA, different countries and each airline have rules about travleing with a babies and kids.  We have a comprehensive guide to the rules for traveling with a baby here.

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
Cruise Tickets
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
Credit Cards
ATM Card
Calling card
Contact information for your bank and credit card companies

Must have travel packing list for a family trip. 

Download and Print the Family Vacation Packing Checklist for FREE right now.  Plus you will receive inspiration and tips to launch into your next family adventure.   

Travel Accessories: 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 suitcase 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 Bag
Camera, accessories, and charger
Lenses and Filters
Extra batteries
Rain Sleeve for the camera
GoPro / Video Recorder
Converters and adapters
Extra memory cards
Power Strip
Wifi Card
Electrics organizing bag

Preparing Your Car for Travel

Just a quick reminder for a few supplies for the car but a more in-depth reading and checklist for road trip and winter driving is here on the blog.

Printed driving directions
Jump pack
Jumper cables
Oil and Antifreeze
Ice scraper
Windshield wiper fluid
Extra pillows and blankets
Extra food and water

Wrapping up the must-have travel packing list for a family trip

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.  Except now I use this nice version that I created for you.

Please, take advantage of the family packing printable checklist that I made for you and share it with your friends to make their life easier too!

More resources for planning your perfect family vacation:


What would you add that is a must-have item for your family vacation?  Did I miss anything on this family vacation packing list?