Essential Family Vacation Packing List – Must-Haves For Traveling with Kids

It’s your first vacation as a family, and you may be at a complete loss for how to get started. Vacations are meant to be constant times of rest and relaxation, but for families with young children, they can often feel additionally complicated due to the different packing restrictions and requirements you’ll need to deal with in order to have everything in place for your little ones. Travel packing lists for a baby and packing list for travel with kids are helpful guides when determining just what you need to have a good experience on your latest trip.

Travel essentials for families can range the gamut from simple to complicated depending on where you’re traveling and for how long. If you are traveling around the US with a baby, you are likely to find most essentials you need, but in other countries, you might not be familiar with the local items, so packing what you need might be helpful, especially at the beginning of the trip.

Everything from suitcases to portable strollers and highchairs needs to be considered so that your family can experience a restful vacation that doesn’t disrupt your baby’s schedule. Wherever you’re headed, make sure to check our travel checklist for a family to ensure you’ve got everything you need to have a great time.

Travel Essentials For Family Trips

Carry-on and Suitcases

Perhaps the most obvious but most important suggestion to remember, carry-on bags and suitcases are essential for successful travel. Adults need large and sturdy bags to pack not only their own clothes and supplies into but also additional supplies for children and babies traveling. Tucking extra diapers, baby wipes, creams, including diaper rash remedies, medicines, and extra blankets into suitcases provides a solid and reliable way to store your little one’s needs without having to rely on a hundred smaller bags that are difficult to manage in an airport or on the road.

As for your toddlers or older children, they might begin to feel left out if they don’t have their own carry-on for kids to tow. If you’re juggling multiple children of multiple ages, giving your older kids suitcases of their own not only gives them a way to feel like they’re contributing but also helps distribute packing so you’re not lugging everything around in addition to your children.

Travel Neck Pillow

Travel on airplanes, cars, buses, or trains can be hard on the body, and often when in transport you might find yourself wishing you could just close your eyes and take a nap. Transportation is famously uncomfortable and not predisposed to good sleeping locations, so a good way to minimize your discomfort and still catch a few hours of sleep as you fly or ride is to pack travel neck pillows. Compact but comfortable, these neck pillows pad your sleep and are useful anywhere.

Neck pillows for children also make comfortable resting spots for them to use when they fall asleep for their daily nap or evening rest. Neck pillows can also double as regular pillows if you don’t have the space or luxury to fit a full-size pillow on your journey. Wherever you’re headed, your neck pillow will be a comfortable and cushioning addition.

Packing Cubes

When you’re planning slightly longer trips, even international such as a tour to Italy or a European tour, you might find your list of must-pack items growing larger than the space you have afforded for storage. If you’re nervous about fitting all the clothes, toiletries, and other essentials for your trip, packing cubes are the perfect answer. The space-efficient storage tools can organize and maximize your storage space and packing space as well as provide good sorting and storage use when you’re on vacation, as you could take them out and use them as extra storage or shelving in your room.

Packing cubes that are vacuum sealable are extremely space efficient and can help fit any number of clothes, towels, or bedding into even the smallest of bags. Keep toiletries isolated and protected in the case of spills with weather-resistant polyester bags and use an extra large cube for storing dirty laundry. Packing cubes have endless uses and are helpful everywhere you go!

Travel Backpacks

Traveling with children often means having a few travel must-haves for families immediately accessible and ready everywhere you go at a moment’s notice. This could include diapers, food, milk, water, a change of clothes, nappies, and more, not to mention a seemingly endless supply of comfort items such as toys, books, coloring tools, or stuffed animals and blankets. If your little ones need a lot of entertainment and necessities on the go, travel backpacks are a must-have item.

Travel backpacks are useful tools for both adults and kids. Adult travel backpacks can hold any number of parenting essentials and you can even find backpacks that double as baby holders for when your little one needs a break. Children-sized travel backpacks help your little ones feel autonomous and give them access to their own immediate needs whenever they want them. On hikes, day trips, flights, or other excursions, travel backpacks are a true lifesaver for families.

Tent for camping

If your family loves camping, one of the essentials to have is a solid 4-person tent. To make sure your trip runs smoothly and without awkward breaking, you want it durable and strong. To make sure you have it always ready when needed, you want it lightweight and easy to set up.

Truth is, you never know what type of terrain you are going to set it up on. While it’s recommended to have some pre-travel plan, it’s not always easy to predict everything, including the weather conditions.

If this is the first time you are purchasing such an important travel item for your family travel, you really need to make sure you do enough research on what are the best 4-person tents for different types of budgets and trips. Depending on the size of your family, you will also need to consider the different sizes and capacities of your future camping tent.

Folding travel water bottle

Staying hydrated on the go is an absolute must. Not only will your travel plans likely require a fair amount of physical activity, but they often involve different climates or locations than you’re used to, some of which could have hotter temperatures that dehydrate you faster.

However, you don’t have the space or luxury of packing the many water bottles or glasses you use on a regular basis, especially if you’re going on a nature-based adventure with your family and little ones. In the event of a family excursion, you’re going to want a folding travel water bottle or two with you.

Folding travel water bottles collapse easily into flat and compact bottles that rest comfortably anywhere. Great for flying with, these folding bottles flatten out to make it through security and expand again comfortably during plane rides. You can find these in many different sizes to accommodate both adults and children, and they wash easily for efficient and hygienic transport.

Toiletry bags, TSA-approved travel bottles and containers

Traveling with cosmetics and other toiletries is a nightmare for many. When you’re flying, you’re only allowed to take certain sizes of items in carry-ons due to safety concerns, and the rest must go in stored or checked luggage. In checked luggage, however, your bag is tossed and stacked a bit more roughly, meaning loose bottles can easily spill and damage or destroy many of the clothes you’ve so carefully packed. Travel bottles and toiletry bags are designed to secure cosmetics and other loose toiletries on the go so you won’t have to worry about spills.

I use small travel bottles and containers to carry different things, from my day and night creams to my toner, mouthwash, and all the stuff that usually I have in bigger sizes at home. When I travel, I carry everything “travel-size” that won’t add too much weight but that will still last long enough until I go back home.

Travel Toys and Games for Children

Children can easily become bored on travel, and when little ones are bored, things can become a hassle very quickly. The last thing a tired parent needs is a child asking “are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet?” as they travel or to be constantly entertaining their child and managing airport or other transportation plans. Travel toys and games are compact and easy sources of entertainment for your children that will keep them entertained and distracted so parents can focus on getting from place to place in one piece.

Travel toys and games can be themed on all sorts of other things, including road-trip style, flight style, or more. Designed to fit into tight spaces and travel easily without requiring a lot of time or energy to set up, travel toys and games will be a traveling family’s best friend and are must-have travel essentials for family.

Digital Luggage Scale

When you’re packing up to fly for a vacation, you might find that your luggage is beginning to weigh a lot more than usual. The additional essentials you require when you’re traveling with a little one begin to add even more weight to your suitcase than you might have predicted, saddling you with overage fees and heavy bags that are expensive to fly with and impossible to maneuver around airports or in taxis. Digital luggage scales give you an idea of what to prepare for and help you plan your packing smartly from the get-go.

A digital luggage scale gives you an immediate and accurate read on your baggage weight, helping you pack to stay under your airline’s suitcase requirements so you’re not caught off guard with an expensive overweight fee you’re not prepared to pay. Use the luggage scale to help you get an idea of where your suitcase is sitting and plot out what can go where for an effective packing strategy. You can also use the scale to figure out how much weight you’ll be lugging around so you can mentally prepare for where and how you’ll be storing your things, another valuable tool to add to your packing list for travel with the kids.

Baby Stroller for Traveling

A foldable and compact stroller is another must-purchase for parents. As you travel, you want a stroller that folds up simply and effortlessly into a small and portable size. Whether it needs to tuck into a plane’s stowaway container or into the trunk of a car, your compact stroller design should be slim, thin, and easy to carry. You can unfold it anywhere and use it on any terrain to help cart baby and baby’s necessities around comfortably without having to rent a stroller or juggle all of your baby’s needs in backpacks or other bags.

As a parent, a secure and reliable baby stroller for travel is a must have part of your new routine. Regardless of your specific needs, a compact design and additional storage features on travel strollers allow you to travel with your stroller and your baby conveniently, taking a burden off your shoulders and allowing you to fully enjoy your travels with your new family.

Camera for Travel

Family vacations are sweet and sentimental moments you’re going to want to capture forever. Your new and growing family is a precious gift, and the early moments and memories you’re making together are things you and your children will look back on for the rest of your lives. Make sure you have a tangible way to remember these sweet moments by packing a camera for travel to ensure you can capture all your favorite moments live and preserve your memories forever.

Disposable or reusable cameras can both provide permanent memories of your exciting new trip. These days many people have good cameras on their phones as well, but you may find that bringing a separate camera designed especially to capture travel memories prods you to take nice-looking photos more often, creating valuable keepsakes you can treasure for years.

Portable High Chair

High chairs are staples of eating with young children. Many little ones are simply too small to support themselves as they eat, especially in unfamiliar locales or places with tables and dining sets that are not meant for children. Having a high chair means your baby or toddler can eat comfortably and safely in a chair they’re familiar with, making the sometimes difficult ritual of eating easy and familiar.

Not every high chair is designed to travel conveniently, however. In this case, a portable high chair is essential to your travel plans. Flying is made easier with a portable and compact high chair that can tuck into stowaway containers on planes. Even driving on road trips is more convenient with a small high chair that’s designed to fold and travel easily.

Baby Carriers to Travel With a Baby or Toddler

Take your baby with you everywhere in a safe and comfortable baby carrier that securely nestles your baby on you as you walk about your latest adventure as a family. When strollers aren’t allowed or are difficult to travel with, a baby carrier can keep your little one close to you and make travel easy, convenient, and relaxing for you and your baby.

A baby carrier that can comfortably handle hot weather, cold weather, stains, sweat, rain, and more will be a versatile and functional part of your family routine. Baby carriers are key parts of your family security and ensure your baby is comfortable and cared for while you go about your day. Picking a supportive, secure, and reliable baby carrier that lasts your child a long time is essential to easing your new family into a relaxing vacation.

Compression Socks For Traveling And Flying

Flying with your family for the first time? Consider investing in compression socks. An underutilized but valuable flying tool for adults and kids, compression socks can reduce the painful clots, circulation issues, and other swelling caused by flying. Preventing swollen legs, aching feet, and the threat of more serious diseases like deep vein thrombosis or other damage is easier than ever thanks to compression socks.

You should check with a doctor to see if your little ones need compression stockings, but adults should definitely purchase a pair or two for your flight. Especially if you’ll be hauling around extra luggage and holding little ones while they sleep, your legs and feet will be tired enough as it is. Compression socks reduce the pain and soreness of flying and standing and promote happy foot health for your entire family.

Toiletry Bags to Pack Your Cosmetics

Cosmetic containers can also make for easy and mess-free storage of baby essentials on the go. If your little one needs certain creams, lotions, or other treatments to help keep them happy and healthy, a cosmetic container can make those readily accessible in the car or in other locations. Toss in sunscreen mess-free and say goodbye to the days of wiping up spilled or excess lotions from every surface in your car. A hanging toiletry bag can organize all your cosmetic supplies immediately and hang on the backs of doors, strollers, or car seats for easy access to what you need when you need it.

You can find all types of toiletry bags, for men, for women, for children, in leather, mesh, with zipping, buttons, waterproof, with pockets and more. After all the years I spent abroad traveling around the world from Italy, Iran, Afghanistan, China, India, I wouldn’t be able to see myself packing without a good toiletry bag. I do carry quite a few cosmetics with me, and I usually have a small bag for TSA-approved containers and a bigger one to pack in the checked luggage.

Portable Blender For Traveling

A portable travel blender is a great tool for parents with young children or babies who are beginning to transition into solid food and eating patterns. Formula and other growth mixes can blend easily anywhere with a travel blender that plugs into hotel rooms or sometimes even car power ports for simple use. You can also mix up other baby foods, vegetables, or other foods and make them into a soft and gentle liquid that’s the right consistency for your baby.

The travel blender can also be a good travel plan for families who eat healthy. Love protein shakes or other smoothies that are staple parts of your diets? It’s easy to save money and whip up some food in the comfort of your own room that meets your diet plan and home routine without costing you money and time.

Traveling with a family is an exciting but complicated process that requires some additional care and forethought in order to execute properly and successfully. Organizing your family vacation is simpler than ever with a travel checklist for family, helping you not to forget important details and keeping you on track for a positive experience. Turn your family vacations into lifelong memories with careful planning and thorough preparation thanks to our packing list for families.

about me: Angela Corrias
About the author

I'm Angela Corrias, an Italian journalist, photographer, and travel writer located in the heart of Italy's capital. Welcome to my website, your comprehensive source for your travels and expert guidance for crafting your dream travel experience.

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