Family trips can quickly become stressful and overwhelming when you’re unprepared, especially if you have young children. We’ve learned from experience that a well-planned packing checklist can make a huge difference, so we’ll be sharing our best family travel tips in this post, plus a free PDF checklist to make your next trip a breeze!
Stress-Free Family Travel Tips
Preparation is everything when it comes to family travel. Before creating a detailed packing list, you’ll need to know what to expect from your destination. Ask yourself these questions:
- What will the weather be like?
- What activities do you have planned (indoor, outdoor, active, etc.)?
- What are the cultural norms in your destination?
We recommend getting your travel prep out of the way a few days before you leave, because there’s nothing worse than cramming your suitcase at the last minute.
Create a Packing Checklist
You’ll need a packing checklist so you don’t forget anything important. Our advice is to start with the basics, like clothing and toiletries, then add more items that are specific to your destination after that. (You can sign up for our newsletter to get the free checklist at the bottom of this page, so don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start!)
It may also be helpful to make a separate list for each family member. If your kids are old enough to help, ask them to bring you the items on the packing list. A few days before the trip, look it over one more time to make sure you have everything you need, and adjust it if necessary.
The last thing you want to do while traveling with children is to over pack. Try to limit quantities and choose versatile clothing items you can mix and match throughout your trip. A pair of jeans is a great example, and you can wear them while traveling to and from your destination to save space in your luggage since jeans can be bulky and heavy. And the same goes for sneakers. Travel-sized toiletries can also help you make room for any souvenirs or unexpected purchases.
Packing cubes and compression bags are lifesavers for family trips. We also recommend putting all your toiletries into a small toiletry bag, and bringing a couple of plastic bags for dirty clothes or wet swimwear. If you tend to be an over-packer, consider maximizing your luggage space with one of these hacks.
Don’t Forget the Snacks!
Pack some healthy snacks (and water bottles if you travel by car) to keep everyone energized while traveling. You can save a lot of money by bringing non-perishable snacks to eat in the car, airport, or on the plane. Also, you should bring thermos water bottles for everyone, especially the little kids, to keep cold water handy on the trip.
Travel Essentials: What To Pack For a Family Trip
The exact items you bring along with you on your next trip should be adjusted to your destination and activities. To help you get started, here are some of the basic essentials you won’t want to forget in your suitcase:
- Clothing: Depending on the weather, pack some
versatile shirts, shorts, pants,
dresses, underwear, and socks for each family
member. Don’t forget pajamas for the night, and extra clothes, underwear, and
socks for the little ones! You might also want to bring either a light jacket or sweater for outings in the evening.
When traveling with kids, a smart packing tip is to organize each child's underwear and socks in a Ziploc bag for hassle-free retrieval during the trip.
- Footwear: Pack sneakers, sandals or flip-flops that are suitable for the activities you have planned.
- Toiletries: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, hair brushes and combs, vitamins, and insect repellent are some of the toiletry essentials you’ll need.
- First Aid: Pack a first aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic, pain relievers, motion sickness medicine, and any prescriptions.
- Swimwear and Sunblock: If you plan to spend time at the beach or pool during your trip, pack swimsuits and plenty of sunblock.
- Electronics: Make sure to pack chargers and adapters suitable for the destination's electrical outlets. Safely store your devices in protective cases or sleeves to avoid any damage during travel. Additionally, consider carrying power banks for on-the-go charging and organizing cables neatly to avoid tangling.
Download Our Free PDF Printable Travel Checklist
Your next family trip can be a memorable experience with proper planning. Below is the packing list you can print out for your next vacation. If you'd like the PDF version, join to our newsletter. Just add your email to the subscription box at the end of this page, we’ll send you a free download of our travel packing list and much more!