Packing for a family holiday doesn’t have to be a chore. With careful planning and preparation you can whiz through the process without any stress or worry, even if you’re a single parent traveling!
Follow these tips and you’ll be fine … use our guide as a holiday checklist for your next family trip.
Packing Tips for Traveling With Kids: Holiday Checklist for Families
Keep all of your family’s essential documents together in one safe and secure place. This includes passports, flight tickets, travel insurance numbers and anything else that’s detriment to your holiday. Family holiday packing list.
If your airline allows children to take hand luggage, by all means make use of it. Pack their bags with travel games and toys to save you some space. Check their bags before you leave your home to make sure they haven’t decided to sneak anything inside that will set off the security alarms.
Assign the job of packing to one person so you don’t end up with duplicate items. Exceed your weight limit and you’ll probably get charged extra. Never under any circumstances let your children pack their own baggage.
Make sure that the luggage you’re traveling with passes the zip test, the drop test, the tumble test and the lock test to ensure quality. If traveling through the United States you should ensure you have a suitcase with TSA locking.
It’s easy to lose your children in large crowds, especially if you’ll be visiting tourist destinations. Attach a child locator to your kids’ shoes or belt. If they go missing all you need to do is activate the device and follow the sound.
The second you wash, dry and iron all of your family’s holiday clothes, fold them up and pack them down into suitcases so your family can’t use them. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to worry about the washing just before you leave. Holiday packing list template. Family vacation packing list.
Make sure all of your toiletries are in a zip-up bag. Due to cabin pressure lids often pop off and you don’t want to get any fluid on your belongings. If you are bringing anything in your hand luggage, such as deodorant, pack it in a clear plastic bag for the security checks. Holiday packing list 2 weeks.
Child View Mirror
Renting a car abroad is often far more convenient than relying on shuttle buses or public transport if you’re bringing your whole family. Pack a child view mirror so you can keep watch of your kids when they’re in the back seats.
It’s always worth packing an antihistamine just in case your children suffer from allergies that you weren’t aware of. In addition, Calpol and other over-the-counter medications that combat cold and flu symptoms are also recommended. Holiday packing list for families. Family holiday packing tips.
This is probably one of the easiest things to forget because you’ll need to charge your phone before you leave. Just make sure you have it, and don’t forget an adapter! How to remember to pack your phone charger.
Keep It Simple
Don’t go overboard when you’re packing. There are plenty of things that you can purchase abroad to help save you space and hassle, such as inflatables for the pool, cheap towels and toiletries.
This may seem obvious, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Make a checklist a week or two before your holiday and stick it to your fridge. If you think of any new items during the week, just jot them down. Never wait until the last minute. Packing checklist for a family vacation. What to pack for a family holiday.
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I think a checklist is a great idea for all travelers, even solo ones!
Absolutely agree with you – it doesn’t matter how experiences a traveler you are, I’ve found a checklist is the only sure fire way to make sure you don’t forget anything :)
I’m such a last-minute packer, but you are so right that it would be a nightmare with a family to worry about. I love the check and make sure they didn’t sneak something into their bags that will set off security! lol! Great tip about keeping all travel documents in one place. Returning from Europe a couple months ago, I saw a family who was stuck at customs because one of their kids lost their passport on the plane! It was a total nightmare scenario. No matter how responsible kids seem, keep those travel documents safe!
Haha yes, we’ve had many instances where things that shouldn’t be in the bag have ended up back in the bag from sneaky little boys!!
And documents in one place is really the only way to stay sane :D It’s probably seen by many as OCD, but we go with a folder and file docs in order of date required :) So much nicer being organized and knowing exactly where something is if you need it on the spot.
I can’t even imagine that nightmare of having lost a kids passport!!
Checking luggage with the zip test, the drop test, the tumble test and the lock test is so useful and important! It’s so much better to check beforehand than dealing with problems on a trip, especially with a family.
Absolutely Mary – and problems with luggage are some of the worst to deal with when you’re in the middle of a trip. Would rather sort out any potential issues before we leave :)
I especially like the child tracking device. That would be a parent’s nightmare to lose a child in a crowded place, especially if you’re in a foreign country. One item you might also want to consider is a device called a “bag sentry”. Think of it as a nanny cam for your bag. One of the problems with air travel is thievery. The bag sentry sends you an alert if your bag has been opened and tampered with. It also sends you an alert if your bag is being abused. http://www.sirtripsalot.com/giving-your-luggage-a-voice/
Great tip re the Bag Sentry Ken … I had never heard of that before, but I love the concept!
Although we don’t travel with kids (Thank God! Haha!), your family packing tips can easily be adapted to other travelers, as well. In addition to a phone charger, it is wise to travel with power converters and adaptors. I have been that person in the Frankfurt airport with a low battery, a charger, and no converter. :)
Yes to the power converters and adaptors – something which has become an essential item in my electronics travel kit!
Great advice, particularly about the ‘one packer’ because who needs 4 tubes of toothpaste on a trip!
I always print a copy of all our travel documents. Actually, I print 2 sets, one for me and one for my travel companion which is usually my husband (yes, a bit OCD, I know;-).
Haha yes 4 tubes of toothpaste is probably a little overkill :D
And I wouldn’t worry about 2 sets of documents being OCD … coming from someone who got blocked from accessing email while overseas and didn’t have any print outs, it’s way better to have your bases covered!!
The most important thing to pack is a power board. Most hotels etc only have one power point and today with phones, camera’s, ipads, tablets, laptops we need plenty of power outlet options
Yes, absolutely agree with you on that one – I get so frustrated when I get to a hotel and there’s only one power outlet. And especially when you’re traveling with a family, you have multiple devices to charge each evening, so that’s definitely a must!
Thanks for sharing some great tips. I really like the idea of one packer I think that makes a lot of sense. We even do that on friends trips one person is in charge of everything the group will be using.
You’re welcome Megan! One packer is one of the best things for group trips of any kind. We’ve found that otherwise everything is a shambles!!
Have not had the chance to travel with anyone but this will come handy one day when I have kids! Most of the points also apply to solo traveling. Thanks, Meg!
Agree that many of the above points can be taken and applied to solo traveling – perhaps not the child locator part lol but there are definitely some takeaways that can be applied across the board :)
Traveling with kids changes the whole family dynamic. Well, at least for us since we have an additional member ( my niece) . When we go on family trips now, we have to pack more things to make sure she has everything she needs. We also have to travel to nearer destinations and stop a lot but hey, she makes the trip more fun so we don’t mind.
Definitely makes a trip more fun, and I’ve found you start to experience a destination as a kid yourself! The energy they bring to the table doesn’t compare :)
Happy travels Karla!
The kid photos are adorable! I never even thought about packing lists for them. Great job, nice suggestions.
OMG the feature photo is my favorite … they were too adorable not to use!!
I found the child locator and double checking their bags super helpful! Thanks for sharing your insight!
Glad we could help Danielle! Double checking their bags is the biggest one – getting to security and not knowing what’s really inside the bags is embarrassing lol
Great post. I’ve never heard of a child locator but now I’m going to look into it, thanks!! I’ve forgotten my phone charger enough times I now just have an extra that lives with my travel electronics (adaptor, converter & power bar), and they’re one of the first things I pack. I can live without a lot of things, a dead phone isn’t one of them! (Plus then I’m guessing the child locator wouldn’t work!)
Thanks Kyla! Totally with you on not being able to live without an operational phone! We now have a travel pack of electronics where we keep spare phone chargers just in case – you forget them enough times that they do end up being the first things to pack :D
Definitely look into the child locator – really big aid when you’re overseas :)
When i was younger, my mom brought along long distance walkie talkies on family vacations for us to communicate!!!
Fantastic idea for a vacation!! I may just head out and stock up on some walkie talkies before my next trip :D!
We don’t have kids, but these are still great tips for us too! Thanks for sharing! I always get so worried about forgetting my phone charger–I think I should just buy a spare one to keep in my suitcase at all times! Assigning the packing to one person is a good idea–that way you won’t pack too much and hopefully don’t forget anything thinking someone else packed it!
I’m lucky with the phone charger in that myself and my husband actually both have the same phone. So if one of us forgets it, the other usually has it packed. Lol then it’s just a matter of fighting over who gets to use it at night :D
Some great tips, especially the phone charger – the one important thing I have forgotten.
Thanks Rhonda – the phone charger is something I find is always forgotten! Luckily, the majority of hotels usually keep a stash of chargers from those left over in guest rooms over time. So you can sometimes find one that way. But I always try and make an actual checklist now and include that on it :)
Great tips and even though I am not planning on taking a trip I would like the child tracker as we go to a lot of events in our hometown and I am so afraid I will lose my son. And I have started having panic attacks in crowds. So I also need one for my husband as well as this would keep me calmer. And we all could find each other at any time.
Thanks Glenda :) Haha yes I think I could do with one for my husband too … I always seem to lose him on hikes because he’s run off in chase of amazing wildlife to photograph lol :)
Great list for those taking their kids out on the road for the first time … will make use of this in the future!
Thanks Frank, glad you enjoyed the post! Feel free to bookmark for future reference :)