Each child carries a small bookbag with:
1 stuffed animal
1 small Blanket
1 Change of clothes
One Portable DVD player and movie (these can be a game-changer on flights)
Their own water bottle
Remember, you won’t likely need to bring all of these items! Try to pair down as much as possible depending on factors such as whether you are flying or driving, what is provided where you are staying, and what is easier bought once you get there.
What to Pack and Where to Pack It
No matter how many trips we take, we always use a packing list. We start with a detailed master list that even includes what to put where, get rid of any items we don’t want to take, and then get packing! Find our Master List below, and edit our system to work for you.
Master Packing List
Baby and Toddler Gear (In Diaper Bag/Car)
Car seat/Booster Seats
Diapers /Swim diapers
Pack n’ Play/ Sheet/ Bedding
First-aid kit (In a Gallon Zip Lock in Diaper Bag)
Child and regular Tylenol
Tummy trouble /Motion sickness meds
Inhaler/Epi-Pen/other emergency meds
Outdoor Gear (Wear Jackets and Sneakers, Pack the rest in Luggage)
Water shoes/Flip flops
Fillable water bottle
Paper towels/napkins/toilet paper Antibacterial wipes
Important Documents (In a Folder in the Diaper Bag)
Photocopies of birth certificates
Copies of E-tickets
Itinerary with Hotel reservations, plane info, car reservations, maps
Membership credit cards (AAA, frequent flier)
Personal Items and Hygiene (In a Zip Lock in Luggage)
Spray in conditioner
Lip balm/Make up
Extra Zip-locks, plastic, and canvas bags
Travel sized detergents for dishes and laundry
Clothing and Accessories (In Luggage)
Gadgets/Entertainment (In Purse, or Kid’s Backpacks)
Cell phone/Laptop and chargers
Portable DVD player and movies
Toys (each child may pack one ziplock of toys in their little bags)
A Few Tips…
Wear sneakers, jackets, and jewelry rather than packing them. This saves space and keeps small things from getting lost.
If Flying, check car seats at the entrance to the airport if possible (but not if there’s a possibility of missing your flight!). Many airlines will check these for free, and allow you to check strollers right at boarding, but you may want to check in advance.
Carrying all the stuff seems to work best for us if one parent wears the baby in the airport, even through security. We usually have a stroller as well, but we pile the car seats on it until they can be checked.
One parent carries on the diaper bag (a bookbag will save you from shoulder pain) with First Aid Kit zip lock bag inside
Each parent pulls a rolling bag that can be checked at the entrance with the rest. If we can’t fit it in two rolling suitcases, we’re not bringing it.
We like to think through a grocery list for when we get there, and decides what’s worth bringing and what’s easier purchased upon arrival.
Packing a few days before gives you time to launder any items that need washing, and purchase anything that is missing or not in good shape. Packing weeks before may leave you searching for items you’ve packed and still need to use at home!
Some families like to bring a portable potty on road trips for our younger passengers.
If it’s a road trip, you might as well take a cooler full of snacks and whatever will go bad before you come back. Don’t forget any necessary utensils and you may need a can opener for some of your snacks.
We don’t love lots of screen time for the kids, but there are exceptions! We have actually been complimented on how well our kids behaved on flights when we allowed them to watch a DVD on a portable DVD player while flying!
Big Family Trips
We are a family with four young children who enjoys using rewards cards to take awesome vacations, and sharing and writing about what we have learned and where we have gone. We sometimes use affiliate links in our posts. This means that if you click a link on our website and then choose to buy the product or service, we get a small commission. We only link to products and services we have personally used and recommend.
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