The essential packing list for a trip with the family
Vacationing with the family is a great chance to spend some quality time with your loved ones. It’s a great occasion to have fun all together and get some well-deserved relaxation. The less relaxing part is packing for a family trip. It’s easy to overthink things and pack too many clothes while forgetting some other smaller, but more important items.
That’s why we’ve compiled a packing list of what to put in your luggage for a family trip, no matter your vacation destination. Here are the most important 21 items to bring on holiday with the family:
1. Important documents
This might seem redundant to mention, but we all know a story of someone having to rush to the airport because a person in the family forgot their passport. If you’re able to travel internationally, put your passport and travel insurance next to your keys to make sure you won’t forget them. Also, if you’re traveling abroad, be sure to check well in advance if you might need a visa. Some applications take up to four weeks. But if you’re staying domestic, as many of us are this year, make sure everyone has proper identification. You never know when it will be needed.
Regardless of whether you’re traveling within the country or abroad, it’s always good to have a certain amount of cash on you. You can never be sure whether all shops and hotels you will visit will have a working POS, so better be safe.
3. Digital and printed copies of your tickets
It’s a good idea to have both a printed and digital copy of your travel tickets on both your and your partner’s phones. This way, no matter if you lose the paper tickets or if your phone battery dies, you’ll always have a backup.
Apart from any prescribed medicine, you might need, it’s always a good idea to have a few basic items. Think of packing a few cough drops, pills for when you have stomach issues, pain killers, and maybe motion sickness pills. You’ll surely give yourself a pat on the back if the family suddenly gets the flu.
5. Essentials in the carry-on
And we don’t just mean important documents, which are a given. Pack one change of clothes and your toothbrushes and toothpaste in your carry-on. This way, if somehow your checked-in bags get lost on the way, you will have a fresh T-shirt to change in, until your suitcases get delivered.
6. Face masks
If you’re traveling to different cities, counties, states, provinces, or countries, you’ll likely encounter different rules around face masks to fight the spread of COVID-19. Be prepared by packing extras as well and keep at least one on you at all times during day outings. That way you will be able to participate in all activities requiring the use of masks.
7. Travel-friendly products
Choose your products wisely for traveling. Most of us have properly seen the episode with Ross from Friends who «suffers» from not just one but TWO shampoo explosions while traveling. Skincare products that have sturdy packaging and won’t leak are ideal for traveling.
8. First aid kit
It’s not usually the first thing one would associate with packing for a vacation, but a first aid kit can prove priceless. Say you got blisters or your little one accidentally scraped their knees. No one wants to limp to the nearest pharmacy. Having a first aid kit means you can quickly nurse yourself or your loved ones back to health and resume enjoying your time on holiday.
9. Off- and online entertainment
Long trips can become boring after a certain point, especially for younger kids. So take a deck of playing cards, a book, and the young one’s favorite bedtime story. On the digital front, download a few movies or episodes of your favorite shows and maybe even a few smartphone games that can be played offline.
10. A compact backpack
Sports equipment stores often have several affordable models of backpacks that can be easily folded to fit inside your pocket. This makes them perfect to fit in your luggage and then take with you when you’re out for souvenir shopping or on a long walk.
11. Refillable water bottles
Not only is it the more environmentally friendly option, but it will also save you quite a lot of money.
12. Extra bag for dirty laundry
Either take a light duffel bag or a plastic zip bag which you could use for your dirty laundry. This way there will be no corner of shame in your hotel room where you pile all your clothes. Plus, you’ll be happy you’ll be able to seal up all those worn socks.
13. Hats and sunglasses
Depending on the season, it’s always good to have something to cover your head. To avoid catching a cold in winter or a sunstroke during summer, pack your sun hats or beanies. Sunglasses work for every season: in summer they filter the direct sunlight, while in winter they protect your eyes from the light reflected by the snow.
Don’t assume you’ll be able to buy your preferred birth control at your destination. When traveling you can’t be sure of the availability and quality of contraception, so make sure to have your usual with you. Also, in case your preferred method is hormonal contraception, consider installing an app that will remind you to take the pill at the appropriate time. You might have your routine at home, but it’s easy for things to get hectic when traveling.
If you’re on holiday with the family, chances are you’ll be outside a lot. While a day on the beach, hitting the slopes, or hiking sounds like great fun at the moment, getting a sunburn is not.
16. Trail snacks
Nothing can ruin a good mood quicker than the feeling of getting hangry. Or worse: your child getting hangry. Go prepared with a few packs of trail mix, a few pieces of fruit or sandwiches, to avoid anyone turning into a little Hulk.
17. Your kid’s favorite toy
In the whirlwind of getting everything ready for your holiday, this is something that might entirely slip your mind, so don’t forget to add it to your packing list. This way you’ll avoid having to rush back home for their favorite teddy or having tried to calm down an upset 4-year-old who’s adamant they can’t sleep without Mr. Cuddles.
18. Plug converter
It’s surprising how many of us forget about this as we’re traveling abroad. Before leaving check what type of power plugs are used in the country you’re visiting. Or better yet, buy a universal plug converter.
19. Bad weather outfits
Regardless of what the forecast might say, Murphy’s laws never sleep. It’s better to always bring a scarf, pullover, and umbrella, or light raincoat, just in case. This is where sports equipment stores come in handy again. They often sell ultra-light raincoats that can then be folded to the size of your palm, and warm but thin pullovers and scarves.
20. Inflatable neck rest
No matter how you travel, a neck rest feels like a godsend after a few hours. Who doesn’t hate dozing off and then been rudely awakened when their heads bob to the side? With a neck rest, you can have all the naps you deserve, while not taking up too much space in your luggage.
21. Power bank
You’re on holiday, of course, you want to take a lot of pictures to remember this awesome vacation. But between taking pictures, using the navigation app, and your kids playing on your phone, the battery is likely to drain in an instant. This is why it can be handy to have a power bank on hand. This way you still get to stream music in the car and post all those selfies.
What to do if you packed too many things?
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Going on holiday is more relaxing when you’re prepared for any situation. However, there’s thinking smart and then there’s overthinking. Check back in with us for more travel tips and info. We make sure that there’s nothing left for you to do but to enjoy yourselves.