Going on a vacation with the family? If you’re packing for your brood, the last thing that you want to happen is to forget something essential!
What you need is a must have travel packing list for a family trip. Here’s a definitive travel packing list that will come in handy, no matter where your destination is. The travel packing tips and suggestions for each category in this travel packing checklist will help you tailor fit the exact things each particular family member will need.
For most people, the biggest bulk of their packed luggage will go towards clothing. This always comes first in a must have travel packing list for a family trip. Here’s what you’ll likely need for your family vacation from our best travel packing list:
• Complete set of clothing for each day of travel – including airport clothes for both ways. Your travel abroad packing list includes tops, bottoms, and underclothes.
• Outerwear and layering accessories. Depending on the weather, your destination or travel season, ensure that you have a jacket to keep you warm, thermal underwear, scarves, mittens and the like. 1-2 pieces of each should suffice since you’ll be reusing them throughout your trip.
• Sleep wear. Ideally, you’d bring one set of sleepwear for each night of your trip. But if you’re trying to save on luggage space, you can perhaps use one set for at least two nights. The idea is that you’re relatively clean and have showered when you put them on, so they won’t be subjected to as much dirt as your regular day time clothes. For sleepwear, one set consists of a top, bottom, and underwear.
• Socks. Since socks are easy to pack, have a fresh pair for each day of your trip. Socks absorb a lot of sweat from a whole day of exploring, so a clean pair each day is a must!
Clothing packing tip 1: Use travel packing organizers for your clothes. Also known as packing cubes, these allow you to keep the same things together so they don’t get mixed up in your suitcase. They also compress your clothes together, so you have more room in your luggage for other stuff.
Clothing packing tip 2: Have separate drawstring bags or packing cubes for dirty clothes. These ensure that they don’t get mixed up with your clean ones. It’ll also make laundry sorting easier when you get home, as you know that everything in that particular bag goes into the wash.
Clothing packing tip 3: Distribute your clothing travel packing essentials across everyone’s luggage. In case one or several luggage goes missing or rerouted, you’ll be glad to have at least one set of clothing to use from your travel companions’ suitcases. Label your suitcases with your address and other personal details.
Bringing your own toiletry helps you save more (because you can use your foreign currency to buy other stuff) and assures you that you have everything you need that works for you.
• Toiletries from head to toe. When you write up your family vacation packing list, take note of everyone’s specific body cleaning items and ensure that you packed everything they use. This includes shampoo, conditioner, hair products, toothpaste, mouthwash, facial wash, soap, body wash and lotion.
• Cleaning paraphernalia. Make sure you pack your towel (a thin one will dry faster), toothbrush, facial and body sponge plus anything else you think you might need.
• Makeup items. Aim to bring the bare minimum to create a decent face for day time and night time. Choose multipurpose products to lighten your bag, such as a color tint that can be used for your lips, cheeks and eyes.
• Special creams and serums. Part of your essential items to pack when travelling are any special creams or serums to address hair, body, and skin concerns.
Toiletry packing tip #1: Decant your products so you don’t have to bring the whole bottle. Estimate how much you need for your trip and just bring enough to use for it.
Toiletry packing tip #2: Put everything in zip lock bags. You never know when or what might cause a spill, so bagging everything before storing them in your kit is a smart move.
Everyone’s trip packing list for family trips will include electronics, especially for photography. While these will vary across families, these are what you might want to bring:
• Chargers. Always bring chargers for all your gadgets, stowed and labelled in a separate bag.
• Voltage converters or adaptors. Included in our list of the best travel packing ideas are plug converters that allow you to use your electronics safely according to the voltage of the country you are visiting.
• Battery pack/charger. This will give your mobile phones and cameras extra power when you’re running low and can’t afford to charge up.
• Memory card, USB sticks. If you don’t have cloud storage, a memory card or data transfer stick will come in handy in freeing up your device’s storage space for more photo ops.
Gadget packing tip #1: Charge your devices and battery packs every night. Always start the day with a full charge! During the day, place your phone on low power setting to conserve battery.
Gadget packing tip #2: Get a local mobile Wi-Fi for all-day surfing. You can get this at the airport and load it up with prepaid credits. With it, you can use Google maps, book tickets, check out bus schedules, and more – without the need for physical brochures or flyers.
Gadget packing tip #3: Get cloud storage so you can transfer your photos remotely, keeping it secure.
Read more: The Ultimate Travel Photography Kit
Medicines are important for a family road trip or flight, especially if you have babies and toddlers. Our expert advice for essential travel medicine includes:
• Medicine for individual concerns. This includes maintenance medication, asthma vials, allergy tablets, and anything that will address flare ups or specific conditions.
• Fever and cold medication. You never know if a bug might make you sick!
• Pain relief medication. Many travel packing tips and tricks lists include ibuprofen and body pain relievers to help you recover faster after a tiring day of exploring, or if you unintentionally hurt yourself.
• Vitamins. When you pack for a family make sure to include vitamins so you won’t easily catch viruses and bugs while out.
• Diarrhea and motion sickness. Sensitive stomachs and motion sickness can be avoided and easily treated if you bring a few vials of medicine that will address these issues.
Medicine packing tip 1#: Don’t forget to bring a prescription. In case you lose your essential medicines, you might be able to repurchase if you have an official prescription to show the local drugstore.
Medicine tip packing 2#: Buy travel-sized versions of your medicines. Get the smaller doses just so you know you have what you need without bringing too much of it.
Medicine tip packing #3: Use a clear, zippered compartment and label everything. This keeps medicines organized so you have an easy time reaching out for what you need.
Documents are so important, especially when travelling to a foreign country. Ensure that everyone has proper documentation and the necessary paper work, among other things.
• Travel documents. This includes passport visa, boarding pass, insurance information, plane tickets and multiple forms of identification. Can you travel when your passport is about to expire? Check your port of entry and find out how many months of validity they will require before letting you in.
• Printable travel itinerary or travel guide with entrance tickets and passes to travel activities. Make sure everyone has his or her own copy of this.
• Emergency contacts list. Have a laminated card with your doctors’ name and contact info, your medical info and conditions (blood type, special health concerns, allergies, etc.) and keep them in your bag at all times. This list also includes the people you travel with and their contact info, your bank’s direct line, etc.
Document packing tip #1: Scan all your documents and send them to everyone’s email. In an emergency, you can pull up your info to help with verifications. Photocopy all your paper work and keep a set in everyone’s pack. Again, this is for verification purposes in case you lose something.
Document packing tip #2: Consider getting health insurance and bring the paperwork for it. Hospitals abroad may be pricey, so this will come in handy.
Document packing tip #3: Keep your papers in a waterproof kit to protect it.
Apart from shopping, you’ll need cash for getting around and paying for many things. These tips and tricks about cash will be good to note:
• Foreign currency. Compute how much you need for everything, then add an additional 50% of the total amount to it as a buffer.
• Your country’s currency. A small amount will do, just so you have some ready cash when you get home to pay for travel tax, taxi service, etc.
• Credit or debit cards. Bring 1-2 cards with a substantial credit limit in case you suddenly have to make a big ticket purchase (ex. emergency air tickets, additional hotel stays, hospital bills, etc.)
• Call cards for local and international. Staying in touch is essential, so make sure you have what you need for this.
Money packing tip #1: Google the best money changers in the city to get more for your cash. Exchange some at the airport, but the bulk of your spending allowance can be exchanged in the city. There are many free packing and travelling advice online that includes where the best money changers are, so do your research!
Money packing tip #2: Always convert the amount in your local currency to determine if you are getting a good price for what you’re buying.
Money packing tip #3: Stow a little bit of cash in everyone’s bags and pockets. In case of theft or wallet loss, you’ll have some on hand to get back to your hotel.
These travel tips for your next big vacation should come in handy when it’s time to pack what everyone will need. Involve the entire happy family in packing to make the load lighter, and don’t forget to let children bring a few toys so they can occupy themselves on the plane! You can read more here on some tips for traveling with your kids.