The Ultimate Packing List for Family Vacation

The Ultimate Packing List for Family Vacation

Even the most experienced travelers have trouble packing all they require for a trip. It’s not uncommon for us to spend hundreds of dollars on products that we ultimately forget to carry — typically phone chargers and sunscreen — because they’re so expensive elsewhere or in gift shops.

However, it is different to pack for a family trip. In addition to everything else you need to remember to pack, you also need to consider what your newborns or kids will need—who are famously hard to pack for because they need so many things! This packing list for family vacation will surely help!

So that we won’t forget what our family needs, it’s crucial to create a packing list. Here is a summary of a family’s usual vacation packing list. Although you might need to adjust the list to your trip, there are additional things to remember for particular vacations. So continue reading to find out what we put on our ultimate packing list for family vacation!

Clothes First

ultimate packing list for family vacation

Typically, clothing makes up the majority of your luggage’s volume. It’s usually recommended to pack one outfit per everyone in the family per day, but don’t forget to include a few extras for the messy baby or toddler. This is especially simple if you’re making a packing list for a weekend trip. However, if your trip will last more than a week, consider doing laundry halfway through and pack accordingly with this ultimate packing list for family vacation.

The ideal approach to packing for each family member is to separate tops and bottoms into separate packing cubes (kids’ clothes can also be packed in gallon-sized Ziploc bags). Place everyone’s pajamas in one packing cube and their swimsuits in another. When you live out of a suitcase, this makes finding clothes easier.

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Here is a list of every category of clothing you need to bring:

  • Underwear
  • Bathing Suits
  • Swimsuit Cover-ups
  • Informal tees, shorts, and pants (Organizing your items into separate outfits might help you make sure you’re not overpacking!)
  • Activewear/workout attire
  • One more formal outfit
  • Pajamas (for youngsters, one pair lasts three days)
  • Jacket/sweatshirt
  • Socks


ultimate packing list for family vacation

On the days you are traveling, require everyone to wear their roomiest pair of shoes, which are typically sneakers or athletic shoes. Sandals fit neatly on top of one another. Even though your shoes are clean when you leave, they may become soiled on journeys, so pack them in a bag instead of the luggage. Avoid bringing brand-new shoes on trips; instead, take a pair of adaptable, comfy sneakers that won’t blister with this packing list for family vacation.

Following are all the shoe types you would want to pack for a trip:

  • Casual footwear
  • Dressier footwear
  • Sandals or flip-flops
  • Sports or trekking boots, if necessary
  • Water shoes, if needed

Medical Needs

ultimate packing list for family vacation

For some people, medical supplies may be an afterthought. However, going without them can be really difficult, particularly when traveling overseas! The first items to pack should always be medical supplies. Naturally, every family will have a very different list, so be sure to carefully evaluate the requirements of each member and make sure you have enough supplies and medication to last the entire trip with this packing list for family vacation.

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The following medical supplies should be packed:

  • Insurance documents
  • Medications
  • Ibuprofen/Tylenol thermometer for kids
  • Medicine for motion sickness
  • Hand sanitizer (always have one hanging from your backpack; kids should use the spray variety!)
  • Little first-aid kit with tweezers, Band-Aids, and anti-itch cream


ultimate packing list for family vacation

If you’re not cautious, toiletries can take up a lot of room. Spills can be reduced and space can be saved by purchasing travel-sized versions with this packing list for family vacation.

The necessary toiletries to bring are as follows:

  • Shampoo and conditioner (You might not need to pack these if you’re staying in motels. When checking in, request extra towels if you want to use the hotel’s shower facilities.
  • Brushes and toothpaste (be sure to include the kid-sized varieties!)
  • Comb/brush
  • Hair Accessories
  • Razors (shaving supplies)
  • Deodorant
  • Hair products (dry shampoo is your best travel companion!)
  • Makeup
  • Skin moisturizers and cleaners
  • Contacts, case, and solution if needed

Personal Items and Documents

ultimate packing list for family vacation

Personal products are just that—personal, as the name suggests! What one family or person may need might not be appropriate for another, and vice versa. Here are some suggestions for items you could need while traveling from this packing list for family vacation.

  • Passports/documents (Check to see whether they are current!)
  • Glasses
  • Phones Laptops Tablets
  • Adapters for all electronic devices
  • Cameras
  • Headphones
  • Useful day packs
  • Mouthguards/retainers
  • Adapters for outlets when traveling abroad

Carry-On Items

ultimate packing list for family vacation

Although carry-on luggage is equally personal, there are some items you’ll want to keep close at hand on lengthy trips with this packing list for family vacation. You can select the following from the essential carry-on items you need to bring:

  • Credit cards and cash
  • Cozy socks
  • Hoodies or jackets
  • Lysol wipes (to clean the tray and window of the airplane)
  • Books or periodicals
  • Earplugs
  • An eye mask
  • Travel blankets
  • Headphones
  • Chargers
  • Treats, gum, and food
  • Filled water bottles
  • Any necessary toiletries (as per TSA guidelines)
  • Any required prescription drugs

Baby, Toddler, and Kid-Sized Essentials

ultimate packing list for family vacation

Kids need more equipment than adults do, and your hotel or place of housing may not always have it available. So make a call in advance to set up a crib or bed. Usually, they also provide blankets or sheets, but make sure to inquire just in case.

If you are traveling with infants or young children, make sure to include the following items from this packing list for family vacation:

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Bringing Supplies for Babies

ultimate packing list for family vacation
  • A Baby Wrap for long trips while using a baby carrier.
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Baby cream in travel-size
  • Supper and snacks
  • Sippy cups or bottles
  • Bibs
  • Swim diapers (if required)
  • Strollers
  • Pacifiers
  • Favorite blankets and plush animals
  • Car seats 
  • Thermometer

Children’s Carry-Ons

ultimate packing list for family vacation

You should urge your kids to pack their own backpacks if they are old enough to do so. They adore having their own backpack, which actually greatly facilitates organization!

What to put in them is as follows from this packing list for family vacation:

  • A particular blanket or teddy animal for comfort
  • Headphones
  • Snacks
  • Pacifiers
  • Empty Sippy Cup (to give to flight attendants during drink orders)
  • Gummi melatonin (shh!)
  • Miniature coloring books
  • Crayons
  • Mobile games
  • Little books

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Final Thoughts

ultimate packing list for family vacation

Are you preparing to embark on your upcoming adventure? Be excited, but don’t let the difficult chore of packing for your family overshadow it. Here are a few time- and money-saving packing suggestions and techniques. You can make better decisions about what to pack and what not to carry by asking yourself the appropriate questions. Use this comprehensive packing list for family vacation to ensure you don’t forget anything.

Ella is a digital content intern and loves writing about entertainment, media, technology, and culture. She is a rising... More about Ella Burch

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