Traveling with children can either be the wonderful family experience Walt Disney had in mind when he designed Disneyland; or the dark apocalypse Dante had in mind when he wrote the Inferno. As with all things in life, disaster is best averted by careful planning. In particular, packing for the children, with the assumption being a week-long family car vacation.

The first step – and this may seem screamingly obvious until one takes a hard look at how one usually does things – is to have a dedicated bag or suitcase for the children’s essentials. Changes of clothes, sleepwear, toiletries, and if there is a favorite nighttime teddy bear, this is where teddy goes too. And why? If the children are in a separate tent or hotel room, one does not want to be racing back and forth bearing a toothbrush like an Olympic torch.

Related to the above, make a checklist. Know what is in each bag. The purpose is for the re-packing when changing hotels or heading home? No one needs the sinking feeling after driving an hour and a half down the Interstate of, ‘Did I remember to repack teddy?’

Next and related to clothing: What activities are being planned or what activities might be planned? The hotel has a pool. Are there bathing suits? Will one be treating the family to a dinner at a ‘nice’ restaurant where there may be a dress code? As for shoes, three pairs should do it: a pair f flip-flops or sandals for beaches and the like; runners for long walks through streets or amusement parks, and a good yet comfortable pair. When packing, put small items such as socks or underwear in the shoes. That will help the shoes from losing shape and maximize packing space.

Once clothing and essentials are ready for the end destination, the actual travel must be considered. Tablet devices have been a god-send to family travel. Load up the tablet with games, videos, books and also suggested entertainment guides for wherever it is the family is going to visit. This will both build anticipation and break monotony.

Lastly, assume the worst possible environmental conditions for the particular time of year one is traveling. If it might snow, it will. Similarly, pack something rain-resistant, have bug spray and a first aid kit. And do check that first aid kit to be sure it hasn’t been ransacked of all bandages.

Best of luck! It will work out fine if one is prepared.

Mamasita Amber
Mama of three children and proud new mama of a standard poodle named Prince Miguel.

14 Responses to “WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Packing For Kids

  • massmommie@gmail.com'
    Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    7 years ago

    Great ideas. We are actually leaving for vacation tomorrow, so some of these I already do.

  • Rain resistant is a big one! I swear I always forget that and it is perfect for wet weather AND cooler weather!

  • Great tips i do some of these already but will have to remember the few I don’t.

  • Thanks for the tips. Now that my girls are older they pack for themselves but I always have a list for my husband and myself

  • I like this! Often I find those lists useful when I go on trips. Thanks for the reminders!

  • This is so helpful! I try to keep mental lists of what we’ll need based on where we’re going, the hotel, and surrounding areas.

  • Packing has always been my least favorite thing to do when getting ready for a vacation. Put kids in the mix and it goes right to the bottom of my list. Thanks for the tip. Very useful

  • Great tips. I usually make a list, and lay everything out. Once it is packed, the children know they cannot remove it.

  • I always take an umbrella so it won’t rain. If I forget it, it rains. 😉

  • Thanks for sharing great tips! There are so many thinks kids need when traveling, so it’s wise to have a list. I never thought on putting socks in the shoes to save space.

  • ammcmaho@mtu.edu'
    amanda @attachedmoms
    7 years ago

    I try include the kids so theu are happy with the choices.

  • I have a spread sheet that we print out when it is time for packing! I am always worried that I will forget something!

  • These are great tips. It’s definitely important to remember essentials for the kids too.

  • Packing WITH a toddler is horrible, he wants to jump IN the suitcase and take everything out. Packing FOR a toddler is just as hard 😉

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