08 Oct The Mom and Dad Travel Packing List – Absolute Essentials for Your Family
Have you ever asked yourself: do I really have everything we need? Have I forgotten anything? Rhetoric question, of course. We all have asked this question at some point in our lives, probably every time we are off to travel the world (or the neighborhood). For all those among us whose mind is flipping, we have created the ultimate Mom and Dad travel packing list.
It contains all the essentials plus some really helpful tools for everyday life. And we tried to keep it simple. Since everything we need does not equal everything that can fit into our suitcase.
My Tip: Stay as Minimalist as You Can!
It helps a lot to simply choose a medium, not a large backpack or suitcase. Also, be 100% assured that anything you might have forgotten you will easily get on the road. Most of the time it will even cost you less than at home (at least when you’re from Switzerland).
So if you are planning to hit the road for a couple of weeks or even months, these are the true essentials you’ll want to bring.
Last update: September 2018
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1. Summertime, and The Living is Easy… Things to Wear in Warmer Regions
Underwear for Him and Her
7 panties or boxers, 2-3 bras (at least one black (pro: you don’t see dirt so fast) and one nude one), 2-3 pairs of socks each, 2 pyjamas
2 bikinis or swimsuits/ swimming trunks (these smart ones with waterproof pockets kills even three birds with one stone, Florian wears them all the time!)
If needed, include 2-3 full outfits with shorts/shirts/wristband/sports-bra
If you want to do your exercise by the pool, look at this travel yoga mat. It’s small and light and still serves you a good job. Just watch out, since it’s very flat, it won’t give you that much support when doing crunches or so.
3 pairs of shorts
- for the ladies: linen, jeans and the favorite cosy one (also add a pair of capris)
- for the gents: at least one of them should have plenty of pockets, since you will most likely have to carry some of your partners’ necessities
1-2 pairs of long pants (either sweatpants or jeans), 1 skirt, 1 summer dress
1 pair of Flip-flops, 1 pair of super-comfy sneakers (we’re strong supporters of Asics Shoes).
And if you’re up to a hike, we love these hiking shoes (for Him and for Her – view on Amazon) with leather, they are worth every cent! They offer a firm hold, great grip, still are light, comfortable to wear, waterproof and – highly important – they keep your feet fresh!
2. Walking in a Winter Wonderland.. What to Bring When it’s Cold Outside
Depending on how cold it gets, you should be prepared for all kinds of weather situations. This part of our travel packing list is for cold October days and November rain, but if you are planning an excursion to the north pole, you might want to look somewhere else. So, in addition to the summer list, this is what parents need for cooler areas.
More socks (one pair per day), functional or thermal underwear
Skip that, won’t need it.
If you prefer to workout outside, you’ll again need winter 2-3 outfits
Thermo-jogging pants and thermo-jacket, a beanie, maybe additional ankle warmers
1 vest (sweat or fleece), 3-4 sweaters, 2-3 warm sweaters (a hoodie, a fleece, maybe a knitted one)
3-4 pairs (sweatpants, jeans, outdoor), 1 winter skirt or dress, stockings
Depending on the temperatures you expect, you’ll want to bring
1 raincoat, 1 softshell coat, 1 winter jacket (this ones for men, keeps Florian warm even in the snow)
A stylish beanie and a scarf, maybe gloves
Our Clothing Insider Tip for the Mom and Dad Travel Packing List:
Not so long ago we discovered „smart clothing“. Underwear, shorts, shirts, even dresses that allow you to wear your valuables right by your side, closed away in secret zip – pockets, always easy to reach. No need to carry an additional purse anymore!
Want to jump into the water without having to leave your smartphone or wallet alone on the beach? This smart swimwear makes it possible!
Although there’s still some work to be done concerning the style factor (at least for the ladies) these pieces have become invaluable for us!
3. A Perfectly Packed Kids’ Suitcase?
Get a little help and inspiration from your little ones. And find everything else you might need in our ultimate packing list for kids.
4. The Toiletry Bags
I guess we all know what the essentials in our toiletry bags are. That’s why I will just quickly list them up to help you not forget anything. I always try to make myself keep in mind that less is more (which in the case of toiletry stuff is truly hard on me).
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, washing lotion, lip balm, eye and facial cream(s)
- Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, deodorant (without aluminium)
- Tweezer, nail scissors, nail file, brush, hairties
- Razor and extra blades
- Tampons (or sanitary towels or moon cup), q-tips
- Small mirror
- Makeup essentials
We do share a couple of things, so there’s not so much Florian needs to bring:
- Toothbrush, shower gel 3in1, deodorant, razor and blades, shaving gel, nail clipper
- Monthly contact lenses (for at least three months) with case and fluids
- Hairtrimmer (there’s no need for the boys to go to the hairdresser if applying the world travel friendly summer haircut!)
5. Health Stuff
This is probably the most important thing for your travel packing list if you plan to visit sunny places. These days we always use a sunblocker (LSF 50+) for ourselves as well as for the kids, who never had a sunburn so far (excluding this one time, when Tessa refused to put on her sun hat in the pool and we were chatting with a fellow couple at the pool bar happy hour for too long… baaad mom, I know!). If you happen to be an Aussie or travel around this continent, try out Woolworth’s Everyday Sunscreen, it’s light, it penetrates quickly, it’s very cheap and it is safe.
Definitely neccessary when your travel itinerary includes the tropics. Beyond long, light clothing, we use NoBite or the swissmade AntiBrumm. The latter is more expensive, but in my view more effective and also available for small kids. We try to escape these little terorists as good as we can, for example by avoiding being outside at dusk too often.
First Aid Kit
- Band aids of various sizes, gauze, elastic bandages, antiseptic wipes. You can get it all readily packed together for pretty little money. We use this one and it has served us well so far.
- Wound disinfection spray
- Clinical Thermometer
Cream and Lotion
- Anti-histamine or hydrocortisone cream (anti-inflammation gels)
- Pain relief gel
- Bepanthen cream
- Always in use for all kinds of pain and fever: ibuprofene. Others may prefer paracetamol.
- Antidiarrheal medicine like Imodium
- Anti-histamine for allergic reaction
- Motion sickness pills
- Ointment for dry eyes and nose
- Cold remedy
- Electrolyte solution (mainly brought those for the kids, but also suitable for adults)
Depending on where you go and what you do, let your doctor inform you and give you a prescription for a broad-spectrum antibiotic and malaria medication on stand-by (for the whole family). Talk about neccessary vaccinations with a doctor specializing in tropical and travel medicine, too.
Don’t forget your prescription medicine if you need any!
6. Equipment for Our Mobile Office and Beyond
There’s not whole lot to bring when you work remotely on the road, but what you bring must be a good and reasonable choice. Trust me, if anybody has the knowledge (and the insatiable interest) it takes to create THE perfect mobile office, it’s Florian!
That’s why we made this packing list for a mobile office and travel gadgets we use every day. Learn all about the notebooks, the mobile hotspot, avoiding high roaming costs, camera and video equipment, the smartphones, travel speakers, headphones, chargers, cables and more.
- 2 large compression cubes for underwear (1 for the adults, 1 for the kids). There will be some need for organizing your suitcase or backpack. We have been using packing cubes as essentials on our travel packing list from the very beginning and simply love them! You can stuff a great amount of things, keep them together and don’t have a mess when you unpack your bags. If you haven’t tried it before, this is the time!
- 1 medium compression bag for swimwear
- toiletry bag
- bag for dirty clothing
8. Backpacks and Suitcases for the Family’s Travel Packing List
Osprey Farpoint Travel Pack 70l – view on Amazon
I have been using this one (in volcanic red) on various trips. In size „s“ it is suitable for average grown women, too (since it’s a men’s backpack) – never went on a longer hiking trip with that backpack though.
It’s large enough to fit in summer outfits, jackets, shoes, laptop, toiletry stuff and our first aid kit for me and the kids. The zippers with lockable sliders are the best I have ever had, probably indestructable. Nice style, too. And, there comes a daypack with it, so you don’t need an extra backpack for your day tours! I can definitely and warmly recommend this backpack (even though I know it was a little too large for me).
Pacsafe Venturesafe 65l Trekking Backpack – view on Amazon
What makes this backpack special is its various anti theft features which provide peace of mind when traveling with expensive electronic gear. It comes with a built-in stainless steel mesh protecting against slash-and-run attempts.
Zippers can be locked to one central point. Make sure to get some decent TSA locks. You can also lock the backpack to a secure fixture.
It is actually the safest solution we have found for our purpose. For transit the straps can be zipped away and the backpack turns into a luggage. And yes, it also opens up like a luggage.
Jack Wolfskin Satellite 24 Trekking Daypack – view on Amazon
We have been using ours for years, it’s old but gold! The version I linked to is probably a bit more up to date. No matter if we went on a hike or on a daytrip with the kids, it all fits in there. A lot of storage room! You can even stuff sand toys, dirty kids’ shoes/clothes or a camp stove into the big base compartment. Very light, and comes with rain cover. Easy to clean and nothing to repair in 5 years! Perfect choice for us!
PacSafe Venturesafe 25l GII Anti-Theft Daypack – view on Amazon
This backpack is the daypack or carry-on backpack answer to the PacSafe Venturesafe 65l described above. No more carrying the backpack on your chest. The fact that the locked backpack can neither be opened easily by pickpocket hands nor by a knife provides peace of mind and lets you focus on other important things like not losing a kid at BKK airport.
It comes with built-in stainless steel mesh protecting against slash-and-run attempts. Zippers can be locked too. Make sure to get some decent TSA locks. You can also lock the backpack to a secure fixture. We use it as carry-on backpack and as equipment backpack for our camera and drone equipment on day-tours.
If you choose to travel with a suitcase, as we did on our trip to Portugal and Spain this fall, let me tell you about our travel suitcases.
We use Rimowa. Undeniably expensive, but also undeniably the best suitcases in the world! Used by flight attendants – which explains it all, I guess. We got two of them for our wedding – and I must say, they were among my top 3 favorite presents. Seven years later, they are still perfectly in shape, nothing has ever been broken (not the wheels, not the handles, nothing).
The Pro’s: Very light, undestroyable, perfect wheels (moving in all directions really smoothly), can be used as a seat for children while running around at the railway station or the aiport.
The Con’s: There are none! Ugh, ok, maybe the price..
9. Other Tools, Lifesavers and Comforts for Parents
- Always have a Swiss pocket knife in your pocket – and I don’t just say that because I’m living in Switzerland! You never know when you might be in need of a screwdriver!
- 1 Leatherman Wave
- 1 sewing kit
- Florian is very picky with his good nights sleep. He usually brings his own quality water pillow
- 2 colorful sarongs: they fit in everywhere and do a good job no matter if you use them as beach towels or as a dress.
- 1 head light
- 1 pair of good scissors
- Passport sleeves, one per person. We use our passports a lot and are very grateful for this cheap and easy solution to prevent abrasion.
- a good duct tape, sellotape or at least some elastic bands – there’s always something that needs to be taped up. In our family, the packet of rice is always damaged…Loose gas cap on the Cheaper Campervan? No problem.
The Mom and Dad Travel Packing List – Conclusion
Wow, that was it! A pretty long packing list for parents! Was I the one who said try to stay as minimalist as possible? Of course we don’t always take all those things with us. Yet, most of it and it always fits into two pieces of luggage or backpack. Nevertheless, you choose what you need!
Have fun and start packing early enough so you don’t feel overwhelmed a couple of days before the journey starts!
Travel is supposed to be fun! Our ultimate Mom and Dad packing list can hopefully help you keep track of your packing to do’s. Let us know if we missed something essential (or if you believe our suitcases are waay too full) down in the comments please!
Anyways, a bar of your favorite chocolate for sure fits in somewhere!