The Ultimate Packing List for Kids – Travel Essentials for Family Vacation

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The Ultimate Packing List for Kids – Travel Essentials for Family Vacation

Have you done the planning for your next trip? Are you actually ready for take-off and keen on leaving behind the daily routine? Do you picture yourself enjoying that first morning coffee outside on a beautiful patio with stunning views, maybe across rice patties?

But instead of anticipation, all you feel is despair? You’re sitting on the floor in the bedroom, clothes and other items gathered around you, and you just don’t know where to start? The kids are climbing in and out of the suitcase, rearranging everything you have just rolled up into tiny pieces? Last but not least, your better half has disappeared into the depth of his basement office to answer some really important mails or to check the family’s travel insurance?

I know exactly how you feel! Packing used to be so easy when I was on my own! All I had to think about was what I wanted to wear. Plus, any size of beauty case and loads of souvenirs would fit into my suitcase. No need for stuffed animals or toys or wet wipes or nappies.

Well, times have definitely changed. Now there are those two lively helpers with their own opinion of what necessities are. Theres no sense in trying to convince them that big kids make reasonable choices.

But a packing list for kids or even for yourself – that’s something only for squares!

Well, apart from the dusty image of organisational lists, my grown-up self knew they might just be pretty effective. So I decided to give first of all the packing list for kids a try.

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My Ultimate Packing List for Preschool Kids and Toddlers

So here it is, especially for toddlers and preschoolers: My personal ultimate packing list for kids! (since we are traveling in mostly sunny and tropical areas of the planet, snowsuits and winter boots are not included here).

1. Clothing for Warm Areas (5 – 7 days)


  • 1 pair of long pants, 3 pairs of shorts/skirts/dresses, 1 dressy outfit
  • 2 sweaters, 5 – 7 t-shirts, 1  light jacket or vest
  • 2 swimshorts/swimsuits
  • underwear: 7 briefs, 2 – 3 undershirts, 2 – 5 pairs of socks, 2 pyjamas
  • sunhat, sunglasses
  • 1 pair of trekking sandals (they can also be used as waterschoes), 1 pair of flipflops, 1 pair of sneakers

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In Case it Gets a Little Cooler (Add On to Warm Area List)


  • 1 softshell coat ( works for all weathers – except heavy rains and snow, maybe!) or 1 fleece vest, 1 raincoat, rainpants
  • 1 pair of trekking boots (especially if you’re up to some serious hiking)
  • 2 pairs of long sleeved underwear or stockings, warm cap, scarf, gloves
  • 1 jumpsuit (we love ours, they’re perfect for cooler days, for long flights or just to cuddle up in the evening!)


2. Toiletries


  • Shampoo/Soap – best is 2 in 1
  • Comb/detangling brush, for the girls: barrettes, hair ties
  • tooth brush and paste
  • washcloth, body lotion, facial cream
  • sunblocker (should you ever happen to get to Woolworth Australia, it’s where we found the best/cheapest/lightest sunblocker, it’s called “Woolworth Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50+“)
  • nail scissors for kids, kids’ q-tips, wet wipes
  • diapers, disposable swim diapers, diaper cream, hand sanitizer


3. Entertainment


  • 2-5 small books (get more on the road)
  • children’s headphones with volume control. We’ve been using these for more than a year now, they’re doing a great job and the kids love them!
  • coloring books (if you’re spoilt with choice: this “around the world coloring book” is great – it gives kids loads of info about many countries in the world), crayons and/or washable markers
  •  entertainment package (those coloring books, stickers and handicraft items are especially designed for traveling with children, divided by age, gender and length of trip and cost around USD 15. Definitely better than too much screen time and a lot of fun for the kids. And they come with snacks and their own little backpack!)
  • games, movies and music for the tablet
  • check out our blogpost on more useful travel toys for kids!
  • pocket WIFI to connect to the internet anywhere


4. Documents


  • passport/ID, immunization card
  • emergency numbers, insurance card


5. Medication


  • thermometer, adhesive plasters/tapes, insect repellant
  • disinfection gel/spray, ointments
  • medication against fever, pain, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, a cold, insect bites – check our blogpost to the Mom and Dad packing list including complete first aid kit


6. On The Road


  • snacks, snacks, snacks and this beautiful, leakproof and unbreakable Swiss drinking bottle!
  • favourite stuffed animal and/or pacifier/pacifier hook
  • see “entertainment package
  • garbage bags, wet wipes and diapers, tissues, changing clothes
  • band aids and disinfection spray/gel


 7. Miscellaneous


  • water wings (but you better get the beach toys on the road!)
  • if your child is really little, you might need a baby monitornightlight, bibs
  • stroller, car seat
  • baby carrier ( for small babies and shorter strolls: THE Manduca (simply the best child carrier in my eyes, used it for years!) or the beautiful Ergobaby carrier (tried the Ergobaby too, very stylish options!). Both carriers are great and ergonomically perfectly designed, so you can carry a small child even for a shopping tour. They’ll love it!
  • baby carrier for hiking (this one from Osprey is perfect, premium version comes with dayback to take off)


What the Kids Put Into Their Own Backpacks

  • their absolutely essential stuffed animals
  • UNO kids cardgame, Memory game cards
  • Schleich animals: that’s what kept them entertained and playing even on rainy days!
  • some Playmobil figurines and Matchbox cars


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Done! After all, I have to admit that with this packing list for kids for me is not only the most effective, but also the fastest way of packing.

One more thing: this is a list that includes almost all eventualities. That means, unless you are the person that needs to be prepared for anything, I recommend to go over the list carefully and pick what is really necessary.

As time goes by (and the kids get older), you will need less items to keep the family running. As for me, I never take kids’ q-tips, bibs, baby monitor or a nightlight anymore. Not to speak of strollers, car seats or carriers!

Did we miss anything? If you have any more suggestions, just let us know in the comments! We always appreciate some input on the packing lists!

So, tick the items off the list, sit back and relax. And when you finally get on the plane, don’t forget to read through the safety card carefully 🙂

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