Packing List: Essentials for Travel with Kids
Here’s a guide to what I typically pack for travel with my two kids:Clothing
- For a short trip, one change of clothing for each person per day + 2 extra shirts each. On a long trip, I would bring 5 outfits + 2 shirts & plan to do laundry on the road. Patterned clothes and dark colors wear longer than whites. Plan to dress in layers when possible rather than bringing bulky sweaters.
- 3 pair of PJs per child (somehow sleepwear always seems to take a beating when we travel)
- Something for me to sleep in & a separate pair of sweatpants (I cannot tell you how many times I end up needing something delivered or slipping out with the kids early in the morning & not wanting to get fully dressed)
- A jacket for each person
- One pair of shoes per person & one pair of socks per day of the trip (max 5 pair). If you plan to do a lot of walking, bring an extra pair of shoes.
- My cosmetics, toothpaste, glasses, extra contacts (and prescription)
- A separate “cosmetics” bag for the kids with emergency items like infant Tylenol, nose drops, ipecac, powdered Pedialyte (or Electrolyte Strips), sunscreen, etc. I keep this packed so that I don’t forget anything. Double check expiration dates before you go, and write your child's dose on the bottle with a sharpie. You don’t ever want to be trying to find an open drugstore in a strange city in the middle of the night.
- 5 diapers per child per day. For trips longer than 5 days, I bring 2-3 days worth of diapers and plan to buy more at my destination or have Amazon ship diapers ahead to your destination.
- One full package of wipes. If your child requires a particular brand, you may want to bring enough for your entire trip.
- A sling if you use one and a lightweight, compact umbrella stroller
- Getting around on public transportation is really difficult with a big bulky stroller. If you have an expensive stroller, consider bringing a cheaper one. Most airlines do not pay for damage to checked or gate checked strollers. If you are comfortable with a sling, you might also try a supportive sling, like the Ergo Baby Carrier
- Bottles and/or Sippies plus microwave sterilizing bags. If your child does not drink well from a cup, at least two bottles or sippies (one to be dirty and one to be clean). Sippy cups are not widely available in Europe (and bottle brands may be different than what your child is used to) so bring what you think you'll need.
- A couple packages of favorite snack foods (especially if we’re traveling to Europe where transportable toddler snacks aren’t as available) plus a little baby food to get me started (I’ll buy more on arrival). If you have special needs (e.g. lactose free or dairy free formula) consider bringing enough for your entire trip (Soy formula can be difficult to find in Europe). Note that if you are traveling outside of your home country, you probably will not be able to bring fresh fruit, vegetables or meat products with you through customs, but most countries do allow packaged products in their original packaging.
- Plastic Diaper Disposal Sacks (there is no Diaper Genie in the hotel room, so you’ll want to contain the smell!)
- Powdered oxy and laundry detergent in separate ziplocks in case we dirty more clothing than I planned. Oxy and fragrance free laundry detergent can be difficult to find in Europe.
- A few ziplock bags of various sizes. They always come in handy at some point.
- A few toys for the hotel room. You probably won't spend a lot of waking time in the hotel, and you'll have some toys in your airplane carryon, so you don't need much. Here is a list of our Favorite Travel Toys
- Three to Five paperback children’s books (we read 3 books as part of our bedtime ritual. Bringing 5 allows for some choice & variation. We almost always end up buying a few new children's books when we travel, so it's good to start out light on books.
- A lovey, plus a spare (or two) if possible. Each of my children has a blanket that they love. I bring 3 for each of them (1 to be clean, 1 to be in use, and 1 to be dirty) The blankets tend to get more use when we’re travelling as the kids need a little extra security.
- An iPod and speakers or music on my laptop
Gear and Travel Toys for Traveling With Kids