Heading out on a vacation with your kids? Good for you – and your kids! But remembering to pack everything can be a challenge – especially as you’re trying to get the rest of your trip to-do list done (think: setting up coverage at work, taking the dog to the kennel, arranging for your neighbor to pick up the mail).
Make your vacation prep a little easier by having your kids pack on their own – yes, really! School-aged kids can load up their own suitcases, especially if you offer them a handy vacation checklist for kids, which they can mark off as they put each item in their suitcases.
Note of caution: After your kids proudly finish the job, we highly recommend then going through the checklist with them again to make sure they packed everything, and that they packed the right thing (so … not the jumbo-size shampoo container or their pants from the back of the closet that no longer fit).
Help your kiddos pick out their luggage and then print out this list. Make sure to add the number of items they’ll need for everyday clothing, like pants and shirts. And consider adding to the list with unique items you know your child may want. Generally, our list will get you through a weekend – a week max with the modifications noted.
If you’re grappling with where to get started for the entire crew, be sure to check out our tips for what to pack for family vacation – and mini travel packing lists that have the basics covered from babies to teens.
Now who’s ready to go on vacation? Let’s start packing.
Vacation Checklist for Kids
Clothing & Accessories
- Dressy outfit
- Pants (1 per day + 1 extra)
- T-shirts (1 per day + 2 extra)
- Sweatshirts/sweaters/pullovers (1 per every 3 days)
- Underwear (1 per day)
- Socks (1 per day)
- Hat (baseball or visor)
- Slip-on shoes
- Workout clothes (if needed)
- Jewelry (if needed)
- Dental floss
- Shampoo (travel size)
- Conditioner (travel size)
- Hair gel
- Body wash
- Face wash
- Hand sanitizer
- Prescription medications
- Glasses or contact lenses case (or both)
- Contact lens solution (if needed)
- Feminine hygiene products (if needed)
- Makeup (if needed)
- Cellphone and charger
- Laptop or tablet and charger (if needed)
- Favorite toy, blanket or pillow
- Book to read or download podcasts and/or movies onto your smart device
- Activity book and pens and/or coloring pencils
- Water bottle
- Hair dryer (usually provided in hotel rooms)
- Hair straightener/curler (if needed)
- First-aid kit
- Quart and gallon plastic bags (you never know when you might have wet clothes/exploding lotion, seashells, etc.)
- Backpack and/or day pack
- Night lights
- Insect repellent
Packing for the destination
- Swim cover-up
- Tank tops
- Water-resistant jacket
- Hiking boots or water-resistant shoes
- Winter jacket
This post was originally published in 2018 and is updated regularly.