Packing List

Must-Have Items for a Family Vacation Packing List

Must-Have Items for a  Family Vacation Packing List
Planning a family vacation is an exciting adventure, but as a dad, packing for everyone can sometimes feel overwhelming. To help you get started, we've put together the ultimate Dad's Edition of the family vacation packing list, ensuring you have all the travel gear and kids essentials for a fun and stress-free getaway for your loved ones. From travel-friendly clothing to must-have accessories, we've got everything covered to make your trip smooth and enjoyable. You can jump to the desired packing list or check it all throughout.



Family Vacation Clothing Essentials

When it comes to packing clothing for a family vacation, it's all about being prepared for any activities and weather conditions while packing light. Stick to a rule of packing one outfit a day for half the amount of days you`re traveling for adults. For example, traveling for 7-days vacation, pack for 4 days of multipurpose clothes, and you will be amazed how many different outfits you can create with versatile pieces. For kids, packing one outfit per day is ideal as you will need to change a few outfits for them a day.

Here's our vacation clothing list for adults and children, based on our experiences traveling with kids and tailored for different age groups:

Men and Women Clothing for 7-10 Days of Vacation

  • 4-5 Lightweight T-Shirts and Short-Sleeve Shirts: Opt for breathable fabrics like cotton, or nylon blends of neutral colors like white, grey, and navy for versatility, and add a few bright colors or patterns for variety. Our X Cotton Tee, made of cotton and polyester blends, offers softness with moisture-wicking properties and is a great base option while the Camp Collar Short-Sleeve Shirt in Elm or Pacific would add a colorful touch.
  • 2-3 Pairs of Shorts: Look for quick-drying, moisture-wicking materials such as nylon or polyester. Cargo shorts with multiple pockets can be convenient, such as our durable yet lightweight Evolution Short with a modern fit. For women, consider a mix of shorts and skirts for versatility.
  • 1-2 Pairs of Long Pants: Lightweight pants or chinos in cotton or stretch blends. The Evolution Pant is ideal for traveling with kids due to its versatility, stain resistance, and wrinkle resistance features, which are essential for such adventures.
  • 2-3 Pairs of Swimwear: Quick-drying swim trunks for men and a mix of one-piece or bikini swimsuits for women. Consider the Nomad Swim Trunk and Nomad Boardshort options, both made from water-repellent and sun-protected fabrics.
  • 1-2 Lightweight Jacket, Hoodie, or Sweater: Packable windbreakers, fleece jackets, or convenient hoodies are ideal for cooler evenings. Venture Crew or Hoodie  are excellent choices, offering both UPF protection and moisture-wicking properties.
  • 1-2 Casual Outfits for Evenings: Collared shirts (polo or button-down) paired with chinos or jeans for men. Dresses or nice tops paired with skirts or pants for women. Neutral tones with a couple of brighter options for variety. Check out our Limitless Merino Wool Button-Down Shirt, which offers temperature regulation and odor resistance in a stylish and dressy design.
  • 2-3 Pairs of Footwear: Flip-flops or sandals for the beach, comfortable walking shoes for exploring, and casual shoes for evening outings. Ensure all footwear is broken in to avoid blisters.
  • Sleepwear, Underwear, and Socks: Pack comfortable pajamas or sleepwear appropriate for the climate and enough underwear and socks. Pro tip: if you pack merino wool socks you only need 1-3 pairs based on lovation.
  • Accessories: Include a sun hat, sunglasses, and a lightweight scarf for sun protection.

    Children's Clothing Essentials for 7-10 Days of Vacation

    Another essential part is packing clothing for kids and maintaining the ideal balance between packing everything needed and not overpacking. Here is what we recommend taking from clothing based on the kid’s age:

    Baby Clothing Must-Haves

    • 5-7 Onesies: Lightweight and easy to change. Opt for cotton fabrics for breathability and comfort.
    • 5-7 Sleepwear/Pajamas: Opt for footed cotton sleepers with zipper or snap closures to keep the baby warm and for your convenience.
    • 2-3 Pairs of Shorts or Pants: Soft, stretchy materials like cotton or cotton blends. Easy to put on and take off.
    • 2-3 Swimsuits: Quick-drying and easy to put on. Rash guard styles provide extra sun protection.
    • 2-3 Lightweight Jackets or Sweaters: Light cotton or fleece for cooler evenings. Choose neutral colors that match multiple outfits.
    • 3-4 Pairs of Socks: Breathable cotton or bamboo to keep feet cool and dry.
    • 2-3 Sun Hats: Wide-brimmed hats with adjustable straps to stay secure.
    • 2-3 Footwear: Soft shoes or sandals. Look for non-slip soles and easy Velcro closures.
    • 1-2 Outerwear (depending on the climate): Choose a warm, insulated coat for winter trips or a lightweight raincoat or windbreaker for unpredictable summer weather.
    • Accessories: Include bibs, burp cloths, blankets, hats with good coverage, sunglasses with UV protection, and enough socks.

    Toddler Clothing Essentials

    • 4-5 T-Shirts: Breathable, easy-to-wash fabrics like cotton. Bright colors and fun patterns are great for toddlers.
    • 5-7 Sleepwear/Pajamas: Choose footed cotton sleepers with non-restrictive designs.
    • 2-3 Pairs of Shorts or Pants: Durable materials like denim or quick-drying synthetics. Elastic waistbands for easy changes.
    • 2-3 Swimsuits: Quick-drying and comfortable. Rash guards for extra sun protection.
    • 2-3 Lightweight Jacket or Sweater: Light fleece or windbreaker for cooler evenings. Choose neutral or bright colors.
    • 1-2 Outerwear (depending on the climate): Take a versatile jacket that can handle different weather conditions.
    • 2-3 Pairs of Footwear: Sandals, comfortable walking shoes, and water shoes. Look for easy closures like Velcro and non-slip soles.

    Preschooler, Grade Schooler, and Teen Clothing Pack

    • 4-5 T-Shirts: Breathable and easy to wash. Cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics. Neutral and bright colors for variety.
    • 2-3 Pairs of Shorts, Pants, or Dresses: Durable materials like denim or synthetics. Adjustable waistbands for a better fit.
    • 2-3 Swimsuits: Comfortable and quick-drying. Consider rash guards for extra sun protection.
    • 2-3 Lightweight Jackets or Sweaters: Choose versatile and easy-to-layer options for cooler evenings and mornings.
    • 1-2 Outerwear (depending on the climate): A versatile waterproof jacket that can handle different weather conditions is essential.
    • 2-3 Pairs of Footwear: Sandals, comfortable walking shoes, and casual shoes. Look for durable and comfortable options.
    • 2-3 Sleepwear: Pack pajamas made from breathable materials like cotton.
    • 5-7 Pairs of Underwear: Made from comfortable and breathable materials.
    • Activewear/Sportswear: 2-3 outfits suitable for different activities.
    • Accessories: Include hats with good coverage, sunglasses with UV protection, and enough socks.
    • 2-3 Sleepwear: Opt for one option of one-piece pajamas for added warmth.
    • 7-10 Pairs of Underwear: Choose fun patterns to encourage kids to wear them.
    • Accessories: Include hats with good coverage, sunglasses with UV-protection and enough socks.


    Tailor this list to your travel duration and specifics, and include some extra outfits per day for babies and toddlers who are prone to messes. Remember to pack layers of travel clothing to adapt to varying temperatures, especially for children. Stick to versatile and comfortable clothing items to ensure everyone is prepared for any activity your family vacation has to offer.

    Family Vacation Gear List: General & Kids Must-Haves

    Another crucial part of family vacation preparation is having the right travel gear to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. As a dad, equip yourself with essentials that keep everyone comfortable and prepared. Here’s a detailed list of general travel gear and kids` travel essentials based on our numerous travels with children:

    Vacation Gear Essentials:

    • Suitcases and Bags: Look for durable, lightweight luggage with smooth-rolling wheels and sturdy handles. Consider packing cubes and organizers.
    • Backpacks: Comfortable, ergonomic designs with multiple compartments for easy access to essentials during travel.
    • Travel Pillows, Blankets & Portable Beds: Compact, supportive pillows, lightweight blankets, and portable beds for comfort during long journeys.
    • Reusable Water Bottles: Eco-friendly, BPA-free bottles to stay hydrated on the go.
    • First Aid Kit: A compact kit with band-aids, antiseptics, pain relievers, and any necessary medications.
    • Toiletry Bags: Leak-proof bags to organize toiletries and prevent spills.
    • Entertainment and Snacks: Pack small toys, books, electronic devices
    • Snacks: Take a mix of healthy and treat snacks catered to different preferences.
    • Cleaning Supplies: Like changing pads, wipes, face wipes, surface wipes, and hand sanitizers are a must during travel.
    • Travel-Sized Laundry Detergent and a Portable Laundry Bag: Plan to do laundry during the trip to avoid overpacking.

    Packing for kids requires a more thoughtful and advanced approach to ensure you have everything needed for a smooth and enjoyable trip. So, let’s check out kids' vacation travel essentials tailored to their age ranges.

    Baby Travel Essentials:

    • Diaper Bag: Spacious, organized with multiple compartments. Look for a design that includes a changing pad.
    • Portable Crib or Bassinet and Sleep Sound Machine: Lightweight and easy to set up for safe and restful sleep on the go. Pro Tip: If you are staying at a hotel ask them to provide a crib so you don’t have to travel with one.
    • Baby Carrier or Sling: Comfortable for both baby and parent, ideal for hands-free movement.
    • Stroller: Lightweight, compact, and easy to fold. Consider a travel stroller that fits in overhead compartments.
    • Baby Monitor: Portable and reliable for keeping an eye on your baby while they nap. Pro Tip: Use a baby monitor app and an extra pad so you don’t need to carry anything extra. They often have a larger range as well.
    • Baby Food: Bring enough clean bottles, formula, baby food, and pre-measured containers for easy feeding, along with portable bottle warmers. Ensure you have ice packs for keeping milk/formula cool if it’s hot weather.  Pro Tip: You can ask the flight attendants for hot water on the plane to heat bottles and formula. 
    • Baby Entertainment for Road and Vacation: Pack a few noisy toys, activities and sticker books, teethers, and new activities to keep the baby entertained. Bring a device loaded with baby-friendly content for the road time.

      Toddler Travel Gear Essentials:

      • Travel Car Seat: Lightweight and easy to install. Ensure it meets safety standards. Pro Tip: If you are renting a car you can request infant and toddler seats to be available at pick up.
      • Portable High Chair: Compact and easy to attach to tables for convenient feeding. Pro Tip: Check to see if there are child gear rental options at your destination or request one from the hotel and restaurants you visit.
      • Activity Bag: Filled with small toys, coloring books, and snacks to keep your toddler entertained.
      • Baby Food: Bring enough baby food, pre-measured containers for easy feeding, along with portable bottle warmers.
      • Toddler Backpack: Small, fun designs that they can carry themselves, with their favorite toys and snacks.
      • Baby Bathroom Essentials: Baby wipes and a foldable travel potty for convenient toilet breaks.
      • Baby Entertainment for Road and Vacation: Pack a few nature spotting books and sticker books, easy craft projects, and new activities to keep the baby entertained. Bring a device loaded with baby-friendly content for the road time.

      Preschooler, Grade Schooler, and Teen Travel Essentials

      • Booster Seat: Compact and easy to use, ensuring safety during car rides for kids around 8-12 (depending on the state regulations). Pro Tip: If you are renting a car you can booster seats to be available at pick up.
      • Backpack: Durable with compartments for laptops, books, and personal items.
      • Tablet or E-Reader: Loaded with educational games and books to keep them occupied.
      • Headphones and Chargers: Kid-friendly, ensuring they stay entertained.
      • Noise-Canceling Headphones: For a peaceful journey and a better focus on entertainment or studies.
      • Child Entertainment for Road and Vacation: Pack a few coloring books, books, easy craft projects, games, and other new activities to keep them entertained. Bring a tablet with downloaded kids-friendly content, and movies for in-flight entertainment.

      Family First Aid Kit Essentials

      A well-stocked travel first aid kit is an essential part of any family packing list to handle any minor injuries or illnesses that might arise. We usually include the following first aid items in our pack when traveling with kids:

      • Band-Aids and Adhesive Bandages: For minor cuts and scrapes. Choose various sizes to cover different wounds. Bring children’s band-aids with fun designs to make treating injuries less scary for young kids
      • Antiseptic Wipes and Creams: To clean and disinfect wounds. Look for alcohol-free options for sensitive skin.
      • Pain Relievers: Age-appropriate medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen in both liquid and tablet forms.
      • Thermometer: A digital thermometer for accurately measuring body temperature. Ensure it’s easy to use and read.
      • Gauze Pads and Medical Tape: For larger cuts and injuries. Opt for sterile, absorbent gauze and strong, hypoallergenic tape.
      • Tweezers and Scissors: For removing splinters and cutting tape or bandages. Choose stainless steel for durability.
      • Hydrocortisone Cream: To relieve itching and inflammation from bites or rashes.
      • Antihistamines: For allergic reactions. Ensure the correct dosage for different age groups.
      • Instant Cold Packs: For reducing swelling and pain from bumps and bruises.
      • Hand Sanitizer or Antibacterial Gel: To clean hands when soap and water are not available. Choose a travel-size bottle with at least 60% alcohol.
      • Nasal Aspirator: For clearing nasal passages in infants.
      • Teething Gel: To soothe teething pain in babies.
      • Electrolyte Solution: For hydration during illness, especially for toddlers and young children.
      • Hydration Tablets: Easy-to-dissolve tablets for maintaining hydration.
      • Anti-Itch Lotion: For bug bites and rashes, with child-friendly ingredients.
      • Blister Pads: For treating blisters from walking or hiking.
      • Sting Relief Pads: For soothing insect stings and bites.
      • Elastic Bandage: For sprains or strains, with easy-to-use fasteners.
      • Sports Wraps: For supporting sprained or strained muscles.
      • Baby Sunscreen: Gentle, broad-spectrum sunscreen suitable for sensitive skin.

      Ideally, you won't need any of these items during your vacation, but packing them ensures your family is well-prepared for any scenario, making your trip safer for everyone.

      Family Travel Documents List

      When preparing for a family trip, having all the necessary travel documents organized and ready is crucial for a smooth journey. Here’s a detailed list of essential travel documents for each family member, including kids of different ages, to ensure everyone is prepared for any travel requirements.

      • Passports: Valid passports for international travel if you travel overseas.
      • Travel Insurance: Policies covering medical, trip cancellation, and other emergencies. Print out copies and store them digitally.
      • Flight Tickets and Itinerary: Printed and digital copies preferably.
      • Hotel Reservations: Confirmations and contact details for all accommodations.
      • Car Rental Information: Booking confirmations, rental agreements, and contact details for the rental company.
      • Emergency Contact Information: A list of emergency contacts, including local embassy or consulate information.
      • Health and Vaccination Records: Important for international travel, especially if vaccinations are required.

      Children Travel Documents List:

      • Passport: Required for international travel.
      • Birth Certificate: Often needed for identification and proof of age.
      • Parental Consent Forms: If traveling with one parent, ensure you have notarized consent forms from the other parent.
      • Student ID: For identification and potential discounts if your child is already a student.

      Next, let’s check out travel gadgets and electronics essential for your trip with kids.

      Family Travel Gadgets Essentials

      Having the right travel gadgets can significantly enhance your family vacation experience by providing convenience and entertainment. Here’s a detailed list of essential travel gadgets for every family member:

      • Portable Chargers: Essential for keeping all your devices powered on the go. Look for high-capacity power banks with multiple USB ports.
      • Universal Adapter and Voltage Converter: Necessary for international travel to ensure your devices can be charged and not broken because of different electrical systems and voltages.
      • Noise-Canceling Headphones: Choose comfortable, adjustable models suitable for both adults and children.
      • E-Readers or Tablets: Compact and versatile for reading books, playing games, or watching movies. Look for models with good battery life and protective cases.
      • Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot: Ensure it’s compatible with local SIM cards for better coverage and cost efficiency.
      • GPS Device or Navigation App: Choose apps with offline maps.
      • Portable Bluetooth Speaker: For enjoying music or podcasts as a family. Opt for waterproof and durable models for outdoor use.
      • Action Camera and Binoculars or Digital Cameras for Kids: To capture family adventures with high-quality photos and videos. Look for waterproof and rugged models with good battery life. Cameras for kids will enhance their experience and allow them to capture memories.
      • Kids' Activity Tracker: To keep children engaged and active during the trip. Choose fun, durable models with easy-to-use interfaces.

      By equipping your family with these travel gadgets, you’ll ensure everyone stays connected, entertained, and well-prepared. Lastly, let’s look at the toiletries must-have list for a family vacation.

      Toiletries Essentials for Family Vacation

      The right toiletries can make a big difference in comfort and convenience. Here’s a detailed list of essential toiletries for your trip, with tips on how to choose the best items.

      • Toothbrushes and Toothpaste: Choose travel-sized versions to save space.
      • Shampoo and Conditioner: Travel-sized bottles or solid bars to minimize leakage.
      • Body Wash or Soap: Pack travel-sized body wash or soap bars in a soap case. Look for moisturizing formulas to keep skin hydrated.
      • Deodorant: Travel-sized sticks or wipes for freshness on the go. Choose aluminum-free options if you have sensitive skin.
      • Hairbrush or Comb: Compact, foldable versions to save space. Look for detangling brushes if traveling with kids.
      • Adults Toiletries For Men and Women: Opt for travel-sized razors with protective covers and a small can of shaving cream or solid shaving bars and women’s toiletries of travel size.
      • Sunscreen: Broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher, water-resistant. Choose a reef-safe formula if traveling to beach destinations.
      • Moisturizer: A travel-sized, all-purpose moisturizer for the face and body. Look for options with SPF for added protection.
      • Hand Sanitizer: Small, portable bottles with at least 60% alcohol content to keep hands clean.
      • Wet Wipes: Multipurpose wipes for quick clean-ups and freshening up. Opt for biodegradable options.

      Finally, let’s look at some specifics of family vacation packing depending on your destination. We’ll start by diving deep into packing for a beach family vacation, as this is probably the most popular type of vacation.

      Family Beach Vacation Packing List

      Preparing for a beach vacation requires the right travel gear to ensure a fun, safe, and relaxing experience for the whole family. We’ve tailored our list of general beach vacation gear and specific kids' beach vacation essentials:

      Beach Travel Gear Essentials:

      • Beach Bag: Look for a large, durable bag with multiple compartments to keep all your items organized and easily accessible.
      • Beach Tent: UV protection and easy setup to provide shade and a safe space for play and rest.
      • Beach Towels: Quick-drying, sand-resistant towels for everyone. Microfiber towels are lightweight and packable.
      • Sunscreen: High SPF, water-resistant sunscreen to protect against UV rays. Look for broad-spectrum protection.
      • Sun Hats and Sunglasses: Wide-brimmed hats and UV-protection sunglasses to shield from the sun.
      • Swimwear: Comfortable and quick-drying swimwear for all family members. Rash guards provide extra sun protection.
      • Water Bottles: Reusable, BPA-free bottles to stay hydrated throughout the day.
      • Beach Chairs and Umbrella: Portable, easy-to-set-up chairs and a sturdy umbrella for shade and comfort.
      • Cooler Bag: Insulated bag to keep drinks and snacks cold. Look for a lightweight, easy-to-carry design.
      • Waterproof Phone Case: Protects your phone from water and sand, allowing you to capture memories safely.
      • First Aid Kit: A compact kit with band-aids, antiseptics, and other essentials for minor injuries.

      Children's Beach Travel Essentials

      • Swim Diapers: Reusable or disposable, for comfort in the water (for infants and toddlers).
      • Sunscreen: Gentle, broad-spectrum sunscreen suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
      • Floatation Devices: Life vests, arm floaties, or other appropriate floatation aids for water safety.
      • Portable Seat: Lightweight and easy to clean, providing a secure place to sit (especially for younger children).
      • Sun Hat and Sunglasses: Wide-brimmed hats and UV-protection sunglasses to shield from the sun.
      • Swimwear and Rash Guard: Comfortable and quick-drying swimwear, with rash guards for extra sun protection.
      • Beach Toys and Games: Buckets, shovels, sand molds, beach balls, frisbees, and paddleball sets to keep them entertained.
      • Reusable Snack Bags and Containers: Spill-proof and eco-friendly options for easy access to snacks.
      • Waterproof Bag: To keep valuables and essentials safe from water and sand.
      • Reusable Water Bottle: Durable, spill-proof, and BPA-free to ensure they stay hydrated.
      • Beach Towel: Quick-drying, sand-resistant towels for drying off and lounging.
      • Baby powder: for sand removal is essential.

      By packing these essentials, you'll ensure that your children are happy and your family beach vacation is truly enjoyable for everyone. Consequently, check out travel essentials for kids whether it's a camping vacation, road trip, or flight.

      Dads’ FAQs

      What to take with you for a family camping vacation?

      For a family camping trip, pack essential gear to ensure a fun and safe adventure for your children. Include lightweight, insulated sleeping bags, sleeping pads, kid-sized camping chairs, headlamps or flashlights, appropriate clothing, hiking boots, and rain gear. Don’t forget sun protection, insect repellent, a first aid kit, camping toys, and a comfortable backpack. These items will keep your children comfortable, safe, and entertained, making the camping trip a memorable experience for everyone.

      What to take with you for a family road trip?

      When preparing for a family road trip, pack essentials for a smooth journey including age-appropriate car seats, a stroller for smaller ones, travel pillows, blankets, healthy snacks, entertainment options (books, travel games, toys, download audio tours, podcasts, or music), a first aid kit, a portable potty, trash bags, wet wipes, and navigation gear. Try to split long drives over two days to make your trip more manageable and enjoyable.

      What to pack for a kid on a plane?

      When flying with a child, pack essentials for a smooth journey: comfortable clothing, travel pillows, a blanket, healthy snacks, entertainment options, a favorite toy, a first aid kit, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and extra clothes. Check airline policies for using car seats and consider FAA-approved options or travel harnesses. These items will keep your child comfortable, entertained, and well-prepared, ensuring a stress-free flight.

      Summing up

      Children are not obstacles to traveling; they just require a bit more preparation, which we hope will be easier with our guide. As children grow older, traveling becomes easier, requiring less equipment and allowing for more manageable packing and engaging them in the process. We hope, following our packing approach will make your family vacation a stress-free and memorable experience. Happy family vacation!

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