Vacation

Vacation Packing Checklist for Your Kids

Having a vacation packing checklist for your kids can help remove some of the stress for getting ready for your summer trip. It will help keep things organized and help kids learn responsibility. Make preparing for the vacation stress-free and fun with some simple prep and a great kids’ checklist.

How to Create a Kids’ Packing Checklist for Summer Trips

When creating a child’s checklist, it’s important to consider several factors. The child’s age, the vacation location, the length of the vacation, and things like whether you can do laundry during the trip all come into play. For younger children, parents may need to have a master kids’ checklist they use for the complete packing list, and give kids a mini list they can use to contribute to packing their bags. For elementary kids, parents can make one list and then make a copy of it—one for the child and then one for the parent to check with. Older kids can usually have their own list to take care of (though parents may want to double-check it or provide verbal reminders).

General Vacation Checklist for Kids

This general checklist can help meet many of the most common needs for summer trips. However, make sure to customize your list with all the items necessary for your specific travel location and itinerary.

  • Shorts
  • Kids’ T-shirts
  • Sleeveless shirts
  • Swimsuits/swim trunks
  • Rash guards
  • Swim cover-ups
  • Lightweight jacket or rain jacket
  • One pair of long pants or kids’ jeans
  • One long-sleeved shirt
  • Hoodie or sweatshirt
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Brush or comb
  • Flip-flops, sport sandals, or water shoes
  • Athletic shoes
  • Children’s beach towels
  • Sun hats or caps
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach bags (if the child is taking their own)
  • Devices with charging cords (tablets, smartphones, iPods, and so on)
  • Headphones or earbuds
  • Reading material for the trip (books/magazines)
  • Reusable water bottle

Checklist for Young Children

For young kids, parents will need to add necessary items for their little ones. These might include:

  • Diaper bag
  • Diapers/wipes
  • Swim diapers
  • Rash cream
  • Tearless shampoo/lotion
  • Baby/toddler sunscreen
  • Formula or baby/toddler foods
  • Bottles or feeding supplies
  • Bibs
  • Burp cloths
  • Lightweight onesies
  • Summer short outfits/summer dresses
  • One or two long-sleeve pant outfits
  • Light jacket/sweater
  • Lightweight blankets for cover-ups
  • Umbrella or sun tent
  • Toys, teethers, or favorite stuffed animal
  • Portable stroller, if needed
  • Portable childproofing materials (socket protectors, tape, etc.) for hotels or vacation homes

Kids’ Packing Checklist for Road Trips or Longer Travel

If your summer vacation will be done via a road trip, you’ll need to keep kids entertained during long travel periods. Consider adding the following types of items to the list:

  • Mini art supply kit—coloring book/sketch pad or activity books and crayons, markers, or colored pencils
  • Sugar-free gum or candies
  • Healthy snacks
  • Portable mini-games or magnetic games
  • Water bottle
  • Travel pillow and blanket
  • Favorite toy or stuffed animal
  • Window shades for vehicles
  • Car seat organizers—purchase ready-made ones designed to fit on the back of the seat, or create your own with an inexpensive cloth shoe or closet organizer

Kids’ Items Parents Need to Pack

Several other items will be important for kids to have, but parents may not want to rely on their little ones to bring. This includes items such as:

  • Any medications or daily vitamins the child needs
  • Any special foods due to dietary needs to allergies
  • Extra battery packs/chargers for cell phones or other devices
  • Travel itinerary or list of the child’s/family’s planned activities
  • Emergency first aid kit
  • Hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes
  • Emergency cash

Ideas for Making Kids’ Packing Fun

Make the process as painless as possible with a few simple ideas:

  • Print the vacation packing list out with some fun pictures for younger kids to help pack their bags.
  • Have a contest between siblings to see who can go the fastest, pack the most accurately, or pack the neatest. The winner gets a small price but the end result is the packing will get done without kids complaining.
  • Pair up family members to check kids’ bags—for example, dad can check boys’ bags, or older siblings can help check younger kids’ bags for example.
  • Purchase a few extra outfits in advance so kids can pack more quickly and easily (and you have less stress about the laundry getting done for packing time).
  • Allow kids to pick out small items or accessories like sunglasses and hats, and then have them pack those items well before the planned vacation so they won’t be left behind.
  • Give each child a sturdy plastic or mesh bag to pack for laundry if you won’t be doing it on the trip.
  • Put items for smaller kids, or items like kids’ personal belongings or toiletries in zip-top bags to make bags easier to organize and items easier to find.

Family Vacation Packing Made Easy

A little planning goes a long way in ensuring that all the packing goes as planned for a family vacation. Use kids’ packing checklists and involve the whole family to make the process fun and stress-free.

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