Family Travel: Pack the Kids

Family trips with small children or even school-age children can be a challenge.  Here is a little checklist you can use to work from for your next trip:

Carry-on Bag/Tote

  • Crayons or washable markers
  • Coloring book
  • Sweatshirt/hoodie/sweater
  • Child’s passport, if traveling internationally
  • Plastic bags (for storing wet clothes, motion sickness emergencies, etc.)
  • Boarding passes
  • Itinerary
  • Contact info for where you’ll be staying, rental car, etc.
  • Snacks (crackers, freeze-dried fruit, string cheese, etc.)
  • Sippy cups or bottles (infant formula does pass TSA checkpoints)
  • Lollipops for takeoff and landing to relieve ear pressure if you’re flying (or get a favorite drink once through security or from a flight attendant before takeoff)
  • A couple of small favorite toys and a couple of new toys
  • Extra outfit for child
  • Extra shirt for you
  • Laptop or tablet computer or portable DVD player with favorite DVD

     To have handy in case you arrive late or your luggage is lost:

  • Children’s book
  • Favorite blanket
  • Pajamas
  • Tissues
  • Digital thermometer
  • Children’s nasal saline drops
  • Children’s acetaminophen
  • Prescription medications
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandages

Transportation Gear

  • Lightweight stroller (Check it at the gate when boarding for easy access for long airport walks.)
  • Car seat or Booster
  • Travel potty seat



  • Outfits (1 per day + 2 extra)
  • Dressy outfit
  • Socks (1 pair per day + 2 extra)
  • Underwear or pull-ups (1-2 per day + 2 extra)
  • Shoes/sandals
  • Waterproof jacket with hood
  • Sun hat
  • Barrettes/ponytail holders


  • Universal sink/tub stopper (available at hardware stores)
  • A couple of favorite bath toys
  • Children’s shampoo/soap
  • Children’s toothbrush
  • Children’s toothpaste
  • Travel potty
  • Comb/hairbrush
  • Nail scissors
  • Sunscreen


  • Stuffed animal/doll/lovey
  • Nightlight
  • Pajamas (1 per day + 2 extra)
  • Kids’ books


  • Two swimsuits
  • Life vest
  • A couple of favorite beach toys
  • Earplugs
  • Bug spray

     Cold Weather/Snow

  • Mittens
  • Parka
  • Snow boots
  • Snow pants
  • Warm hat