Packing list for traveling with children

Some people start packing for the trip weeks in advance, putting away clean clothes to take with them on the trip and buying new band-aids. Rather, we belong to the category of travelers who are usually awake half the night before departure before we have managed to find all the camera chargers and headache tablets that we should have picked up earlier. Luckily, we have a packing list that we reuse and that works whether it's a more luxurious weekend getaway or a backpacking vacation. The packing list we have adapted for traveling abroad with a child or baby, but it works equally well for adults and for all sorts of sun holidays, car holidays and charters. Use it as a checklist and tick off what you need and there is less risk of forgetting something!

We have divided the packing list between child/baby, adult, hand luggage and checked luggage.

In hand luggage (adult)

  • Passport + visa
  • Tickets with flight times (printed on paper or as a screenshot on the iPad - you never know when the battery in your mobile phone will run out)
  • European healthcare card (ordered from insurance fund)
  • Insurance papers (usually only the insurance number for the home insurance is needed)
  • Driver's license (if applicable, international driver's license)
  • Money (Swedish for the flight bus and exchanged travel currency - preferably also pennies for the airport on the layover)
  • (Sun) glasses + glasses case + lenses + lens fluid
  • Credit card, more than one! (Make sure they are unlocked for overseas use before departure!)
  • Hotel reservations (preferably printed out, so that you have the address easily accessible even offline)
  • Guidebook to the destination
  • Security pocket (to hide money in under your clothes if you travel to less secure countries)
  • Cable ties (Indispensable! For locking bags, fixing things that break etc)
  • Necessary medicines for the trip - Read more here.
  • Camera + charger
  • Extra storage media for photos (SD card) and photo adapter for the iPad (so you can blog your photos directly)
  • Headphones (with flight adapter), preferably with noise cancellation
  • IPad with downloaded movies on Netflix or Viaplay
  • Mobile phone + charger
  • Ink pens (for filling in the landing forms on the plane)
  • Readly on the toad or physical newspapers (preferably with crossword puzzles)
  • Loose sweets and chips - so the cinema feeling comes to the feature film on the flight
  • Handkerchiefs and wipes (to wipe hands/airplane table)
  • Vaccination certificate (mandatory in some countries)
  • Earplugs
  • Sweater (if you spill or freeze on the plane)
  • Swimwear (indispensable if luggage goes missing!)
  • Flight bonus card/Priority Pass (for possible lounge visits)
  • Neck pillow

In hand luggage (for smaller children)

  • Pastime! Book, iPad, coloring book, pencils
  • The teddy bear or cuddly blanket
  • Pacifiers + pacifier holder (important – a lost pacifier can ruin a trip)
  • Sandwiches, snacks and children's food (indispensable in case of delays + children under 2 usually do not get food on the flight)
  • Diapers and wet wipes. Take more in your hand luggage than you thought.
  • Bib
  • Towel for the changing table
  • A complete change of clothes for accidents (pants + shirt + underwear)
  • Plastic spoon and water cup
  • Large baby bottle
  • Baby carrier
  • Resealable plastic bags (to keep track of everything from snacks to wet clothes)

In checked luggage – hygiene items

  • Shampoo + Conditioner + Soap
  • Toothbrush + toothpaste
  • Shaver/Razors
  • Lenses + lens fluid (the ones you don't have in your hand luggage)
  • Tweezers
  • Band-Aid
  • Nail scissors
  • Sun cream + cooling balm
  • Fluid replacement
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Fever thermometer
  • Nail scissors

In checked baggage - adult

  • T-Shirts
  • Sweater
  • Jeans / Skirt / Pants
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Linen
  • Windbreaker
  • Pyjamas
  • Dresses (and tights)
  • Comfortable hiking shoes + hiking sandals
  • "Fin shoes" for the dinners
  • Cap/sun hat
  • Bath towel for the beach
  • Fleece jacket (for chilly hikes)
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Umbrella / Rain poncho
  • Plastic bags 3 liters - for dirty laundry, wet swimwear etc
  • Travel hair dryer + Flat iron/Curling iron
  • Makeup and cheap jewelry (leave the diamond ring and expensive watch at home!)
  • Power adapter
  • Flashlight
  • Handbag with zipper compartment. (Leave any branded copies at home - otherwise you may end up in trouble at customs in Italy and France, for example)
  • Hand detergent (type Y3)
  • Google Maps offline if you rent a car (Expensive to use your mobile abroad in many countries and can cost extra to rent a car with GPS!)

In checked baggage - children (mixed age comp)

  • Porridge powder (almost impossible to get hold of abroad) + porridge measure
  • Baby bottle
  • Dish brush for baby bottle
  • Nappies for the first days (number depending on destination)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunbonnet
  • Sun suit
  • Thin blanket (for carriage or sun)
  • Stroller that can be folded up + travel case
  • Mosquito net + rain cover for the pram
  • Short-sleeved shirts + bodies
  • Thick long-sleeved shirt
  • Tights
  • Soft comfortable trousers / skirts / shorts
  • Dresses
  • Socks
  • Pyjamas
  • Comfortable walking shoes/sandals
  • Kettle (for gruel or porridge or for disinfection of baby bottles). Available for both standard electrical outlet and car.
  • Unbreakable small thermos (for hot water on day trips)
  • Baby food tins - rather a few too many than a few too few. Always eats.

And you, before you start packing everything into bags, gather all the packing on the floor. When it's done, make sure that remove half (!) of the stuff, make a final check so that everyone clothes match each other and then pack the things into the bag. Before we had children, we each preferred to travel with our own large backpack – Eva with 40 liters and Anders with 60 liters – and each with their own small practical day trip/hand luggage backpack with lots of compartments. Nowadays, we travel more often with duffel bags/cabin bags than backpacks, but for reasons of flexibility, always try to travel with only hand luggage if the trip is shorter than a week.

3 COMMENTS

  1. So grateful for the tips, am in the middle of planning a 3 month long trip with the family. Our children will be 2 1/2 and 5 1/2 years old when we travel. It is a challenge to pack for a trip that spans such a long time and includes two different seasons, hot summer and cool autumn (including Bali and New Zealand). If you have any extra tips, please email me. Etc. Johanna

    • Hello Johanna! Understand that it is a challenge! We usually travel with the challenge of three climate zones/cultures in the same trip – a set of dressier clothes/shoes for the Middle East, a set for outdoor adventures in national parks and a set for beach vacations in the tropics. It's a bit of a puzzle – definitely! Feel free to email me and I can send you more information about how we do it - unfortunately I don't have your email address!

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About

Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 60 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel site Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.

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