Here Are Your Packing List Essentials For Family Holidays
While you might have your perfect packing list for a jaunt down to the beach sorted, packing for a family holiday is a whole — insert your favourite pun here: other kettle of fish, different ballgame.
Honestly, at times if you manage to get yourself, your partner and the kids out of the house roughly at the right time for your trip, that’s considered a major win.
Yes, it’s imperative you don’t forget the kids at home on your holiday (as tempting at times as it might be), otherwise Home Alone might be less a fictional movie and more a real-life documentary.
Wrangling everyone together is, of course, something to celebrate, but when you have the packing list for a family holiday at hand — and ahead of time — you’ll have even more to celebrate.
And instead of you having to do the hard part and wrack your (tired, potentially stressed) brains all by yourself, we’ve done the work for you.
From babies to toddlers to pre-teens, from the method of transport to the accommodation, here’s the ultimate family holiday packing list — just in time for the holiday season (read: school holidays and that last bit of annual leave you’ve been saving).
Holiday Packing List
The Carry On
Whether it’s the family car, a domestic or international flight, a train or even by sea, there are must-haves when it comes to your kids' carry-on.
A Change of Clothes
Look, whether your little one is still in nappies, or is just a kid who wears more of their food than consumes it, a fact of life with kids is that spills, messes, and accidents happen. And one thing that will make that inevitability a bit easier is having a change of clothes on hand.
We’re talking a whole second outfit, fresh undies and socks — the whole shebang.
Top Tip: Bring a plastic bag — resealable, or that can be tied tightly at the top — for any soiled items. No one wants to see or smell the offending goods.
Depending on your destination — and please research this way in advance, so you’re not caught out — you’ll need passports, visas, proof of vaccinations, car insurance, travel insurance and tickets. Yes, it’s very admin-heavy — but it very much pays off.
Top Tip: Pack a photocopy of these documents in each separate bag. You never know what might get lost (or, unfortunately, stolen), so it’s best to have backup.
Having a refillable water bottle — or in a bubba’s case, a bottle of breast or formula milk — is an essential on the family packing list. And having a snack box or bag full of food you’ll know they’ll eat (and a treat or two, if they’re lucky) is also a necessity.
This is especially helpful if you have a child with dietary requirements, allergies, or just one that’ll kick up a fuss if they’re a picky eater (I’m 28 and still kick up a fuss).
Top Tip: Bring along any feeding equipment — including doubles of your kid’s favourite cutlery. Wet wipes never go astray either. It also helps you out if your final accommodation has adult cutlery only.
Dependent on how long your trip is, and what your kids are into, this could range from:
- Books (pop-up, colouring, chapter, audio)
- Music (CDs, preset radio stations, Spotify playlists)
- Digital (tables with downloaded — and pre-approved — movies and shows, hand-held video games)
- Games (cards, guessing, or the classics like “I spy”)
Top Tip: Pack a spare toy or duplicate one in your suitcase, just in case the one in your child’s hand ends up on an adventure all on its own.
No matter if you are driving, flying or… trekking (?!) this holiday, a travel pillow for the little ones is a travel must-have. For a one-of-a-kind travel ensemble, consider matching our funny bugs printed Kids Travel Pillow with our matching Kids Travel Set — the latter boasting an eye mask and hooded scarf, for snoozing on the go.
Ok so maybe it doesn’t sound like these could fit into a carry-on, but as most of them are stored in a self-duffle bag, they’re easy to throw over a shoulder or clip onto a backpack. A blanket is great for long-haul flights or long car drives — things where it’s guaranteed someone will go down for a nap.
Whether an Adventure Travel Blanket, or a lightweight Cotton Blanket — these are all fun, easy-to-carry options, perfect if you’re going somewhere a bit cooler, or more outdoorsy. If you’re a family who loves camping, your kids will be set with these.
Whether your kid has their own little wheely bag, or you’re combining the packing into a full-sized adult one, these are the suitcase essentials for your family holiday packing list.
The amount of clothes you pack is obviously dependent on the number of days you’re going for.
But there are still some items that never change, including a few outfits that can be mixed and matched; pyjamas; one warm jacket (you never know!); more socks and underwear than you think you’ll never; some sneakers and a slightly fancier pair of shoes (sandals or boots, whatever works for the weather).
If you’ve got a baby on board, change the underwear to nappies (always bring extra), and bring wipes and cream as well.
Hats are essential, and a terry towel robe also never goes astray — perfect for keeping warm post-swim, or for an extra layer at nighttime.
This list could be never-ending, but let’s start with the most important things that are harder to find when you’re away from home — any and all prescribed medication. Next, a first-aid kit that covers all potential scrapes, bumps and bruises.
Then there are the usual toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush & toothpaste, hairbrush & ties. Hand sanitiser and wipes are always good to have on hand, as are packets of tissues. And if you’re gonna spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun, it’s best to pack a big bottle of kid-friendly sunscreen. For babies six months and older, look for ‘sensitive’ or ‘for babies’ sunscreen.
It’s always wise to BYO towels when it comes to kids and babies.
Hooded bath towels for your baby will make bath or shower time that much easier, and it’s highly likely wherever you’re travelling probably won’t have one of these on hand. And for toddlers and the not-yet-tweens, our Starly Kids Towel Set is the perfect accompaniment for rinsing off. Our Tessy Kids Beach Towel Poncho is the cutest holiday addition, or check out our range of ponchos to find something suited to your little one.
Whether your family holiday is a family beach holiday — or if you’ve just got a single day at the beach planned — then your packing list is likely going to include some sea & sand necessities.
Think swimmers and goggles, the relevant floaties, armbands and the like. For babies, don’t forget those swim nappies! Beach and pool toys never go astray either. Everyone loves a spade — including dads.
For drying off or for laying back, choose a colourful kids beach towel or poncho.
While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think “beach gear”, baby wraps are always good to have on hand, for a day at the beach or otherwise. Our Head Designer, Romaine Sutton, recommends packing “a hundred, at least”, as you’ll find endless ways to use them — for shade, breastfeeding, nappy changes, as a wrap, a burping cloth.