Heading out on a family road trip or vacation for the holidays soon? Here’s a family vacation packing checklist so you won’t forget anything!
This post is sponsored by Pampers at Sam’s Club but all opinions are my own.
Taking Long Road Trips To See Family
We are not native Texans. In fact, we’ve only lived here for the past three years. Both my family and my husband’s family live in other states, which makes traveling for the holidays (and other occasions and vacations) difficult, especially as we have four kids, and I am currently pregnant with baby number five.
My brother lives in Omaha, Nebraska. That’s at least 13 hours away.
We made this trip at the beginning of June this year, but I was barely pregnant at the time. And it went well (minus the vomit in the car on the way there). My family has made several long road trips together, and minus sickness, they went great. Our kids haven’t gone too crazy in the car, and we don’t usually forget too many things.
Family Vacation Packing List
As you can tell, we are experienced road trippers. And in all that time, I’ve made the packing list a thing of science. It is thorough and helps me not forget a single thing.
And I’m sharing it with you!
I made this family vacation packing checklist after our June road trip. You can use it if you are traveling for Thanksgiving, Christmas, a family reunion, or whatever, whenever.
What to Pack vs. What To Buy When You Arrive
This packing list is mostly only the stuff you will need when you get to your destination, not necessarily what things to bring in your car to keep everyone entertained (that is another post for another day), nor is it a list of foods and drinks to pack for a long road trip.
This is your checklist of all the clothing, toiletries, medicines, and baby stuff you will likely want to bring with you.
How To Print the Free Packing Checklist
You can download a handy travel packing checklist for family printable HERE (along with additional vacation checklists) or via the form below:
Family Vacation Packing Checklist
Here’s everything that I usually pack for vacation. Some of it I will mark “buy when we get there” so we don’t have a car full of stuff with no room to relax.
Everything here is on the printable list you can download above.
Vacation Clothing Checklist
Obviously, appropriate clothing, shoes, and accessories are one of the most important things to pack for your vacation! No one wants to get stuck paying more than they need to for items they already own but just don’t have with them. Check the weather before you leave for vacation and plan your entire vacation clothing accordingly.
Generally, you’ll want at least a new set of clothes per day, unless you’re going on an extended stay vacation and know you’ll have access to a washing machine and dryer (like if you’re going to a family member’s house) as that will allow you to pack lighter. However, an extra pair of underwear is good to have too.
Be sure to pack the following for every member of your family:
- Light Jacket
- Suit/Dress Clothes
- Workout Clothes (including undergarments)
- Dress Socks
- Dress Shoes/Heels
- Tennis Shoes
- Warm Clothing (if needed)
Personal Care Packing Checklist
What you’ll need here will depend on what you personally use or don’t use. I tried to list various options so you don’t forget anything that you do use regularly! As you aren’t flying, you won’t have to bring travel-sized bottles, but it’s still good to bring smaller bottles in order to conserve luggage space. Also, some supplies may be at your destination, depending on where you are driving on vacation.
- Toothbrush (and charger station if electric)
- Toothpaste (travel size)
- Cotton Swabs
- Nail Clippers
- Eye Liner
- Eye Shadow
- Lip Gloss/Lipstick
- Makeup Remover
- Makeup Remover Pads
- Facial Cleanser
- Facial Moisturizer
- Body Wash (travel size)
- Shampoo (travel size)
- Conditioner (travel size)
- Razor (and charger if electric)
- Shave Gel/Cream
- Body Lotion
- Hair Brush
- Hair Straightener
- Hair Curler
- Blow Dryer (if needed at destination)
- Bobby Pins
- Hair Ties and Accessories
- Mousse, Gel, or Hair Spray
- Glasses Case
- Glasses Cleaning Spray and Cloth
- Contact Cases
- Contact Solution
- Extra Pair of Contact Lenses
- Feminine Care Products
If you are going to a hotel with a pool, the beach, waterpark, lake, or river, you’ll need to pack swimming supplies for your family! You may or may not need all of the following items, depending on where you are swimming.
- Beach Towels
- Beach Bag
- Bathing Suits/Swim Trunks
- Bathing Suit Cover
- Floaties/Life Jackets
- Pool Toys/Accessories
- Sand Toys
- Beach Umbrella
Medicines Packing Checklist
While there are usually pharmacies wherever you may go, bringing your own supply of some basic medicines and supplies will keep you from having to find one or pay full price. If you have any prescription medicines, be sure you have enough for your trip ahead of time, or have the script in-hand and a pharmacy near your vacation destination that will be able to fill it for you.
- Daily Vitamins
- Prescription Medicines
- Pain Medicine (Kids and Adults)
- Allergy Medicine
- Cough Drops
- Cough Medicine
- Anti-Nausea Medicine
- Anti-Itch Cream
Important Information and Papers Checklist
The following are things you should always have with you when you travel. If you are crossing into another country, be sure to have your passports, and it’s always a good idea to keep cash (and change) on hand for various activities and things you may need it for.
- Driver’s License
- Health Insurance Cards
- Emergency Numbers
- Car Insurance Cards
- Passports (if needed)
- Cash (change for tolls)
- Credit Cards
- Hotel Reservation
- Prescription Refill Notes
Baby Vacation Checklist
If you are taking a baby on vacation, it’s helpful to know what to bring specifically for them! While they are small, they often require special care as they’ll be sleeping in a new environment. You’ll want to help them sleep as normally as possible while on vacation.
Ask to see if your family member or friend already has various baby supplies you can borrow while there like a Pack ‘n Play, stroller, high chair, or swing (if vacationing to a family member’s house) rather than having to lug yours there as well, because they start to take up a lot of precious packing space in your vehicle!
Strollers can be optional too, depending on what you’re doing on your trip. Many vacation venues and attractions offer strollers or wagons you can rent if you are tight on space in your car.
Also, if you will be on vacation a long time, you may consider having diapers and/or wipes shipped to a relative’s/friend’s house rather than having to bring your own box.
Sam’s Club has fantastic deals on stuff like these. I just picked up two boxes – Pampers Cruisers for my 2-year old, and Pampers Swaddlers for our upcoming addition in January. I always use and buy the Pampers Sensitive Wipes too, but we’re currently stocked on those!
Just be sure you have plenty of Pampers diapers and wipes in your diaper bag or otherwise accessible during your road trip!
- Pampers Diapers
- Pampers Sensitive Wipes
- Butt Cream
- Favorite Blanket(s)
- Pack ‘N Play
- Favorite Snuggly Object
- Stroller or Wagon
- Baby Carrier
- Bottles and Nipples and Inserts
- Bottle Cleaning Tools
- Nursing Cover
- Breast Pump and Charger/Car Charger
- Breast Pump Cleaning/Sanitizing Supplies
- Portable Booster Seat or High Chair
- White Noise Machine
- Baby Monitor
We live in the 21st Century, so electronics will most likely be among your family vacation packing list! It’s always important to make sure whatever you bring, you have batteries and charges for them, including chargers for the car.
- DSLR Camera (or point-and-shoot camera)
- Other Lenses
- Replacement Batteries
- Battery Charger
- Upload Cable (to share vacation pictures while there)
- Cell Phone
- Phone Charger(s)
- Car Phone Charger
- iPad/Tablet Chargers
- Laptop Charger
- Stereo Audio Converter (to play things through your car’s stereo from your phone/tablet)
- Fitbit/Wearable Pedometer
- Fitbit/Wearable Pedometer Charger
- Portable DVD player and Cords/Charger
Other Items to Pack
- Blank Notebook
- Sleeping Bag(s)
- Small Scissors or Pocket Knife
- Favorite card or board games
Whether or not you are going somewhere far or near for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year, I hope you found this family vacation packing checklist super helpful! I know I’m glad I finally took the time to write it all down so I won’t forget something next time we go on a family vacation!
When will you be traveling next?
This conversation is sponsored by Pampers at Sam’s Club. All opinions are my own.