Leave a Comment

The Ultimate Family Packing List For Your Next Travel

Amelie Jet-Setting

“A” is jet-setting here …  to her first international solo trip to visit her grand-parents in the South of France. Professional packer in the future?

It never fails that the day before we’re supposed to travel I am perplexed at the fact I haven’t even begun officially packing. Seriously, what is up with that? I know I’m not lazy … and I know that I have told myself day after day, “Bridge, you should start getting things ready”. Well, not this time around. Nope – I am NOT going to let myself fall into that trap again. We are planning for an AWESOME trip soon (I can’t wait to share where we’re going soon in a feature blog), and therefore I have decided to give myself a shot at proactive planning and packing with my own travel packing list. And, although this is an easy printout list, I am happy I can reference it via the blog again in future when I need to re-pack to come home. Booo – did I seriously just mention coming back from a vacay? What is wrong with me?!?!

Jet-Setting Max

Here is M taking his third international trip solo … already with a “Mom, I’ve got this” twinkle in his eye.

Naturally, I want this list to be useful for me (what a selfish moment I am having), but I equally want it to be helpful for you. So, as you embark on your next adventure and you choose this list as your go-to, please let me know what worked well and where we can collaborate to make this the ultimate travel list for all TBSH readers!

What you’ll find below is my packing list broken down by bag, or suitcase. I think this is the compartmentalized part of me coming out; one bag at a time as I say. Below the list you’ll find additional nifty details and insight into why I put some of these things on my list.

Okay … Get to packing – Get to traveling – Get to finding happy!

The List.

Below you will find my packing list. If you find an asterisk (*) next to any item it is specific to traveling internationally, and therefore if you’re just staying in the lines of the U.S. you don’t need to worry about packing that item.

Technology Compliment Necessities List:

  • Cardstar App
  • Pictures of your passport
  • Translation App *
  • Airline App
  • Emergency Contact Information Updated
  • Movies, Games, and Entertainment Updated On iPads

My Carry-On Packing List:

  • Sunglasses
  • Little writing notebook+ pencil + pen
  • Cell Phone
  • Cell phone + iPad charger
  • 1 Converter *
  • Ear buds or headphones
  • Pair of socks
  • Small Evian spray bottle
  • Lip gloss
  • Scarf
  • 2-3 disposable travel toothbrushes
  • A pack of gum
  • Passport(s)
  • Wallet (with driver’s license + cash, in it)
  • iPad
  • Book
  • Small hand sanitizer
  • Laptop
  • Printed tickets + Hotel Details
  • Bottle of water
  • Bag of cheerios
  • Small pack of tissue

The Kid’s Carry-On Packing List:

(I normally let each child bring their own carry-on, and this list applies to each of their carry-on totes):

  • iPad
  • Ear buds, or headphones
  • Hoody or sweater
  • Pair of socks
  • 3-5 toys (including books, colors, etc.)
  • Plush animal (also serves as a pillow!)
  • 1 Bottle of water
  • 2 Snacks

The Infamous Suitcase, My Master Packing List:

  • Under-Garment Bags:
    • Bra and Panty Bag – All of my bras and panties go into this bag
    • Socks Bag – All of my socks go into this bag
    • Bathing Suit Bag – My bathing suits, and if room allots my sarongs, go into this bag
  • Pajamas
  • Sarong(s)
  • 1-2 head scarfs
  • 1-2 white t-shirts
  • 2 pair of jeans
  • Shirts in one neat pile
  • Shorts and pants in one neat pile
  • Dresses and jackets in one neat pile
  • Shoes
  • Small black tote
  • Camera + Tripod (of course!)
  • Ziploc bag of additional chargers and electrical converters *
  • Wash Me, Wear Me bag

My Toiletry Bag Packing List:

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • A travel-sized sewing kit
  • Moisturizer
  • Hair dryer
  • Flat iron
  • Contact lenses
  • Contact lens solution
  • Brush and/or comb
  • Deodorant
  • Glasses
  • Make-up
  • Make-up remover
  • Cotton swabs or cotton wipes
  • First Aid Travel Kit: band-aids, antihistamine (think allergies), ginger candies (think motion sickness), non-aspirin pain reliever (think headache … or hang-over?!?!)
  • Floss
  • Toothbrushes (I always include mine and my kids into my toiletry bag)
  • Toothpaste
  • Razor(s)
  • Shaving cream (travel size – Target is great with these)
  • Ziploc bag of hair ties and pony-tail bands
  • Hair mouse or gel
  • Cucumber eye patches

The Kiddos Master Packing List:

For Her:

  • Under-Garment Bags:
    • Undies and Socks Bag – All of her panties, bloomers, undershirts, and socks go into this bag
    • Bathing Suit Bag – Her bathing suits, and if room allots her cover up
  • Pajamas
  • Bathing suit cover up
  • 1-2 Extra T-shirts
  • 2 pair of jeans, or pants (assuming we’re going into a place with warm weather)
  • Shirts in one neat pile
  • Shorts and pants in one neat pile
  • Dresses and jackets, or cardigans, in one neat pile
  • Shoes

For Him:

  • Under-Garment Bags:
    • Undies and Socks Bag – All their underwear and socks go into this bag
  • Pajamas
  • Bathing suit(s) + 1 Rash Guard
  • 1-2 Extra T-shirts
  • 2 pair of jeans, or pants (assuming we’re going into a place with warm weather)
  • Shirts in one neat pile
  • Shorts and pants in one neat pile
  • Hoodies or sweaters in one neat pile
  • Shoes
Tip: Get some travel bags and use these to help compartmentalize your smaller items!

Tip: Get some travel bags and use these to help compartmentalize your smaller items!


Tip: If you ever get cute totes with shoes you purchase, use them also to help pack your smaller items!

Tip: If you ever get cute totes with shoes you purchase, use them also to help pack your smaller items!

Why Would Bridgette Put These Things On Her Travel Pack List + Some Other Tips:

I am sure some stuff I’ve suggested may seem odd, or you’re just scratching your head and wondering what awesome mimosa recipe I must be making while drafting this list! Well, fortunately for you I cannot multi-task that well when creating this list and I provided below more insight into why I put some things on my list. I also thought I’d share some tips that I have found useful in my traveling excursions. And, without further adieu, and in no particular order:

  1. Who Prints Anymore? Hear me out on this one – you’ll want printed airline tickets + hotel details, and more specifically make sure the hotel print out has the phone number and address to the hotel. This may seem antiquated but this has saved me many times over when I am getting poor cellular reception when arriving and I am stuck in a taxi trying to explain where the hotel is – not fun!
  2. Play It Safe – Emergency Contacts. I normally make sure G’s family and at least one local friend is aware of our trip dates and details just incase I need to leverage them as an emergency contact. This came in handy one time when our home alarm went off while we were out of town and the cops needed a representative to confirm the house was safe! We’re lucky we live in an area where cops are quite integrated into the patrolling and watching after residences and they were not going to leave our premises until our designated representative gave them the okay!
  3. Shampoos, Conditioners, Body Washes, and Soaps. If I know I am going to a location that will have this already available to me, I pass in bringing my own because these types of items can add a lot of weight to your bag! Plus, I can always buy a mini pack wherever I am in most circumstances. Another thing I normally feel I’m spoiling myself on when I travel is when I pack the L’Occitane Verbena Travel Kit. OMG – this smells amazing, and I found out that this is the same they offer at the Four Seasons. Nothing like giving yourself a 5-minute moment of divinity during the ONLY time you’ll get to yourself – the bathroom!
  4. Hair Dryer and/or Flat Iron. Don’t feel compelled to bring these types of beauty appliances unless you are absolutely sure the place you are traveling doesn’t offer them. If you can cut this out of your packing you’ll gain that much back in having to lug a heavy suitcase around!
  5. Passport(s) (assuming you’re traveling international. If you’re traveling within the U.S. your driver’s license is suffice to get onto the airplane and back)
  6. Driver’s License (I always bring this by default just incase I need another form of I.D. … By the way, make sure your license is current! I actually realized mine is due to expire while on my trip, therefore I had to take a nice trip to the DMV before leaving. Whew … scathed that one!)
  7. Small backpack tote (I use this a lot when I know we’ll be walking around a lot and I want a cute, but functional piece. It’s amazing how kids still think you’re the octopus that can hold EVERYTHING. For you kiddos reading this by chance, do you seriously wonder how we can hold everything?
  8. Socks in the carry-on? I am one of those people that gets cold on the plane and I’m tired of the airlines not providing blankets to economy class. Therefore, I now pack a pair of socks in my bag and that seems to solve the problem. If the bag I carry on is big enough, I’ll actually pack my knitted mermaid blanket: check it out!
  9. Shoes, my packing nemesis. Why? You should know be now to understand I feel I must have them all, and traveling hasn’t precluded this addiction! But, I do have to digress in travel with at least the following pairs of shoes:
    1. 1 pair of tennis shoes (I love a pair of Keds white shoes, but if I know we’ll be actually trekking or walking in terrain I’ll put my New Balance or Adidas shoes instead)
    2. 2 pair of flip-flops: 1 black and 1 gold or beige/dark leather
    3. 1 pair of black flats: I use these to dress up a romper for a casual dinner, or to add a little element of simple sophistication to jeans and a shirt
    4. 1 pair of strappy heals: either in black or beige. What dictates who makes the cut is based on the what matches majority of my evening outfits.
  10. Razors.  I always pack 2 blade replacements incase for some odd reason the one on my razor is dull and I didn’t have time to replace. Also, sometimes sneaky G (my husband) tries to use my razor and I like having an extra for him!
  11. Travel Bags / Storage. I feel I became a new travel person all together when I blessed my luggage with travel bags. As mentioned above, I found mine at J Crew. But, if you don’t have any and can’t get them before you leave, Ziploc bags have been my back-up plan. You can get them in a variety of sizes and you can write on them with a sharpie. The kiddos have even taken them and decorated the Ziploc bags! So, there is some sense of fun the kids get out of it – just make sure they wash their hands from any black marker before wanting to help you pack! Yes, lesson learned J
  12. Twas The Night Before Departing. Man, that sounds a bit morbid, doesn’t it – sorry about that! This was really meant to say don’t forget to put all cell phones and iPads on their chargers the night before leaving – ESPECIALLY the kids! You’ll thank yourself when at the airport … waiting!
  13. Cardstar (I use this to store my health insurance information in it. It is also great to store your airline mileage / loyalty cards, or any other membership card you have! … Seriously try it – you’ll thank me later!)
  14. Going To Expand Your Linguistic Skills? Assuming you’re going to a destination you don’t speak their local language … and no, Texas doesn’t count J … make sure your phone has a translation app. Google is great, but again if you have poor cellular service / reception when arriving don’t put yourself in a place of SOL.
  15. Emergency Contacts. Identify 2 emergency contacts and make sure their contact information on your phone is up-to-date. This is a peace-of-mind task – follow the Nike phrase and Just Do It!
  16. Entertainment.  Make sure the kiddos iPads have at least 2-3 movies on them already downloaded (and, if you have multiple kids, having each iPad with different movies makes for an easy swap exercise if they need additional entertainment options!)
  17. Disposable Toothbrushes. Oh man, these can really be handy when you just need to have a little freshness in your mouth when on the plane, at the airport, or when you first arrive and don’t want to unleash the task of digging for your toothbrush. You can normally find these in a pack of 24 relatively cheap. Colgate makes a good one!
  18. Chargers and Converters. I often find it simplest to get a big Ziploc bag and put all chargers and electrical converters in this one bag, which then I’ll place in the suitcase OR in G’s carry-on. Why am I so strategic about these being all together and in a Ziploc bag? Easy – one place to find them AND the Ziploc bag is clear and allows you to visually find it easily!
  19. Outfit Preparation.  This should seriously be it’s own blog all together, but I am going to keep it brief in this posting. When it comes to packing outfits, I have found it best to pack 1 2 outfits per any given day (1 for the day, and 1 for the evening). I also find I still enjoy “outfitting” myself when on vacation when I choose outfits where pieces mix-and-match with others. This way, if I am just not feeling like getting SO fancy one evening, I will mix my awesome top with my jeans … slap on some strappy heals, and voila! So, give yourself 1 hour and lay your outfits out on your bed and see if they can mix-and-match somehow – some way. If so, you may have just been able to condense some packing space by taking out some outfits because others give you more options. You should take the same approach with the kids outfit strategy. You’ll notice I suggest packing a few extra t-shirts, this is to help with circumstances when spills occur and the shirt you thought would be going with an outfit is now not an option. Also, another trick I’ve recently discovered is if you’re going to a beach destination, my sarong has been a secondary option as a relaxing outfit when sitting on the hammock, or even sometimes when at our rental home in the evenings. I’m trying to help you out on that weight limit these airlines have now!
  20. Recover-E Cucumber Eye Pads. Momma will have some cocktails I’m sure and her eyes sometimes get a little upset with this the next day! So, to help keep everyone happy here, I always include Recover-E Cucumber Eye Pads in my toiletry bag. These don’t weigh but maybe a few ounces and you simply just open a small pack and lay down and enjoy!
  21. Who Are You Flying With? Make sure you download your airline’s phone app so you are in the know when things change with your flight. I have always found it helpful when allowing them to text me updates to flight changes.
  22. Did Someone Say Snacks? Yep! I sure did. When packing my own carry-on Cheerios have been my lifetime companion – I Heart You Cheerios J The kids like them, too! But, sometimes variety is good, so I’ll normally also pack one of the healthy snacks you can find on my blog: Top 5 Healthy Snacks For The Pre-Tweens In Your Life.
  23. Cellphone Service. Watch out if you are traveling outside of the U.S. and your carrier doesn’t offer service, or has ridiculous international roaming. Don’t go broke paying a $500 cell phone bill because you kept texting oversees from a U.S. carrier! Block an hour of your time BEFORE you leave and call your carrier to figure out your options. Some carriers, like Sprint, offer an International flat-rate option … some phones also allow for sim cards to be interchangeable; you’ll just need to get a pre-paid sim card once you reach your destination. I found this article by whistleOut helpful if you want to learn more about SIM cards in preparation for international travel.
  24. Small Evian Spray Bottle. I can’t get enough of these little cans of water, and the primary reason why is because it refreshes you so quickly when your face needs a little pick-me-up. Also, I have used these SO many times when walking the streets of Paris in the summer and I just need to something to cool me down.
  25. One Suitcase For Two Kiddos: Sometimes my packing skills are mad-skill and I can get both the kids items into one suitcase. Normally this occurs when I limit my daughter’s shoes! (I am soooo evil.) I’ll normally reserve the mesh zipper pouch that is on the inside of the suitcase for three pairs of shoes per child: flip flops, sandals, and tennis shoes for her … flip flops and a 2 pair of tennis shoes for him. I am sure there is a time coming soon when this won’t be available to us (let’s remember, A is only 8 right now and M is 11), but I’ll ride this wave as long as I can!
  26. Wash Me, Wear Me Bag.  Geeze … enough with the bags already!  No, don’t mark this off the list yet – you WANT this one because it is so convenient to have something to pack away the dirty, or wet bathing suit, items when preparing to come back home.  So, add this to our Mother’s Day List … Christmas List … Whatever List and put it in the suitcase.
Don't forget to pack one of these! Wash Me, Wear Me bags :)

Don’t forget to pack one of these! Wash Me, Wear Me bags 🙂

And, that my friend is the Travel Packing List I hope you find uber helpful and wildly successful during your next family get-away!  If you think there is something worth adding, pass it along  below in the comments section.  OR, if you happen to use this list and found it really good for you – let me know, too!  I want to make sure this is a reliable resource for you all!  So, happy travels my fellow globe-trotters and don’t forget to drink one for me 🙂

— XOXO, Bridge

This entry was posted in: Travel


Hello! I am a zestful and passionate tech-gal that is also doing my best to raise amazing children ... sips a Nespresso before tackling yoga ... enjoys more the sprint interval running kind of routine ... drools over travel ... is a new budding foodie and chef ... isn't afraid of a DIY, or getting hands dirty ... feels the thirst for learning should be a lifelong companion ... supports my hubby in his Ironman endeavors ... tries to spread as much happiness for others as possible ... OH, and never lets a day go by when I haven't smiled :)

Leave Us Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s