The Best Travel Packing Tips For Parents

Going on a family vacation is one of the most exciting things to plan. However, for parents, the thought of packing the clothes, supplies, and various items for the whole family can seem like a daunting task. But don’t worry, we have the ultimate guide to the best travel packing tips for parents to help you complete your task successfully so that you can have the best vacation possible.

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The most important thing for packing is to stay organized. That’s a little trickier when you’re dealing with multiple people. Some of the best packing tips that work for our family are to plan, pack light, make sure you have snacks and entertainment for young ones, and use packing cubes and easy-to-use luggage options.


Probably the most important part of your vacation is how well you plan it. Sometimes things come up last minute so you have to wing it, but overall you want to have as much planned ahead of time as possible.

Having a full itinerary (even if you don’t religiously stick to it) in place will help inform the decisions that you make regarding what you need to bring with you and what you don’t need to bring.


No matter what type of vacation you’re going on, the first thought is to bring everything for every possible scenario. But we’ve found that we don’t need a lot of what we initially plan to bring. It’s good to review your itinerary and see where you can scale back.

Check to see if you’re bringing duplicates where maybe one item could be shared even if it’s not the same item. This includes clothing, toiletries, and maybe even vitamins and medication


Make sure that your essentials are packed first and somewhere they are easily accessible. This includes things such as your passports, tickets, and medications.

Select a backpack that has specially dedicated secure interior pockets that make it easy to carry these items, keep them organized, and make it easy to access them when needed. Create a checklist beforehand and check them off as you pack them.

backpack in the woods


Going on a road trip provides much more flexibility when it comes to bringing snacks and stopping for food when needed. However, if your family is flying on their vacation, you’re much more restricted.

There will be times when you simply can’t stop and find food when you’re stuck in line or boarding a flight. Those are the times when you’ll be grateful that you have some snacks handy.

If you’re taking a budget airline you want to be especially prepared with snacks or even a small meal to make sure your family isn’t hungry. Even on a road trip, we have been in areas where rest stops are nowhere to be found, and having a small snack made a big difference.


Long flights or car rides can pose a challenge when it comes to keeping kids occupied. All types of travel include waiting and delays. To help pass the time, good entertainment options are a necessity.

laptop, tablet and cellphone

A good mix of electronic options and non-electronic options is good in case there are times when there are no places to recharge and the charge runs out.

Simple things like coloring books and crayons don’t take up much space but can make a big difference. When you want to use electronic options don’t forget some good kid-friendly headphones so that they can enjoy their movies, songs and without disturbing the peace.


Finding enough space for everyone is made much more simple with the use of packing cubes. Even if you don’t use the vacuumed sealed bags, just having things sectioned off with these packing cubes helps keep things organized, easy to access and saves space. Keeping clothes in their own space makes an enormous difference so make sure that you have packing cubes for each member of the family.


If you’re staying in VRBO or Airbnb-type accommodations then packing laundry supplies can help reduce the amount of items that you need to bring. There are certain items that you could wear twice that would cut down significantly on the amount of clothing that needs to be packed.

This would mean just washing once during your trip. Small travel-sized detergent is what works in this situation. 


Finding out the expected weather for your destinations should be one of the first things that you research when booking a trip. It has a great impact on what you plan to do. One of the first things that I do is check with AccuWeather to get an idea of what to expect.

Weather affects the clothing that you’ll pack. Summer is easiest to pack for since summer clothes are much lighter, take up less space, and can easily be washed, dried, and worn again.

t shirt, shoes, wallet, cellphone, watch and sunglasses

But if where you’re going isn’t warm, then you’ll have to prepare for that. That will include which types of luggage to take. Going carry on only is much more difficult with winter clothes.

knit sweater

Also, consider the amount of time that you’ll be outdoors and active. Both factors will influence the type of clothing that you’ll bring. In any case, dressing in easily removable layers is practical. Hoodies are our go-to. It’s easy to just take it off once it’s no longer needed.

If you’re bringing heavier clothing and flying, make sure to wear the heavier clothing when flying.


Pack a small first aid kit with some basics like bandages, pain relievers, upset stomach medications, and allergy medicine if someone in the family has allergies. Find a way to have prescription medication organized.

This organizer is handy and can keep all types of medication organized and in one place. We’ve used it for our trips and it’s incredibly useful and compact.

For prescription medication especially it’s good to have them with you at all times, so this means having them in your carry-on or personal item instead of in a checked bag.


Being organized and packing everything that you need is important, but just as important is what you’re putting your stuff in. Having practical, functional luggage is a necessary part of traveling effectively.

open luggage with passport and travel documents

We’ve made the mistake in the past of purchasing luggage based on a movie character instead of how functional and useful a piece of luggage is. We won’t make that mistake again.

The result was a piece of luggage that was almost useless to us on a two-week vacation. Figure out a good balance between the bags that you’re allowed to bring and what you can comfortably carry.

You have to take into consideration moving through airport terminals and to accommodations. Whether you’ll be using the taxi, Uber, or taking the metro. 


Despite the challenges, going on a family vacation can be a wonderful and fun experience. If you prepare well you can make sure that you’ll spend your time enjoying your trip and making memories instead of worrying about your trip. Be sure to check our essential guide for planning your family trip. Safe travels!


  • Jeremiah Pittmon

    Jeremiah Pittmon is a published travel writer and photographer from Cleveland, Ohio. Passionate about exploring the world with his family, he finds inspiration in all types of travel. Through his blog,, and social media channels, he shares captivating experiences and valuable tips for families who love to travel.

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The Best Travel Packing Tips For Parents
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