The Ultimate Family Packing List for London (2024)

A great family vacation doesn’t happen by accident. If you’ve decided to visit a great city like London with your family, it will take a bit (or a lot) of planning to make sure things go fairly smoothly and you stay under budget. Even then, there are no guarantees. But with a plan that includes this great packing list for London, you’ll increase the chances that you’ll have a spectacular vacation in the British capital.

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Luggage for the parents

Before you start to pack, you need something to put your stuff in. This is probably the most important packing decision that you’ll make. 

It’s also important because you’ll be hauling this luggage through airport terminals and down airplane aisles, in and out of taxis and or metros and possibly along the streets of your destination up to your place of lodging. So the type of luggage that you have can greatly impact your vacation.

You’ll want something sturdy, dependable and reliable. For full sized luggage, something like this is perfect.

If you want to go with a carryon, like we do, then this is a great choice.

We also found that a carryon backpack was invaluable in being large enough to carry what we needed and being under the allocated size for most airlines. This is the one that we used. It has ample compartments and space and it’s easier than you’d think to carry on your back.

Luggage for the kids

Luggage for your kids is just as important as for the adults. If you’re going carry-on only like us, you want something that meets airline requirements (always check the airline you’re using) but is large enough to carry what you need. Individual compartments are helpful for organization and making things easier to find.

You also want something sturdy, dependable and easy to use.

We purchased this for our trip to London and it was perfect!

Good backpack

The other half of a great carry-ons and backpacks strategy are the backpacks. We found a great backpack that we loved and that served us well on our trip to London. It was a Jansport backpack. It’s hard to go wrong with the classics.

The other backpack was more modern and had plenty of storage space and compartments. This helped keep us organized. It was a stylish backpack similar to this one.

It was easy to wear, slim enough to fit easily in either overhead or under our seat when needed but had enough room to store our electronics.

We kept some documents in the pack also, and they were always easy to find and retrieve because of the finely created pockets and zippers throughout the pack.

Comfy shoes that can handle rain

London has one of the best metro systems in the world, so it makes sense to take full advantage of this fact. Using the metro and walking is probably the best way to see the great city of London.

And since you’ll be doing a lot of walking, you’ll want to make sure that you have shoes that are up to the task. After all, nothing ruins a day like sore feet and uncomfortable shoes.

For comfortable shoes, these are excellent and stylish.

For something a bit better equipped to handle the rain, you might want to check out these.

Don’t forget the kids. They’ll need something comfy as well and these are a great fit.

Light jacket or sweater

It’s always a good idea to layer up even in the summer. A light jacket or a nice zip-up sweater is an excellent choice. When the weather is cooler, it’s perfect to layer with a t-shirt underneath, so that when it does warm-up, you can easily unzip the sweater or jacket or just take it off. Travel umbrella

Travel Umbrella

One of the things that you should know before you visit London is to always be prepared with an umbrella. Our little travel umbrella saved us because we got caught in a lot of rain during our trip to London.

With the umbrella, we were able to just keep it moving and not worry too much.

Crossbody bag

Carrying a typical bag is not always practical or useful when you’re doing a full day of sightseeing. One of the unfortunate parts of visiting a busy tourist destination like London is the problem of pickpocketing and theft.

This crossbody bag can help with that. While London is no more prone to theft than other European destinations it’s always good to be prepared. You also want to look chic while doing that since you’ll be in London after all. This bag is one to have.

Water bottle

It’s not fun to have to stop and pay for water every time someone in the family gets thirsty. And of course, the little ones will be thirsty at the most inopportune times.

Having a nice water bottle handy makes things so much easier. And cheaper.

This one is easy to carry and store in your backpack.

Detergent strips

With the rise of house sharing options such as VRBO and Airbnb, more options are available for families that travel. Longer travel is more comfortable and easier to accomplish. It would seem to be at odds with our preferred carry-ons and backpacks strategy, but it can still work.

Using detergent strips to wash clothing means that you can pack less and stay longer. Since they aren’t liquid, you can easily place them in your carry on bags or backpacks.

Noise blocking/canceling headphones

Noise canceling headphones are a must when traveling by plane. They’re great to ensure that you can hear what you’re listening to over the ambient noise of the airplane, but also blocks out any other unwanted noises (or cries, or screams).

Ear pods are of course the most popular, but also a good old fashioned set of headphones still does the trick. They’re larger, but they don’t take up much space, so you don’t have to worry about that.

Snacks

Families often take advantage of the many budget flight options that are available now. While great for initial ticket costs, the add ons (including meals and snacks) add up.

A great way to work around that is to bring your snacks for the flight. With children, it helps to have snacks even if meals and snacks are included because they can often get hungry on their schedule.

Bringing some snacks is also good for your time at your destination if there is something, in particular, your little ones like to eat.

Suckers for kids on the flight

Suckers are an excellent thing to have for children’s’ ears during flight take off. Chewing gum is often recommended, but suckers have worked better for us and of course, the kids love them.

The downside is they’re now hopped up on both adrenaline AND sugar. Oh well.

London guide book

This sounds like an old fashioned addition to the list with so much free information on the interwebs, but nothing replaces print and paper. Whether you use it as a reference to aid in planning your trip and creating your itinerary or you choose to bring it along with you, guide books can still be very useful.

Lonely Planet is one of the leading voices in travel. Their guidebooks are extraordinary and invaluable.

Adapters

Before you even think about purchasing an adapter, be sure that your electronic device can handle the European voltage standard of 220 volts. What’s listed here is merely an adapter so that you can plug your device into the electrical sockets.

For a family, you’re likely going to have several devices with you. Our family of four was more than happy with these adapters that were able to charge multiple devices at once.

BE PREPARED FOR YOUR FAMILY’S TRIP TO LONDON

London is guaranteed to have to have something for everyone in your family. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so popular with family travelers. Continue preparing for your trip and find out when you should avoid visiting London, how to visit on a budget and how to set up an itinerary for London that the whole family will love.

Author

  • 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, smilesonarrival.com, and social media channels, he shares captivating experiences and valuable tips for families who love to travel.

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The Ultimate Family Packing List for London (2024)
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