Pack the Kids for Summer Vacation!


No packing list is absolutely foolproof, and of course a good one is matched to your destination. That said, let’s say you’re going away for a week — someplace where the only thing on your mind is sand between your toes ;)

First rule: don’t overpack.
Too much stuff only weighs you down, and there are very few places we travel without a washing machine or laundry service at hand. If this means you can carry on your bags (recommended!), so much the better.

Guiding principle: versatility.
Only pack clothes that play well together — focus on comfort & mixability.

Now to the lists: hope they help!

  • 3 short-sleeve tees (graphics to fun colors & stripes)
  • 1 hoodie (after-dinner walks on the beach can get chilly after a day in the sun)
  • 1 lightweight rain shell (because it rains, even in paradise)
  • 2 pair shorts (one playful, one a bit more presentable for dinner out)
  • 1 nicer top (Polo for him, maybe a Legging Tee or Jersey Dress for her)
  • 1 pair long pants (Jeans to Yoga Pants — whatever they like, but have the kids wear these en route)
  • 3 pair underwear
  • 1 pair socks (plus the pair they wear en route)
  • 2 swimsuits (this way the fun doesn’t stop when you sink-wash & hang-dry one suit)
  • 2 rash guards (the ultimate backup to sunscreen! And as with their suits, you have a back-up for washing)
  • Action Sandals or Flops
  • Trekkers (worn en route)


One awesome tip:
Gallon-sized freezer bags with zipper closures make incredible packing organizers. Use them to pack by kid or organize outfits by day. Either way, the writable labels make it easy to keep everything in its place. On the return trip use the bags to separate dirty clothes from clean.

Distractions: to screen or not to screen?
I’m sure we’re not the only ones who try to limit screen-time for our kids. But in the long slog that travel can be these days, we parents need every weapon available to keep the kids from climbing the train, plane, or automobile walls. We recommend a mix of analog & digital diversions.



  • For the iPad & phone — make it fresh. A few new games, a few recent movies, & don’t forget fresh tunes.
  • 2 chargers — they’re small and make your battery-charging responsibilities quicker & easier.
  • Most important! Make sure you have earphones  — one set for each kid — and a splitter, so more than one kid can plug in if sharing a device.



  • Cards: Crazy Eights with the kids to Gin Rummy with your mate (if the kiddos actually nod off) — cards are the ultimate in compact, interactive entertainment.
  • Bag of Tricks: if your kids are anything like ours, they carry a backpack filled with books, markers, colored pencils or crayons, a pad of drawing paper and a favorite stuffed animal.
  • A new book of games: car bingo, connect the dots, mazes, tic-tac-toe, you get the idea. Trust us, a book of games can be a lifesaver when the iPad runs out of juice on a six-hour airport delay & there’s no free outlet.
  • Small fleece blanket:  if by some miracle you are blessed with a young one who falls asleep in transit, there’s nothing better than a warm, soft fleece blanket to induce sleep & keep them there ;)


Last thing. Have an awesome trip!


Photos courtesy of: Pinterest,, The Stir, Tea and Oatmeal Blog.

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