A Packing List

Ashley O'Neill
June 21, 2013

It's summer, and the road beckons. You feel it too, right? A desire to go somewhere new, change things up a bit, explore this big beautiful world of ours. And it's all so adventurous sounding until we realize that we have to pack. And do laundry. And probably hit the store several times before we finally get out the door.  

We believe in lists here at Savvy. And leaving for a trip is no different. Before we leave for a trip, we create the Packing List. The thing that keeps our sanity as we prepare to get on the road, on the plane, or even just out the door for the next big journey. And, when you're packing for kids, the list is LONG. Here's where we start, in case it helps you get on your way even faster.


  • Of course, this all depends on where you're going and whether there's a washer and dryer there. (We almost always try to stay somewhere that has a washer and dryer.) Our best tip is to take things that coordinate so that you can both layer and mix-and-match, according to the day's needs.
  • At least one "nice" outfit always comes in handy, even if you think you won't need it. For our next trip, I'm packing a collared shirt for my son and sundresses for me and my daughter.
  • At least one bathing suit. There have been several trips we've taken where I haven't packed one, and at least half of the time, I've regretted it. They don't take up much space, so it's pretty easy to toss one in.  For our next trip, I'm packing two for each of us. That way we always have at least one dry one.
  • Several pairs of shoes. I always overpack when it comes to shoes, and I have never regretted it. Tennis shoes, flip flops, a pair of nicer shoes... Comfortable shoes can make or break an outing, and we want all outings to be fun on vacation. 
  • Undergarments and socks. Another thing that I think is worth overpacking with. Sometimes a kid can use a clean pair of underpants in the middle of the day.


  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Brush
  • Shampoo, conditioner, soap 
  • Ponytail holders, barrettes, headbands
  • Sunscreen (on every trip!)
  • Any daily medicines
  • For older kids: deodorant, lotion, lip balm, mouthwash (if your kids use it)
  • Their own bags! A small toiletries bag for each child has been a great investment and helps us find things easily.
  • For you: A tip my mom taught me is to pack my toiletries bag as I'm getting ready. That way I'm sure to grab everything I use daily. Jump out of the shower: Grab your shampoo and conditioner. Finish blow drying your hair: Put the blow dryer straight in the suitcase. Make up: Pack it as you go.

Things to Keep Close By:

  • A lovey, one for each kid.
  • Books, lots of books—or an e-reader, which can hold tons of books for your quick-reading kids. (My ten-year-old loves her Kindle.)
  • A bag full of things to keep them occupied on the trip.
  • A flashlight or nightlight. New rooms can make sleeping difficult.
  • DVDs are always good to bring, just in case.
  • Charge up all your gadgets before you go and pack all of your cords.
  • A few movies stored on your iPad or computer can make plane trips and airport waits a little more bearable.
  • Wipes. (Never give up the diaper wipes!) And hand sanitizer.
  • Gallon-size ziploc bags—keep them someplace handy for sticky trash, wet clothes, crayons that need to cleaned up quickly... 
  • Snacks. Nothing makes an outing go south faster than a crabby, hungry kid (or grown-up).
  • A book or two on where you are staying. And books or magazines for you, definitely.

Are you ready? I'm leaving in two days, and I'm getting there!

From the Parents

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