12 Awesome Stress-Buster Family Holiday Packing List Tips

So. You’ve decided where your next family holiday travel will be, you’ve excitedly booked flights and accommodation and planned out the whole amazing itinerary for your memorable family travel time.

But wait …

Before the fun times begin, first comes the great joy of packing when it comes to going on a holiday with kids. Packing the kitchen sink? Definitely.

To save you time, and effort and prevent that massive “oh my god what do I pack” headache, we have curated our top 12 family holiday packing list tips that we hope you find to be super useful for your next family travel.

Read on and get yourself prepped so that you can set off knowing that the whole family will stand a good chance of relaxing and enjoying your family travel time fully.

family holiday travel
Before the holiday begins there comes the task of packing for your entire family. | Credit : JamesDeMers via Pixabay

Top 12 Family Holiday Packing List Tips

1. Check The Weather

Always be prepared for the weather at your holiday destination. You may need warm clothes for cold evenings, even if the weather is hot during the day. Be prepared for the unexpected. Remember a few years back when temperatures plummeted in the region, and Bangkok experienced 23 degrees for a few days?

A friend who is an avid traveller has this advice: “Always pack some warm clothes if you’re going somewhere hot, and always bring some singlets if you’re going somewhere cold”. After all, Mother Nature rules, not us.

2. Prepare A Packing Checklist

Some individuals who naturally possess organizational skills may thoroughly enjoy this aspect of the packing process. However, for those who are not inclined towards organisation, it can feel like an overwhelming and daunting task.

But it really is best to be as organised as possible before you start packing so that the whole process is as stress-free as possible.

A packing checklist is essential for family holiday travel. Nowadays, you have various tools at your disposal, such as Excel, Google Sheets, your phone, or even a traditional notepad and pen.

A checklist will assist you in identifying items you need to purchase, determining the suitcase space required, and also identifying what can be left behind.

family travel checklist
Sit back, relax over a cup of coffee and prepare your family travel checklist. | Credit: Free Photos via Pixabay

3. Packing Essentials: Packing Cubes

For the uninitiated packing cubes are fabric pouches with zippers that will keep everything super organised in your suitcases and carry-on bags.

These come in various shapes and sizes, and for example, you can have a few cubes – one for tech and accessories, one for medicine and first aid, and one for the kids’ toys and books in your main suitcase.

If you’re renting a holiday home or staying in multiple hotel rooms, packing cubes can act as mini-suitcases, making it easy to divide and access your belongings.

Here’s an example of how you can use packing cubes to divide the contents of your suitcase:

  • Activewear
  • Evening attire
  • Beach and swimwear
  • Footwear
  • Evening attire
  • Tech chargers and cables
  • Medical kit
  • Dirty laundry ( alternatively you can just use a large laundry/plastic bag for this )
  • Toiletries

Pro Tip: Consider using different-coloured packing cubes for each family member to easily separate and identify each person’s belongings. It’s a brilliant way to stay organized!

family travel packing cubes
Packing cubes keep clothes compressed and in place and are made from super lightweight fabric, which is so important for air travel, where every gram counts. | Credit: Insider

4. The “Roll Instead Of Fold” Technique

This technique, favoured by many experienced travellers, serves two purposes: it saves space and minimizes the creasing of clothes. Nobody wants to spend a precious family holiday travel time standing over an ironing board, right?

For delicate fabrics prone to creasing, consider rolling them in tissue paper as an extra precaution to protect and preserve their condition.

Rolling the clothes may consume some time, but it is worth it. It is remarkable how much more you can get into a suitcase if you roll rather than fold clothes and use packing cubes.

roll not fold
Fans of international tidying expert Marie Kondo will be familiar with the “roll not fold” packing game-changer. | Credit: Sydney Morning Herald

5. Mix And Match

Unless you’re an influencer, a family holiday packing list, especially when travelling with kids, is all about keeping things simple. The key is to choose versatile tops and outfits that can be mixed and matched, and select dresses that can be dressed down for daytime activities and dressed up for the evening.

Chances are, you won’t actually need as many clothes as you initially think. Lay everything out on your bed and then be realistic by putting away at least half of it.

Enlist the help of your minimalist friends – they have got this one down to an art.

6. wash your Underwear

To minimize your family holiday packing list, we have a tip for underwear: pack a travel-sized bottle of detergent so you can quickly wash undergarments when you shower, dry them, and wear them again. This way, you can avoid packing excessive amounts of underwear, especially when travelling with kids.

Use a packing cube for underwear and socks. Or another space-saving method is to simply shove your underwear into the gaps in your suitcase, or fill the insides of your shoes with it.

7. Shoes shoes shoes!

Here’s the lowdown on what you should pack for footwear during family travel.

  • A pair of trainers or flats to wear for travelling
  • A pair of flip-flops or simple sandals for daytime and the beach
  • A pair of heels and jazzier shoes for the boys for evenings

8. toiletries

Travel toiletry bottles are the way to go for family holiday travel. To avoid spillages, you can wrap up your bottles in clingfilm.

Pro Tip: Did you know that silicone travel bottles are leak-proof, so you don’t have to worry about the annoying spilling of shampoo or lotion? They are also lightweight, flexible and durable.

You can also consider hanging toiletry bags as you can hang them on the back of the bathroom door where you are staying and don’t need to unpack them. This is super handy if you are short of space in the hotel or apartment bathroom, and also helps to keep little kids’ hands away from your toiletries and make-up.

A final tip about toiletries – only take what you cannot live without.

For example, it is much better to bring your own sunblock – you will know what you’re getting and get the SPF factor you use – some places may not have the SPF factor that you require.

family travel toiletries
Hanging toiletry bags are super handy if you are short of space, and also help to keep little kids’ hands away from your toiletries and make-up. Just hang them up; you don’t even need to unpack them. | Credit: Howards Storage World

9. Packing Tech

In this day and age, tech is a must on your family holiday packing list.

Here’s a tech checklist for family travel.

  • Phones, chargers and power banks ( and do remember that on flights, power banks are not allowed in check-in luggage )
  • Tablets ( including Kindles ) and chargers
  • Earphones – for adults and kids
  • Travel adaptors – families need more than one to avoid a war-zone

Want to up the ante and be mega-organized? Consider investing in a tech travel organizer – a great way to keep your gadgets, cables and chargers neat and tidy in your suitcase.

packing tech
Tech travel organisers come with various loops and pockets to store cables, charging leads, earphones, smartphones and more. | Credit: Business Insider

10. Packing for the kids – and no, you don’t need the kitchen sink

This is the big one – it is so common to scratch your head frustratedly trying to figure out what to pack for kids because you don’t want to overpack but at the same time you don’t want to run out.

Till the kids get to the age where they can self-pack ( truly a very happy milestone for parents ), here are our top tips for keeping it simple and getting it right :

  • Beachwear

If your family holiday travel is to a hot destination, consider getting swimwear that comes with sun protection. And as kids may happily live in their swimsuits whilst, on holiday, you should pack at least two or three sets per child. This is one area you can max out without regrets.

A sun hat is pretty essential as are a pair of sunglasses with UV-certified lenses – these are useful if it is windy on the beach as you don’t want sand getting into small children’s eyes.

As for beach shoes, flip-flops may seem like the natural choice, but opt for a pair that comes with a strap so it won’t come off in the water and float away for good.

  • Do not overpack clothes

Choose easy-to-wash and wear tops and bottoms.

If you’re flying, it is a good idea to have each child, if they are old enough, carry a backpack. In it should be a jacket in case it gets cold, a favourite book or toy, some small puzzles or plus a spare set of clothing in case of spills or vomit. Pack them into zip-lock bags so that everything remains clean and separated.

family travel essentials
For beach holidays, pack a sun hat as well as a pair of sunglasses with UV-certified lenses – if it is windy on the beach, you don’t want sand getting into small children’s eyes. | Credit : Maguiss via Pixabay

11. Travel Documents

Most travel documents can now be stored on your mobile phone, with the exception of passports.

But if you are travelling with young children, better to be safe than sorry and have the most important travel documents printed out, just in case.

Have all passports, tickets, travel insurance and other essential travel documents all in one place, so that you’re not scrambling around to find them.

Using a file, a travel wallet, or even a clear plastic zip-lock bag will do the job.

travel documents
Our family holiday packing list tip – one adult should be in charge of all family travel documents, which should be all together in one place. | Credit : Edeltravel via Pixabay

12. Family Essentials Whilst Travelling

For family travel, these are the must-have items that should be in your carry-on luggage.

You’ll be thanking your lucky stars that you packed them, especially in the case of delays or missing luggage :

  • Spare track bottom pants, a jumper and socks in case you get cold. A big scarf or pashmina is always a good idea – you can wrap it around yourself and your kids if it gets chilly on the plane.
  • Inflatable neck pillows for yourself and the kids – they can also double up as a toy for them to play with.
  • Small children will want their fave cuddly friend to accompany them on the flight. Pro-tip: put a label or identity bracelet on that super-important cuddly toy in the terrible event that it gets lost.
  • Digital travel entertainment – whilst keeping screen time to a minimum for kids is a universally agreed rule, they can serve as lifesavers on long flights and car rides. If your flight does not come with in-flight entertainment, you should download apps that kids can play with to pass the time. For adults, be sure to load up your Kindle ( and bring a charger ).
  • Tech-free entertainment – some ideas are printouts for colouring and crayons/colour pencils, puzzles, simple card games, small toys and perhaps a book or two. Each child can carry these items of their choice in their backpack.
  • Security-friendly items – pack an empty water bottle for each family member. Not only do you save yourself a small fortune on drinks at the airport, but you can use stainless steel bottles that will help keep the water nice and cool. Note that you cannot take liquids through security, but you can fill up your bottle from the water dispensers after you’ve passed security.

Sun protection – You may arrive at your holiday destination and it may be hot, so it is worth packing a travel-sized one in your carry-on bag.

cuddly toy
Small children can find their favourite cuddly toy to be extremely comforting on long travels. Even better to put a label or identity bracelet on that super-important cuddly toy in case it gets misplaced. | Credit : DWilliam via Pixabay

We hope that you found these family holiday packing list tips useful for your next family travel experience. May you and your family be well-prepped, stress-free and ready to fully enjoy your time together making memories in whichever chosen wondrous destination.

ENJOY FAMILY HOLIDAY Travel with US – Holiday Tours & Travel
REACH OUT TO US AT +603 2303 9100 OR
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