Packing list for traveling with school age children

We just came back from a long Spring Break trip. As we were getting ready, you would think I would start to pack our luggage a week in advance. Nah! I’m the queen of procrastination and I have a travel packing list in my hand. Except for travel documentation, everything was packed and closed 10 minutes before we left for the airport. With the travel packing checklist, kids were able to prepare their own list themselves which made my job easier.

Nowadays, the size and the number of luggage depends on a complicated formula of variables such as the number of people traveling, days of stay, and checked-in and carry-on luggage cost. Our rule of thumb for clothes for kids is to have one set of underwear, socks, and clothes for each day. Since they are rather smaller in size, their clothes don’t take much space. As we wear them, I separate the dirty clothes in a big plastic bag. If you don’t want to carry a bag, you can use the big plastic laundry bags provided at your hotel. Even though everything gets washed at the end of the trip, I don’t want the luggage to stink, so I keep dirty laundry contained separately.

I also consider the space, I think we’ll need for gifts and souvenirs on the way back, when packing.

Even with the list, I sometimes feel like I’ve forgotten to pack something. At the end, as long as you have your travel documentation, wallet and phone, mostly anything can be purchased at the destination.

Here is the essential packing list you can use when traveling with school age kids. You can print out one checklist {at the end of the post} for you and another for your child(ren) and have them pack their own items.


  • Casual clothes
  • Dressy clothes
  • Sweater /Jacket
  • Bedtime clothes, pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Rain gear
  • Casual footwear: Day time shoes, comfortable walking shoes, hiking shoes if needed
  • Dressy footwear
  • Slippers / flip-flops: come handy at the hotel, especially when taking a shower
  • Bag / purse: Backpacks, small travel bags, and purses for daily activities

PMIconclearPersonal Care / Toiletries

  • Comb / BrushDiapers
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Pack of tissues / wet wipes: Essential for bathroom use on the go
  • Hair elastics
  • Nail clippers and tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • First aid kit / band-aids
  • Basic medications: Basic medications such as cold medicine and pain/fever reliever.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Shaving kit


  • Phones, tablets & chargers
  • Camera, camcorder & extra batteries, chargers
  • Headphones
  • Headphone splitter (for multiple kids)
  • Outlet adapter for international travel: You can find adapters at the airports but they are much more expensive than what you’d pay at a regular store.

PMIconclearSummer essentials

  • Sun hats
  • Sandals
  • Swimsuit
  • Beach dress / cover up
  • Sunscreen, insect repellent, after bite
  • Goggles, sunglasses
  • Beach toys
  • Beach bag

PMIconclearWinter essentials

  • Hats, mittens, scarves
  • Winter jacket
  • Bunting, Snowbib
  • Winter boots
  • Thermal underwear


  • Books
  • Notebooks, Activity / Coloring Books
  • Colored pencils, crayons
  • Travel size board game sets like mastermind, checkers
  • Playing cards
  • Music playlist
  • Stuffed animal or doll

PMIconclear Gear

  • Stroller: You can rent strollers at your destination. In my post about our trip to Rome, I mentioned that we rented our strollers and were very pleased with the service.
  • Car seat, booster: Always call your rental car company in advance to add the car seat or booster to your rental



  • Water bottles: Essential for traveling with children, especially if you are going to walk around a lot. Light-weight bottles with hooks that you can hang on to your backpacks or can be inserted into side pockets of backpacks are preferred for this purpose.
  • Snacks for the road

Click on the image to open the printable packing list for travel with school age children.


You can find the packing list for travel with babies and toddlers here. Also, see my post on long flights and trips with babies and young children.

Is there an item that you can’t do without when traveling with your children that are not on the list?


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