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Essential packing list for families on the go!

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This summer my family is On the Go with Melissa & Doug. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite travel tips as part of their ongoing weekly series along with Marnie from Carrots Are Orange and Zina from Let’s Lasso the Moon.

This week I’m in the middle of packing for our own vacation so my tips are being put to use right this minute in my own packing station! I’m elbow-deep in laundry and trying to get organized!

Do you have any great packing tips to share? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear it!




Have you seen this quote floating around on Pinterest?

“Nothing is truly lost until your mother can’t find it.”


The key to successful traveling with kids is organization. There are few things worse than mounting frustration as you hunt through piles of stuff to find the one thing your baby needs. There are 2 scenarios in particular where this becomes extra important:

1. Your airplane carry-on: What happens if your checked luggage is lost on the way to your destination?

2. Your overnight bag during a road trip if you need to drive more than a day to reach your destination: Do you really want to haul every last thing into the hotel for a one-night stopover stay?

Last year we flew with the kids for our vacation, this year we’re driving with a one night stopover before we get there so I’ve encountered both of these situations. I will be carefully packing small, grab-able bags for the kids to make our stopover night as stress-free as possible.

Here is my checklist of what I include in our grab bag for the kids for both scenarios:

  • Pajamas/Nightgown
  • 1 clean change of clothes including undies; i.e. 1 zip top bag from here
  • Swimsuit: Heading to the pool is a great time killer while you wait for lost bags!
  • Sunhat and/or sunglasses
  • Traveling lovies, they stay on our person at all times during the transportation
  • Diapers/swim diaper if applicable & wipes
  • Nightlight and/or a kid’s flashlight: More important for the road trip, not worth the hassle inside a carry-on. Helps the little ones scared of the dark when they’re transported from the car to the room past their bedtimes.
  • Toothbrush and the kids share from my essential toiletries as needed
  • 1 or 2 small books or toys to keep entertained in a pinch: We love the Melissa & Doug On the Go Color N Carry Books because they include the crayons right in the packaging.
  • And for the carry-ons: Any other essentials you wouldn’t want to spend your vacation without. For us that means our cameraDisney pins & travel journal!

If you are worried that an item will be confiscated by airport security, it is always worth the time to double check here before you go.


Did you enjoy these tips? Looking for more great information on traveling with your family? Be sure to check out the Melissa & Doug On the Go hub and the awesome Pinterest boards we’re keeping:


This post was sponsored by Melissa & Doug. I was compensated for my time and provided products to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. You may view my full disclosure here.


Get ready to hit the road! - Melissa & Doug Blog - [...] Coast on their way to Charleston, South Carolina. Tiffany will be sharing tips with you on how to efficiently pack for a road trip, keep your child entertained in the car, and ensure your family has a blast at your [...]

Essential Packing Tips for Traveling with Kids - Melissa & Doug Blog - [...] her blog post (which you can view in its entirety here), Tiffany shares some crucial packing tips for parents feeling overwhelmed by an impending [...]

JDaniel4's Mom - What a great list! I pinned it to my Parenting board. A night light is such a great idea!

Pre-Trip Planning Tips: Getting Ready to Travel with Kids - Melissa & Doug Blog - [...] Essential Packing Checklist for Families “On the Go” [...]

Weekend Link Love | Simple Kids - [...] Essential Packing List for Families on the Go ::: Peanut Blossom [...]

Lasso the Moon Yes Moments » Lasso the Moon - [...] packed and ready to roll. You’ve made plans for the perfect family [...]

"On the Go" Travel Recipes & Tips for Kids - Melissa & Doug Blog - [...] -          Essential Packing Tips for Traveling with Kids [...]

Tami Pezel - We’ve had great success using glow sticks (bracelets or necklaces) instead of flashlights. Age-appropriate, of course, because of some small pieces if used to actually wear as jewelry. My kids love getting surprised by the color they get. Easy packaging and little space required. Then I don’t have to worry about batteries or their favorite TinkerBell flashlight getting lost or left behind!

Get Kids Excited about Packing for Travel! - Melissa & Doug Blog - […] planning a family vacation can be easier said than done. From finding the perfect destination to planning for what to pack, preparing for travel with kids can be downright exhausting. If only you could get the kids to help […]

B.g. Hennessy - Glad to see Corduroy is all tucked in!

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