How I Created My Kids’ Packing List (that makes my life so much easier)

How I Created My Kids’ Packing List (that makes my life so much easier)

Several years ago, I realized that I was making my life harder.  Each time we traveled, I would try to come up with a list of items I needed for each kid.  It was a TERRIBLE chore!  (And I forgot stuff constantly.)
I knew there had to be a better way.
So I started building my kid packing list on my phone in Notes.
Over the years, and with each new kid, the list has evolved.  It also changes based on how long the trip is, whether or not we have access to laundry facilities, and if we'd be able to pop over to a store if we needed something I didn't pack (we sometimes go fishing which is 30 minutes from the nearest store).
Here are my tips on making your own kid packing list:
  • Have a section for kid-by-kid items.  This works really well because my 2yo needs a few extra changes of clothes, but the 10yo doesn't.  PLUS, I print my list and then I can physically cross off items as I go (and circle items that still need to be packed once we get down to the last few--it's easy to miss those).
  • Have a section for Other stuff like pack & play, water cups, Bumbo, toiletries, baby sling
  • At the top, I specify the number of nights and days to help figure out pajamas and day time clothes.  I also note if there's any special considerations like travelling late (want kids to travel in pajamas), etc
  • If you don't have anything like this, I also recommend starting a Note on your phone (or on paper on your fridge, if that's your jam) with easily-forgettable items.  For us it was noise machines or sheets for air mattresses.
  • One thing that I do that's really convenient is that I store these lists on Dropbox so I can access them anywhere.
  • Since my kids' needs change more often than we travel, I usually will take the most recent list (I save them with the year at the front - 2018SummerVaca.txt), so I get the most accurate list.  I'll copy and paste it into a new list.  Then I'll scan the previous year's Christmas list to make sure I have whatever I needed the previous Christmas.
There might be an app that does this, but honestly this is simpler and it does exactly what I need without a lot of fuss.
So here's my packing list. Or you can download the file here.
Monday (travel), Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (travel)
4 nights, 4 days
Kid 1
pjs -> 4 pr pjs
1/day -> 4 outfits
longsleeved shirt and soft pants for Just in Case
jacket
1/day + 1-> 5 pr panties
1/day + 1 -> 5 pr socks
sleep blanket/sleep friend
Kid 2
pjs -> 4 pr pjs
1/day -> 4 outfits
longsleeved shirt and soft pants JIC
jacket
1/day + 1-> 5 pr panties
1/day + 1 -> 5 pr socks
sleep blanket/sleep friend
Kid 3
pjs -> 4 pr pjs
1/day -> 4 outfits
longsleeved shirt and soft pants JIC
jacket
1/day + 1-> 5 pr panties
1/day + 1 -> 5 pr socks
pillow/sleep blanket/sleep friend
Kid 4
pjs -> 4 pr pjs
1/day -> 4 outfits
longsleeved shirt and soft pants JIC
jacket
1/day + 1-> 5 pr panties
1/day + 1 -> 5 pr socks
pillow/sleep blanket/sleep friend
Kid 5
pjs -> 4 pr pjs
outfits 1/day + 1-> 4 outfits
longsleeved shirt and soft pants JIC
jacket
Diapers: 5/day + 3 => 23 diapers
Overnight diapers: 4 overnights
wipes
1/day + 1 -> 5 pr socks
pillow/sleep blanket/sleep friend
p&p sheet
2 bottles
bibs
OTHER
water cups for all kids
my straw watercup
pack and play, sheet for pack and play NOT bassinet
4 noise machines
outlet covers
monitors and handsets/rubber band to affix to blinds/clock
hair brushes/rubberbands/snapclips/headbands
shampoo/conditioner/bodywash
toothbrushes/toothpaste
children's/infants motrin/tylenol
first aid kit
aquaphor

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