Travel Tips

14 Best Family Packing Tips For The Holidays

Last updated 12th July 2022

Planning to travel with your families over the holidays? You’re not alone. According to AAA, more than 55 million travelers will be taking a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving — making it the second-highest on record and up by 1.6 million people over last year. And it’s only going to get busier as we head into December. Which means that being a packing pro is essential — especially if you’re traveling with kids. We checked in with a few travel and family experts to get their best family packing tips on how to perfect your packing skills. Here’s what they had to say.

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Kate Westad is the mom of four kids and the founder of Palette by Pak, an innovative travel tool that makes packing easier while eliminating waste. “Traveling as a family can be a time for everyone to chill out together and explore new things,” says Westad. “But let’s be real — packing for family travel can be quite the task.  Here are five things that has made packing for family travel so much easier:

• Find a Good Tote: “I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been traveling and we needed a simple carryall. And with kids, getting them to carry a bag can sometimes be difficult when out and about! I love packing collapsible totes and backpacks like the foldable backpack from Paravel. Tossing a few of these into your luggage when packing will ensure that you have a portable bag to tote around with you and you can say no to plastic shopping bags wherever you go. They’re also so cute that no one will mind wearing it (mom included).”

• Pack Laundry Bags: “With four kids, especially three teenagers, the amount of dirty laundry coming back from a trip can be overwhelming. I absolutely love packing washable laundry bags like the one from Crate and Barrel. It has a drawstring you can easily lay lengthwise in a suitcase and put folded dirty laundry inside and simply cinch shut. Just carry to the laundry room when home!”

• Bring Water Bottles: I love the idea of every family member having their own reusable water bottle on travel but it can be more difficult because some of my kids’ favorite bottles do take up a lot of space. This is why I adore Que water bottles for family travel. Not only do they come in a variety of cute colors so everyone can easily tell which one is theirs, but they are collapsible and space-saving.”

• Brush Right: “As a mom I can absolutely do away with those toothpaste clumps stuck in every sink. I am obsessed with toothpaste tablets like @bite toothpaste bits for my kids. These are a snap to pack and bring on travel, less mess and my 9-year-old thinks it’s super fun to brush with them. They also just came out with a Berry Twist flavor my kids are excited to try.”

• Save Space: “One of the biggest changes in our family packing life has been using Palette The Original High Fiver. With two teenage girls, the trips to the store to get travel-size items for packing seemed endless (and expensive)! Now each of my kids has their own High Fiver to fill with their favorite products. Not only are we skipping the tiny travel bottles and eliminating waste, but they are using the full-size products that we already have.”

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Sophie Caulcutt is the cofounder of Voyager Club, which offers a personalized concierge wardrobe service called #MyVacationStylist that can select clothes for your vacation and ship them to you for a $350 fee.

• Me First: “If you are a parent, get your own packing done first or you’ll be the one with no underwear or toothbrush on holiday!”

• Roll with it! “Always roll your clothes to maximize space.”

• Mind Your Meds: “Take your own medicine for kids. Some islands and resorts don’t have it if your child gets a fever or you can’t read the directions in a foreign language.”

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Adam Holdsworth is the CEO of N.Peal, a luxury cashmere company.

• Multitask: “Pack pieces that can be used in multiple ways. A cashmere shawl is the perfect travel companion. It’s a fantastic way to add a splash of color by day then slip over the shoulders for warmth by night or on the plane. It can also easily rolled into your bag, saving space while remaining crease-free. All of our N.Peal cashmere garments are naturally lightweight and incredibly soft, adding a touch of timeless luxury to your travel wardrobe.”

Sharron Clear is an influencer and mom of three whose personal brand, Array of Faces helps her followers by providing style, beauty, travel and lifestyle content and upbeat messaging to keep you inspired.

• Pack Lighter, Smarter and Faster: “The less you bring, the easier it is to pack, and the less you have to carry. If you find you’re missing something you need, you can always buy it at your destination. Most places you would travel with your kids will probably have the essentials you need to care for them.”

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Carey Reilly is a TV host, comedian, writer and mother of two kids who is always on the go.

• Pack a Family Bag: “My best tip when traveling with your family to a warm location is to pack a separate ‘family’ bag with swimsuits, travel size sunscreen and goggles. That way you can change into beachwear and enjoy the pool at the hotel while your room is being prepared.”

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Amanda Blechman is a registered dietitian and certified dietitian nutritionist at Happy Family Organics.

• Bring Smart Snacks: “I always travel with food and snacks I know my daughter loves because I don’t want to end up somewhere with a hungry, cranky toddler and no suitable food options in sight. I pack Happy Tot Love My Veggies Bowls in my carry-on. These quick, easy bowls provide one full serving of veggies and can be eaten right out of the bowl — no need to heat when you’re on-the-go.”

• Have Fun With Food: “Keep food on hand that will distract and delight your little one during travel! For babies, the Happy Baby Superfood Puffs help develop fine motor skills and for older tots they’re a great tool to practice counting — which can also provide a fun distraction for long flights.”

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Michael Berkowitz is the CEO of Norwegian Wool, a performance outerwear company.

• Consider Your Winter Coat: “When traveling with your family on a holiday, everyone needs their clothing and outerwear to travel well in an easy and light fashion. Think about taking coats that are designed to be rolled up into a suitcase or shoved into an overhead bin and still look good when you get to your destination.”