Kids’ Summer Vacation Packing Checklist

Gone are the days of throwing a couple of things in a carry-on suitcase and declaring myself packed for vacation. Now I need diapers, wipes, favorite blankets, and definitely more than one pair of jeans. Packing for a vacation with children requires time and planning!


Free printable kids' vacation packing check list

I used to do all of the packing for my four children. Before each trip I thought through our expected activities, color coordinated our outfits (makes it easier to stay together in a crowd!), and filled our suitcases until the sides bulged.

This year I’m approaching the task of vacation packing differently. I’m letting my children pack their own clothes for our road trip. But, not without a few guidelines!

I have no desire to arrive in Tennessee and discover that my 11 year old has seven pairs of shorts but no underwear. Or that my five year old brought eight shirts and only two pairs of socks. So I created a kid’s summer vacation packing checklist to guide my children through the process of filling their suitcases.

How to use the Kids’ Packing Checklist

Use this vacation packing check list to teach children responsibility for their own things.

I will print a copy of the Kids’ Packing Checklist for each of my children. We will discuss the different activities planned for our road trip (swimming, hiking, site seeing) and what he will need to take for each one. The child will then draw a line through each item (or number) as it is placed in a suitcase.

I also left space on the checklist to write in additional items for a specific children. For instance, Ellie will need hair accessories, Will should pack his multi-tool, and Ben should include his Cub Scout book.

Packing their own clothes and entertainment for summer vacation teaches children responsibility with relatively minor consequences. It also relieves me of one more task as we prepare to travel. It’s a win-win situation for me!

Download a copy of the Kids’ Summer Packing Checklist.


I am thanking my subscribers and readers by giving you a copy of my Kids’ Packing Checklist. Just click on Kid’s Packing Checklist to be taken to the pdf file. Download the checklist and save or print.

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Do your kids pack for summer vacation or do you pack for them?


*** Note: If you like the Checklist and want to share it with your friends, please share the link to this blog post NOT the direct link to the PDF. Thanks!

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  1. Sarah
    Twitter: theEarlyBirdMom

    How adorable! When my oldest was 6, we went to spend the night with my sister in NYC. I told hm to “pack light” and when I opened his suitcase, I discovered just one pair of socks. Oops! This list would have been very helpful back then. I’ll just have to use it with my younger kids now.
    Sarah recently posted..19 Household Lists to Make Your Life EasierMy Profile

  2. Fun!! Our kids all got suitcases for Christmas–now when we travel they pack (with some guidance and help) and manage their suitcases for the trip. It’s been great for me as the mom and they’ve enjoyed the freedom and done well with the responsibility. Great idea!!

    • Stephanie Kay
      Twitter: stephmommybrain

      Amy, that’s a great idea for a Christmas present! When we road trip I put all of our clothes in one giant suitcase. Because we usually spend at least one night getting to our destination I put 2 sets of clothes for everyone in a carry-on. That way I only have to pull one little suitcase out until we reach our final destination.

  3. Employing this list for sure!!! Addie can’t really pack alone, but teaching counting and clothing categories… invaluable! Great printables! Thank you!
    Chelley @ AisForAdelaide recently posted..#YesAllWomenMy Profile

    • Stephanie Kay
      Twitter: stephmommybrain

      Chelley, I don’t have a preschooler right now so I wasn’t thinking about counting and sorting when I created the printable. But you’re right, it would be great for that!

  4. What a fantastic way to teach independence AND reduce your own stress while prepping for a family trip!