What do you take on a trip around the world with kids? a packing list!
What do you take on a trip around the world with kids? That is the question we are going to try to answer here through this packing list. With this packing list, you won’t have to think about anything when you go on a world trip with your family. Do weigh what you all need and what you all don’t. Many things you can also buy locally abroad. We are going to help you through the whole list based on our experience.
Table of contents
#1: Important documents
Your passport and money are the most important things you take with you when you travel. Without one of these two items, you won’t get very far on your trip. We also carried the yellow vaccination booklets, but this was not asked for in any country. Nevertheless, we do recommend taking them with you. Arrange for an international driver’s license in advance if you are going to rent a car. The rental company does ask for this.
- Passports + copies
- Vaccination booklets GGD
- International driving license
- Driving License
A credit card is convenient because you can pay with it almost anywhere. Think of it as an extra means of payment you have behind you. On our trip, we paid almost nowhere with this, but as an added security it is nice to have one with you. Also, check in advance which bank’s ATM transactions cost the least amount of money. We closed an account with KNAB bank, since the transaction fees there were many times lower than with our ABN AMRO bank.
- Pin Card
- Credit Card
- Loose dollars (in every country you can pay with dollars. This can come in handy if you arrive somewhere and can’t get cash at that destination right away)
- Insurance cards
- Bank scanner to transfer money
- Pin cards (don’t forget to set them to ‘world’)
- Emergency numbers (in your mailbox and picture on phone)
- Airline tickets (in your mailbox and picture on phone)
- Passport photos (for possible visa)
#2: The basic stuff
Are you bringing a suitcase or backpack? This also depends on what kind of trip you will be taking. If you use public transportation a lot, then a backpack may be more convenient because you can tuck a backpack under a seat more easily than a suitcase. We ourselves took suitcases with us on trips, as we hardly ever traveled by public transportation. However, on two occasions a wheel broke off one of the suitcases, so we had to buy new suitcases during the trip. This is definitely a drawback, as we have never had any damage to our backpack and have used it in many, many countries.
- Suitcase or Backpack
- Luggage tag
- Flightbag for Backpack
In addition to the two suitcases, we both carried a large backpack. This one had the maximum dimensions for what is allowed on a plane as carry-on luggage. This allowed us to take extra much in our carry-on luggage, which is very convenient with kids. Also, we used this backpack as a daytime backpack in a city or on an excursion.
For the suitcase, packing cubes are very handy. You have all your stuff quickly to hand and items are less likely to get lost. Packing cubes come in all kinds of sizes. What’s also handy besides the world plug is a USB hub, where you can charge multiple devices right from the world plug, such as your phones and ipad.
- Headlamp (your phone usually has a light too. We did not bring one and did not miss one)
- Sheet bag (we did not have and did not miss)
- Packing cubes (Useful for clothes)
- Earplugs (we had with us, but didn’t use them. It helps that they don’t take up much space in your luggage)
- Neck pillow (we didn’t have one with us, but an inflatable neck pillow takes up little space).
- Travel wallet (we didn’t have it with us; we usually had loose cash in our pockets)
- USB hub
- World plug (check carefully in advance which countries you will all be visiting and which plugs you will need)
- Pocket knife (not brought and never needed)
- Sunglasses (make sure not to bring expensive sunglasses, as they are prone to break on a long trip)
#3: Medical supplies
With kids, you want to travel well prepared! Still, as far as we are concerned, it is excessive to bring too many medical supplies. You also often see very fancy first aid travel bags coming by online that are priced quite nicely. We personally carried the following items in a packing cube: Norit, ORS (against diarrhea and dehydration), Paracetamol, Deet (against mosquitoes), suppositories for our daughter, Band-Aids and Advil pills. Other than that, you can always get something on the spot.
- Diarrhea inhibitors
- First aid kit (so it’s best to make this one yourself)
- Lip balm
- Malaria tablets (check in advance if you will be in a malaria area and get informed by the GGD whether you need them)
- Tick tweezers (if you go into the jungle a lot)
- Thermometer (we did not have one with us and fortunately did not have to use it)
- Vitamin tablets
- Sunscreen (especially recommended with kids)
Don’t be afraid if you forget something from this list, since you can buy almost everything from this list abroad. Whether you buy small or large packs of most of your toiletries is, of course, up to you. We carried normal sizes of most of the items, since you don’t want to go to the store every week to shop for these. For weight in your suitcase or backpack, though, it may be a consideration.
- Baby wipes
- Shower Gel
- Hair brush / comb
- Hand disinfectant
- Lenses + spare set / glasses
- Toothpicks / floss
- Lens solution
- Nail clippers
- Toiletry bag (with hook)
- Shaving stuff
- Wax / gel / hairspray
#5: Electronics stuff
We love being able to enjoy all the photos and videos we took after our trip. For us, therefore, a good camera is important. We also had purchased a Gopro including a selfie stick for the first time and we liked it immensely. Using the Quick program on our phone, the film footage was super easy to turn into a nice little movie for the home front. Do you value this less, then you can choose to use your phone.
Today’s phones take tremendous photos and movies, and that saves a lot of weight in your luggage. For those who read a lot, an E-reader is a godsend. We had one E-reader with us, allowing us to read dozens of books on the beach or in bed. In addition, we used the Ipad tremendously during our trip. Our daughter watched a lot of movies on the plane and in the room at the end of the day. And also we could watch a Netflix series this way when our daughter was asleep. Do bring headphones for your kids so they don’t disturb other people.
In the clothing section, you’ll see a wide variety of lists online. One wants to travel around as lightly as possible and so hardly takes anything with him and the other wants to walk the catwalk every day and so carries absurd amounts. Try to find a middle ground in this. And also look at what the weather conditions are in a country. Of course, you can only bring three pieces of underwear and travel light as a result, but if you have to wash your clothes every three days, you may wonder what is the most trouble.
- 5 shorts
- 4 swimming trunks
- 1 pair of pants
- 15 underpants
- 8 polos
- 1 sweater
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 1 pair of slippers
- 3 pairs of socks
- 6 shirts
- 2 travel pants
- 3 beach dresses
- 2 skirts
- 4 dresses
- 2 pairs of flip flops
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 2 pairs of socks
- 15 x underwear
- 3 bikinis
- 3 bikinis
- 3 dresses
- 4 skirts
- 6 shirts
- 2 pairs of pants
- 12 undershirts
- 15 briefs
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 1 pair of flip flops
- 1 pair of sandals
- 1 pair of water shoes
- 1 life jacket
You can’t take many toys on a trip. This is also not a bad thing at all, as kids have plenty to do while traveling and, in addition, they become more creative with what they do have. We sometimes bought new toys during the trip and gave away other toys to local kids. For the pool, we carried a lot of light plastic toys (Tea set and other dolls), which barely added weight in the luggage.
- toys for the pool
- Diving Goggles
- Sticks for diving up into the water
- Dolls/ cars
- Cuddly toy to sleep with
- Coloring books + drawing set
#8: other travel items
Among the other travel items are a few more toppers that are indispensable. Like the hamam towels we carried one for each family member. Large, light and quick drying, making it ideal for travel. We also kept a daily travel diary so that our daughter will later have a better idea of how we experienced the trip as a family. In addition, it is helpful that you give your kids a bracelet or necklace with your phone number on it. Suppose you lose your kid abroad, people can still reach you.
- Hamam towels
- Airplane bed (ideal on the plane! Highly recommended!
- Chain with phone number on it
- Water bottle (we did not have one with us)
- Travel baby carriage (already another item you’re going to get a lot of use out of with small kids. This baby carriage is so small that it can fit in your carry-on luggage, making it easy to take with you. Also highly recommended).
- Cable lock (useful for securing your daypack if you want to sleep on a crowded bus. We didn’t have one with us, since we didn’t use public transportation much).
- Sewing kit (we did not have with us)
- PADI dive pass
- Travel diary
- Tape (we did not have with us, would have come in handy occasionally to put our daughter behind the wallpaper ;).
- Rope with about 10 to 15 clothespins (we did not have with us. In accommodations with a washing machine in the room there is often a drying rack as well, and in cheap countries you can take your clothes away)
- Vacuum bags for clothing (for us, packing cubes were sufficient)
- Waterproof pouch for papers and passport (we did not have with us)
As you can see, it’s quite a list, but there are plenty of things you really won’t need or can buy locally. So when asked the question What do you take on a world trip with kids, that is mostly a personal choice. If you are considering a world trip with your family, read our other blogs on preparations, accommodations and air travel.