Holiday Packlist | Be The Prepared Parent

This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Your Holiday Travel Packlist

Whether you are traveling to escape the cold or to visit family during the holidays, the first step to a successful journey is a well-packed bag. Forgetting something important can put a damper on your holiday fun. That’s why I have put together this handy holiday travel packlist you may have forgotten to pack. Some of them may surprise you!


Whether you travel by car to a town 3 hours away, jump on a plane across the USA, or travel internationally, there are a common set of documents you should carry for you and your entire family.

  1. Travel Documents: Do you have your itinerary, booking reference codes and insurance forms packed? A misplaced bag at the airport or hotel could leave you stranded.
  2. Identification: Passport, Drivers License, kids birth certificates.
  3. Map: Yes, I know everyone uses GPS on their iPhone or Android nowadays. Carrying a map for a destination you think may not have cell coverage is good to still carry an old-school hardcopy map. Have you ever been to Yosemite, where we were surprised to find cell phone coverage for us was very spotty. And when we had it, text messaging was about the only that that worked. Google maps or Apple maps didn’t have enough cellular data bandwidth to make it useable.
  4. Copies: Make sure to back up your documents with an online copy. Use a secure place like Google Drive that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Or better yet, take a photo of all of your documents using your smartphone and leave them there for easy access.


You know what to pack for clothing. But here are a few things you may not have thought of.

  1. Comfy shoes: No matter what you’re traveling for, you can bet you will be doing lots of walking. Make sure to pack a comfy pair of shoes that will keep you going all day. keeps an updated list of great walking shoes.
  2. Blanket or Throw: You never know when you or the kids will get cold. It could be in the car, an airplane, or a subway. Having a lightweight one is super handy such as the Cocoon CoolMax Blanket.
  3. Walk around bag or backpack: walking in a new town square, hiking, or in the deep forest of Costa Rica, it’s essential to have a great bag to carry all your stuff. Most of us just grab what we have lying around, use your biggest purse you have, or gasp, use one of your kids old Spongebob backpacks. But don’t do that! Get a real bag meant to have all the zippers, compartments, and easy access areas for travel. Remember, you’ll probably have iPads or laptops with you, and you won’t want to leave them in your car or hotel room, so grab a bag that can carry your electronic devices easily. We’re huge fans of the eBags Slim Laptop Backpack.


  1. USB multi-port adapter: Most electronic devices like iPads, iPhones, and other tables and devices come with a single-port charger. You could carry each of their chargers with you, but if you’re like us, we ALWAYS forget at least one of them. And then there’s hell to pay with everyone fighting for that charger at night. We recommend you get one just for travel that comes with at least 2 ports, and provides surge protection (you never know what kind of electrical quality you’ll get in small towns in Italy). One of our favorites is the Anker Elite USB Charger as it has 2 ports, has surge protection, and provides 2.4 amps of power (charges large devices like iPads way faster).
  2. Lithium-ion battery pack (mini): Most of us go out on excursions and don’t get back to our hotel rooms until that evening. Especially if you go someplace like Disney World. We always carry with us a mini lithium-ion battery pack, which allows us to re-charge our vital devices such as our smartphones. Our recommendation is the Anker PowerCore+ Mini.
  3. Lithium-ion battery pack (large): For those longer journeys where you might be cooped up without access to a power outlet (such as a long plane ride or in an old car that doesn’t have a convenient power outlet for your kids), a large lithium-ion battery pack is a life saver. Literally, especially for your youngest stuck with their older siblings. While these large packs can be heavy, we’ve found the Anker PowerCore 20100mAh balances weight and device recharge capabilities very well.
  4. Wi-Fi Travel router: Have you ever had a family’s worth of devices that need to get on Wi-Fi? Kind of a pain to get them all working, isn’t it, but once it’s set, it’s usually once and done. Then you go and travel, and you have to get them all set-up on hotel Wi-Fi, and most times, you have to pay a fee, per device. It can get expensive. And then you have the hassles of getting them all connected to hotel Wi-Fi. So…. how does a Wi-Fi Travel Router solve this problem? From the comfort of your home, you can go thru the setup and get all your family’s devices connected to it. When you get to the hotel, you connect 1 device, the Wi-Fi Travel Router to hotel Wi-Fi, and then all your family’s devices re-connect to the Wi-Fi Travel Router automatically (since they were connected to it once before). Super easy! And much cheaper since you pay for hotel Wi-Fi for only 1 device. We recommend the TP-Link AC750 Wireless Wi-Fi Travel Router.
  5. Extra phone and tablet cables: Bring a cable for every device, then bring a spare cable for each type. So if you have 3 iPhones and 1 Android, bring along 4 iPhone charging cables and 2 Android cables. Buying them in bulk is cheap from places like Amazon, and they’re ridiculously expensive when you have to buy them while traveling such as at airports or convenience stores.
  6. Headphones: Not just for you, but you won’t want to listen to all the cartoons and other stuff your kids are listening to! We highly recommend noise-canceling headphones and over-the-ear configuration for better sealing. This is especially important for air travel that could easily damage young kids eardrums. We also recommend wired earphones instead of wireless. Wireless is awesome until you get in the airplane and find out you forgot to recharge it! Wired models are foolproof. Headphones are highly personal, so rather than recommend the favorite we like, we’re going to provide a short list of the models we recommend:

Kid Activities

Depending on the age of your kids, if you don’t plan ahead and bring things to distract them, I mean keep them entertained, you’ll end up regretting it. For us, it’s the dreaded, “a-r-eeee w-eeee t-h-e-r-eeeeee y-e-tttttt?” question every 2 minutes.

We like multi-purpose electronic devices that can do a lot of things, such as games, eBooks, and educational apps. It’s also only ONE thing to pack and keep track of, rather than several books, board games, playing cards, etc. Our recommendations are:

  1. Young Kids (up to 10 years old): iPad Mini. As a parent, you’ll most likely be carrying this thing, so size and weight are a major concern. The iPad mini is light .65 pounds, is thin at .24 inches thick, and has a great screen size of nearly 8 inches yet fits in all kinds of bags like a purse.
  2. Older Kids (11+ years old): iPad Pro. So these are bigger kids that can carry their own device. Get them the bigger iPad Pro in the 9.7-inch screen size. It does everything the iPad Mini can do, with a few extras like support for the Apple Pencil (great for drawing), AR (Augmented Reality) support, and you can get a great Apple iPad Pro 9.7 Keyboard that works surprisingly well.

Now that you have a device to work with, you’ll need some apps and services to bring variety and some educational learning.

  1. Amazon Prime membership. It’s a terrific bargain not just for the free 2-day shipping, but for travel as well. There are select movies, books, and music, that are available for viewing included with your Prime Membership. There’s enough here to keep your family entertained with one account that you can share with your family (2 adults and up to 4 kids). We’ve used just this for many years to keep the family entertained. Our favorites are:
    1. Amazon Music: there’s A LOT of music available included with Prime. While they may not include the latest songs on the radio, they will have enough variety that most aren’t disappointed. Our favorite feature is the ability to select and download music to listen while not connected to the Internet (great for planes or reducing the amount of cellular data you use).
    2. Amazon Movies: Again, there’s a lot of movies to choose from in Prime. Mostly not current-run movies, but enough out there you’d still find something you’d like to watch. Movies can also be downloaded to your device so you can watch it even when you don’t have Internet access!
    3. Amazon Books: yes, there’s more that’s included with Amazon Prime membership! You also get access to a select group of books, and with Prime, it opens up Amazon Prime Reading. You can read:
      1. Books
      2. Magazines
  2. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. It’s a service geared just for kids that provides you a Parent Dashboard to control and monitor what they access. It is a gateway to kid-friendly and age-appropriate books, videos, apps, and more.


We could talk about a lot of things in this section, but I think there’s only one thing that you may not have thought of adding to your PackList.

  1. Refillable Water Bottle: Yes, a re-usable, leak-proof water bottle. One that you can empty as you go thru airport security, refill at a water fountain inside the airport, and also while you’re out and about exploring your destination. Why not just buy bottled water? You can definitely do that, but as you travel prices can range from $1.50 to $7.00 a bottle. Yeah, they can be expensive. And there’s nothing more frustrating when you’re toddler is acting like they’ll die of thirst if they don’t drink some water RIGHT NOW, you hand over $5 for a bottled water, then they drink a thimble full, and say “all good!”. Arrrggghhhhhh.

There are a ton of brands and models to choose from, but we highly recommend only Contigo brand of water bottles. We’ve used them for 5+ years, still are actively using every day several of them, and can fully endorse them as travel worthy, drop worthy, and child worthy! Contigo AUTOSEAL Chill Stainless Steel Water Bottle.


  1. RestoraLAX: Traveler’s constipation is very common thanks to the lack of physical movement while in transit, stress, and change in diet. RestoraLAX is an easy way to restore your body’s natural rhythm. Dissolve RestoraLAX into your favorite hot or cold drink – there’s no grit or taste!
  2. Allergy medication: You’ve probably packed your vitamins, deodorant, glasses, and toothbrush, but did you pack your allergy medication? Going to a different climate or environment can expose you to potential allergens and make for an unpleasant trip. Claritin Rapid Dissolve gives you non-drowsy, 24-hour allergy symptom relief, so you can enjoy every second of your vacation. These dissolve instantly on your tongue so you don’t need water. From the ocean to the mountains, you can take it anywhere!
  3. Sunscreen: this is also one of those items you can always get at your destination. But you’re choices will be limited and probably 2-3x more expensive than if you brought it with you. Just be sure you don’t buy a liquid one as they could leak and leave a mess in your clothes. We recommend Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+.

Enjoy your vacation! What unexpected travel items can you never leave at home? I would love to know, leave your suggestions in the comments below.

This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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