What to Pack for Summer Vacation with Kids

Summer is finally upon us, which for most of us, means it’s time for summer vacation. Whether you’re flying to Disney Land or driving to a local beach, there are some things that you’ll want to pack no matter your destination. 

Summer is a great reason to spend some extra special time with the kids, and since I just got back from a weekend vacation, I thought now would be a good time to share with you some of the essentials that need to be packed for your next vacation away.

What to Pack for Summer Vacation with Kids ThouShallNotWhine.com


I suppose it may be obvious but a summer vacation normally involves the sun. So it’s essential to be safe and wear some good sunscreen. It’s a good idea to take a few factor types away with you, starting off high for the first few days. You should be especially vigilant when it comes to your children, the mom guilt is real when you let your kids get burned. Consider reading this article Sun Safety For Kids: The Ultimate Guide. It could come in handy. It’s good to remember that sunscreen doesn’t stop you from getting a healthy glow, so try no to shy away from it for a tan’s sake. The more protection you have the more protected you are from the UV rays.

I’ve been making my own sunscreen for a few years now. If you’re into that kind of thing, I use this recipe from Wellness Mama.

Sunglasses and a sun hat

While you protect your skin with sunscreen, it’s a good idea to pack sunglasses to protect everyone’s eyes and sun hats to protect their heads. They aren’t just adorable, kids’ sunglasses and hats are very helpful when it comes to keeping our kids safe from the sun. The bright light of the sun makes seeing difficult anyway so shades are always advisable. If your babies are bald like mine, the sun hat will protect the top of their precious little head from burning. 

Vacation Clothes

When planning a vacation, I always look for a place that offers a washer and dryer, which means we normally stay at some sort of vacation home. They’re cheaper and offer much more freedom for little ones. The washer and dryer is a must for large families, as far as I’m concerned.

It’s always nice to pack some new clothes for the trip, but it’s not always possible. Whatever the case, be sure to pack several of each item for each person. Things like skirts and dresses are always a welcome choice. Just go with what you and the kids feel comfortable in, and don’t worry about being fancy. Really. Unless you’re going to a wedding, just take everyday clothes. Shorts and t-shirts are holiday staples no matter what the age.


A summer vacation wouldn’t be complete without a swimsuit. There are some amazing styles to choose from, although I’m not sure they’re all created equal.

Finding a modest swimsuit used to be hard to do and cost an arm and a leg. Thankfully, no longer is that the case! Finding a suit that covers the goods is as easy as a quick Amazon search now! You can find modest suits for every member of the family! 

Sensible shoes

So this one should be a no-brainer, but sometimes we get so caught up in wanting to look cute that we forget the comfort factor. It’s all well and good wanting to take your heals but in all likelihood, you won’t wear them as much as those comfortable sandals. And with children to run around after I don’t blame you.

The paths and roads may not be even to walk on. If you are staying where there is some walking required, then you will be thankful for those comfortable shoes. Think sensibly. You want to enjoy your vacation and not be hobbling about.


Don’t get caught in the convenience trap and end up spending $5 for a corndog. Do yourself a favor and visit the local Aldi to stock up on quick snacks like cheese sticks, granola bars, pepperoni, pretzels, fruit . . . whatever snacks your family likes.

By taking a cooler or lunch bags and stashing your own snacks, you’ll literally save yourself hundreds of dollars.

Busy Bags

I’m not talking about anything expensive here. This can be as simple as throwing some of your kids’ favorite small toys into a gallon-size freezer bag, writing their name on it with a Sharpie, and tossing it in the car.

Seriously, don’t overthink this. Coloring books, colored pencils (crayons melt!), Matchbox cars, LEGOs, DUPLOs, Shopkins, Critters, Playdough (are you that brave?) . . . anything your kid likes that can fit in the bag, go for it.

These throw-together bags have saved my sanity so many times. They’re great for in the car, on the plane, at your vacation home, in the hotel . . . pretty much everywhere, and the contents all fit in a backpack. It couldn’t be easier.

I hope these essentials help you when the time comes to pack for your next summer vacation. Did I miss something? Tell me about it below!

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