9 Important Items To Add To Your Travel Checklist

person packing for a trip with a travel essentials checklist

If you’re a parent, you know just how challenging it can be to prepare for any type of family trip or vacation. While these are some of the best times and memories, the planning, the scheduling, the reservation-making, and of course, the packing, can be overwhelming at times. But, it’s worth it!

As you get ready to head on your next adventure (or save up for one in the future!) here is a travel essentials checklist to help you worry about one less thing.

Do I Really Need A Travel Essentials Checklist?

Although packing is not the most exciting part of traveling, it’s a necessary evil. And, if you have kids, helping them to be ready is an event in itself! But, packing doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. The key is preparation! Readying your items in advance and going through a simple, step-by-step process will ensure nothing you need gets left behind. 

A travel essentials checklist is a great solution to help you move through your packing without feeling stressed. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I neglect the basics (for example toothbrushes and toothpaste!) because I’m so worried about forgetting something important, like my son’s allergy medication.

A checklist takes the pressure off and helps you automate your packing. It also helps you determine which type of suitcase or carry-on bag you may need.

Here are a few items we always have on our family’s Travel Essentials Checklist:

1. Noise-Canceling Headphones

Whether you or someone in your family has sensory issues or not, noise-canceling headphones are (in my opinion) a must. These headphones help reduce the noise from the outside world and allow you to focus on your work or enjoy your music/games. They also make it easier to sleep on a plane. You can even use them for soundproofing in hotel rooms, condos/apartments, offices, or other spaces where outside sounds are out of your control. 

Another option (and one that’s a little more financially reasonable) is to invest in high-quality earbuds. I love the Loop ear plugs because they’re less expensive without compromising on quality. Plus, they help to make me feel like I’m in my own little world!

2. Travel Backpack 

It may sound obvious, but a good travel backpack is an essential travel item.

Even if you have a carry-on bag, having a backpack for the necessities can help you in the event of your luggage not transferring, or if you’re opting to pack light and head on a smaller day-trip within a larger adventure. If you work on the go, it can also be great to store your laptop, charger, snacks, and wallet. And, of course, for parents – this is the *trendy* version of a diaper bag.

3. Travel Plug Adapters 

Chances are, a plug adapter hasn’t made your ‘essentials’ list. However, despite the fact that we typically only use adapters for out-of-country excursions, having this on-hand is great for peace of mind (no matter where you are).

If you know you’re not going somewhere where this is necessary, get an AC adapter instead. (I love this adapter that has multiple slots for plug-ins and chargers!) Travel adapters make it easy to charge all of your and your family’s devices without worrying about what may be available to you at your destination(s).

4. Portable & Rechargeable Batteries

Some airlines offer plug-ins for your chargers during the flight. However, not every airline has these available… and sometimes they don’t charge as fast as traditional outlets. Plus, when you get to your destination, you may be on the go, waiting for transportation, or needing a full-charged battery to communicate with others.

The best way to charge your devices and lessen your stress is to invest in (and pack!) a portable battery. There are different types of portable batteries, and here is arguably the best rechargeable 18650 button top battery on the market right now. 

5. First Aid Kit

Packing a first aid kit may feel like *overkill* at times, but being safe (especially in a new place) is never a bad thing. And, your kit doesn’t have to be the traditional gauze and wraps preparing for the worst-case scenarios—it can (and should) fit your family’s unique needs.

In our first aid kit, we have Band-Aids, mini hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin, ibuprofen, extra allergy meds and vitamins, Benadryl travel tablets in case anyone gets a severe reaction to something, and my son’s backup pair of glasses.

I also put my spare contact lenses, eyedrops, and a few business cards with my name and phone number so that when we go to crowded places, I can give my son a business card in case he gets lost. (Because of his dyslexia, he has a hard time remembering phone numbers, so the card can help him have my number in an emergency!)

Keep in mind that you’ll be traveling with this first aid kit, so on an airplane, for example, you can’t pack tiny scissors, needles, or liquids over the ounce requirements (nothing more than 3.4 ounces). You’ll also have to disclose any breastmilk or other necessities to the airport security so that they’re aware of what you’ve packed and why.

6. DLR Camera 

While I won’t say that you *have* to have a certain camera on an essentials checklist, the idea is that you bring something to help you capture (and keep!) the memories you make with loved ones. Too often we’re rushing or enjoying the moment, and we forget to keep a tangible memory. A DLR camera is not only a good way to document the trip, but it also allows travelers to capture moments that they would otherwise miss out on.

7. Small Survival Pack

If your travels take you off to the wilderness or in nature, (or even if they don’t!) a survival kit is great item to have.

Depending on where you’re headed or what your family needs, a survival kit may contain the necessities: toilet paper, toothbrush and paste, medication, water, and tools to help you survive if something happens during your trip.

Again, this will depend on whether you’re flying or not, because if you are you can’t take, for example, a knife in your carry-on bag! Think about where you’ll be headed and potential challenges you may face. If you’re driving, for example, think about blankets, flash light, gas can, etc. It is important to have these things with you if a worst-case scenario arises.

8. Snacks and Water

Well-stocked snacks and water are musts for any journey, especially if you’re traveling with kids!

Again, be mindful of airline requirements, but you can always pack snacks in the checked bag for later. These are great to have on hand in case events take longer than anticipated, or, worse, you get stranded somewhere. 

9. Passport and Travel Documents 

Of course, you can’t forget your passport and travel documents. Every country has its own rules about who can enter its borders. Your passport is proof of your identity and nationality, so it’s important to have it with you at all times when traveling abroad. It’s also a good idea to bring your travel documents (e.g., boarding passes) with you on the trip as well, because they will contain important information about where you’re staying and where your flight is leaving from on the return home.

Some other items you might want to add to your travel essentials checklist are a map, extra cash, and an emergency contact list. Once you have these items prepared, you’ll, hopefully, enjoy your travels without having to worry. 

Featured Image Credit: STIL
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Marisa Donnelly, M.Ed., is a writer/editor, credentialed teacher, proud bonus mama, and CEO of Be A Light Collective, a coaching and content creation business and digital marketplace. She is the Director of Donnelly’s Daily Apple, a flexible learning/tutoring and educational resource platform, and the lead voice for Momish Moments and Step by Step Parents, verticals dedicated to sharing and advocating for non-traditional parenting journeys. Marisa currently resides in San Diego, California, with her fiancé, kiddo, and their two rambunctious Pitbulls. ❤️