How to Pack for a Large Family Vacation

Coming close to our next road trip adventure, I’d like to share how to pack for a large family vacation. Honestly, I can’t believe I haven’t written a post like this until now. We haven’t always hit the road as much until now, but the packing remains the same. There are 7 in our family, which means lots of things to pack. Here are my best tips for getting your entire family packed for your next vacation.

How to pack for a large family vacation.

How to Pack for a Large Family Vacation

Know what the weather is like where you’re going.

Before I think of touching any piece of clothing, I check the weather of the place we’re traveling to. If you’re like me, I get super behind on changing the kid’s clothes out, so one look at their dresser and you’ll quickly see all seasons present. Also, the weather is likely to be different from where we live, so I want to make sure I’m packing accordingly. Once I have an idea of what the weather will be like, I make a list.

Make a packing list for each family member.


I used to keep a mental list but it would make my head explode. Now that we have five children (and 3 bunny rabbits), I’m bound to leave something behind if I don’t write it down. Whether you use a blank sheet of paper or my free Large Family Travel Essentials Pack (details at the end), be intentional about writing out your packing list.

Use practical storage solutions.

That’s a fancy way of saying make sure your bags are practical but economical. My go-to bags are a couple of 31 Gifts travel bags and utility totes, an old (but awesome) Nike bag, and the kids each have backpacks. I pack the younger kiddos’ clothing in the biggest back with me and Bryan’s clothing. My daughter (who’s currently 6 years old) uses her own bag, and of course, our 13-year-old has his own bag.

Solicit your kids’ help.

Once you have your lists written, you can recruit all hands on deck – even the little ones. Check off items as you set them aside to be packed. I have found that waiting to put them in the bag makes it easier to double-check to make sure I’ve grabbed everything. Once they’ve passed the double-check test, they can then be put into their respective bags.

A road leading into the mountains.

Packing for Other Areas

Depending on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing, there is typically a bit more packing involved. First, I want to make sure I have all of our clothing and accessories packed. Then, I generate another list of things we need for the actual drive. This can be the diaper bag (which actually should have a list of its own), snacks, drinks, car ride activities, etc. And don’t forget any other amenities such as laundry soap, body wash, kids’ body care items, essential oils, medicines, and the like.

Also, don’t forget an additional bag for the clothing that will get dirty. If your lodging has a washing machine and dryer, you can come back with clean laundry. If not, this bag will come in handy BIG time!

Final Thoughts

Packing for a large family vacation doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it can be a teaching moment for your kids and a fun family-friendly activity. Consider putting on some music and making a pre-vacation tradition. Before you know it, your kids will know what to expect each and every time y’all get ready to travel!

Share your best packing tips in the comments below! And don’t forget to snag your free Large Family Travel Essentials Pack! Head over to the shop to download your pack for free. These printables will help you get and stay on top of packing up your family for every vacation to come!

Free large family travel essentials printable pack.

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