Traveling to the grocery store with your kids is an undertaking—international travel is a whole other ball game! However, though traveling around the world with your kids can be stressful, it’s also extremely rewarding. Whether you have family overseas or want your kids to grow up with a better understanding of the world, traveling internationally as a family is a great decision!

The best way to make traveling internationally with kids easier is to pack the right things. Having the right items in your luggage and carry-on will turn a trip from a disaster to a delight. So, today, we’re sharing what you need to pack for an international trip with kids. This packing list will help you be prepared for whatever comes your way!

Here’s what to bring on an international trip with your family:

International Travel With Kids Packing Checklist

What To Pack For International Travel 

1. Luggage and Packing

Step one of travel packing intentionally with kids is the right bags. Each child will need a suitcase to check and a carry-on for flight essentials. (A personal item is also a good idea if your child is old enough to wear a backpack!)

Inside those bags, we recommend using zipper pouches and packing cubes to keep everything organized, which will make everything easier and less stressful! Also, attach Air Tags to all your bags in case they’re lost or stolen. 

2. Transportation

Safety should remain your number one priority all the way through the trip. Bringing your own car seat is essential to keeping your child safe on the flight and at your destination. We recommend getting a travel-specific car seat that’s lightweight and easy to install. 

Once you have your car seat picked out. make towing your car seat around the airport easier by grabbing a car seat cart or backpack. Beyond car seats and boosters, consider a baby carrier and stroller for easy navigation on various vacation excursions!

3. Clothing

Clothing depends a lot on where you are going, but here is a basic list of the necessities. You may be tempted to bring even more clothes, but try instead to arrange laundering services or resources when you arrive, so you can pack lighter. 

  • 5-6 outfits
  • 3 pairs of pajamas
  • Pair of warm base layers
  • 2-3 sweaters or jackets
  • Swimsuit
  • Hooded beach towel
  • 5-6 pairs of underwear and socks
  • Walking shoes
  • Warm shoes 

4. Changing

The items you’ll need in this category will depend on where your child is with diapering and changing! Either way, you’ll need a changing pad, wipes, wet bags, and stain remover. The rest is up to you and your child’s specific situation. 

5. Feeding

When packing for feeding, consider both snacks and meals. Remember, places likely won’t have kid-friendly utensils and a convenient place for you to breastfeed. Additionally, you’ll be relying on snacks a lot to keep your kiddos entertained, so mess-free snack containers will help keep that option available no matter where you are! Before you feed your child in the car seat, though, review this post that discusses if car snacks are safe

6. Bathing

For bathing, always choose travel-sized bottles and put them in a ziplock bag or plastic toiletry bag. That way, they won’t ruin your clothes or personal items if they leak. We also recommend putting this in your checked bag rather than your carry-on, so you don’t have to worry about taking it out during TSA checks. 

7. Sleep

Good sleep for everyone will be essential for a pleasant international trip (especially if there’s a big time change.). Don’t cheap out or pack too light here! Bring all the travel gear you need to help your child sleep soundly every night. 

We recommend bringing familiar blankets, a familiar sound machine, and any other home comforts that’ll make bedtime easier. And, if you’re staying in the same room as your child, the Slumberpod is a must-have, because it creates a dark, quiet space for your child. (That way, it’s not lights out at 7:30 pm for you too.) 

8. Safety 

When traveling internationally, you may or may not have access to the usual safety essentials from home. Of course, bring your prescriptions and vitamins, but also bring a basic first aid kit, essential medications, sun protection, and motion sickness solutions. This is one area where you don’t want to be under-prepared! 

9. Entertainment/Comfort

Do you have screen time limits? Do you avoid buying your kids new toys? Throw all that out the window for long international flights! Preload your child’s entertainment systems, get them headphones, and just let them be comfortable. Of course, also bring plenty of safe toys and entertaining games to keep everyone occupied and happy on the long flight.

10. Documents

This is a big one! Don’t forget your child’s passports, immunization records, birth certificate copies, and all essential confirmation numbers. You’ll also need your own driver’s license and any travel insurance information. All this will need to be well-organized and kept safely with you in your carry-on or personal bag. 

  • Passports
  • Immunization records
  • Driver’s license
  • Travel insurance information
  • Copies of passports stored digitally 
  • Copies of birth certificates stored digitally 
  • Confirmation numbers for airlines, hotels, rental cars, etc.

Packing Tips For International Travel 

1. Bring your car seat on the airplane.

The FAA recommends all children under 40 lbs be in a child restraint system . . . AKA, their own car seats! Even though you might save some money by putting your child in your lap, you won’t be able to keep your child safe in a rough landing or extreme turbulence. Your child needs to be fastened into their car seats to be safe. Plus, they’re usually more comfortable this way! 

Not only is bringing a car seat safer on the plane, but it’s safer when you get to your destination too. Renting a car seat isn’t safe or reliable and checking your car seat can do more damage to your baby gear than getting in a collision. If you’re dreading lugging around your big car seat, get a travel-specific car seat instead. Just ensure whatever you bring is FAA-approved

*We’ll note that booster seats are not FAA-approved, but you should still bring one along and put it in the overhead bin to use when you arrive at your destination. 

5 Tips for Flying with Car Seats

2. Get familiar with the transportation challenges. 

Determine what the new country’s transportation challenges may be. Will you be taking public transit? Do the seat belts have lock-offs? Also, remember different countries require different car seat features that your seat may or may not have. The U.S. has high standards for car seats, so you’ll likely be fine in this department, but you do want to check. Whatever the challenges might be, come up with solutions before you leave for your destination. If you’re unsure how to handle them, book a consultation with us

3. Go overboard on entertainment and snack options. 

Snacks and entertainment will be your lifeline on these long flights and transfers. Overpack treats and entertainment items for all of your sanity! We recommend even getting some new items and revealing them to your child slowly over the trip to keep things exciting the whole way through. Hopefully, this will minimize meltdowns. 

4. Be intentional about what’s in your carry-on.

Your carry-on will need to hold all these entertainment and snack options, but it’ll need more than that. Keep your prescriptions, an extra set of clothes, essential comfort items, and other must-haves in your carry-on in case your luggage gets stolen, lost, or delayed. 

5. Make a plan for laundry.

Packing light is wise, but that’s hard with kids! If you can, arrange a means of doing laundry at your destination. Even if that means you’re doing it in your hotel room sink! This will allow you to pack lighter and not stress about running out of clothing items. 

6. Consider what you can buy when you get there. 

Another good way to pack light is to buy things when you arrive. For instance, you may be able to buy diapers and certain toiletries when you arrive. Determine if this is possible at your destination, and then pack only what you need for the flight. When you get there, buy what you need to save room in your luggage! 

7. Stay organized for a stress-free trip. 

Organization is essential for an enjoyable trip. Start packing early, label everything, and keep everything in its specific location. If you need anything while traveling or at your destination, you should be able to locate it right away! Consider not only how you’ll keep your carry-on and personal items organized for the flight, but also how you’ll arrange your accommodations at your destination to keep everything neat and tidy. 

Packing Checklist for International Travel 

Make your family trip enjoyable for everyone!

If you’re taking an international trip with your whole family, first of all, GO YOU! That experience will be something you can all treasure forever. However, to make as many positive vacation memories as possible, be intentional about your packing list to be prepared for anything. To be even more prepared, check out our blog and our YouTube Channel for more essential safety tips and take our Wheels Up course to get all the ins and outs of air travel with kids. You’ve got this!

As an Amazon Associate, Safe in the Seat earns from qualifying purchases.

Find your best car seat in *under 5 minutes*

Skip to content