What to Pack for Your Next Family Holiday Vacation

There’s no family vacation like a family holiday vacation. Maybe you’re all gathering in a different state or country for the holiday season, or perhaps everyone’s squeezing into a car and taking a holiday road trip. Whatever the case, be sure you pack all the holiday vacation essentials.


Why not exchange gifts while you’re on vacation? While it might be difficult to bring all of your gifts on vacation with you, you might be able to bring one gift or smaller gifts that can fit in your luggage. Whether you’re going to do your gift exchange in a hotel, cabin, or relative’s home, it’ll be a different—and thus, memorable—way to do presents this year.

Warm Attire

Wintertime usually means cold weather across the country, so you’ll definitely want to pack warm clothing if you’re going to be vacationing somewhere that’s cold—and especially if you’re going to be in a snowy climate. Be sure to pack:

Skiing and Snowboarding Gear

A lot of families enjoy renting a cabin in the mountains and going skiing or snowboarding. Unless you have major snowboarding enthusiasts in your family—who probably prefer to bring their own equipment—you can usually just rent equipment at the ski resort. But you should definitely pack your own skiing and snowboarding gear. If you don’t have any, just look online to find a ski suits for women and men. Try them on, make sure they fit, and throw ‘em in your luggage. Don’t worry about fastening skis and snowboards to the roof of your vehicle.

Stuff for the Cabin

If you’re renting a winter cabin, there are a few things you’ll want to bring so you and your family can stay comfortable and have lots of fun. First, you should definitely bring food and snacks. Most cabins have a kitchen and grill so you can prepare hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, and sandwiches. Fill an ice chest or two with snacks and foods that can be easily prepared—and don’t forget the coffee and hot chocolate. You should also bring board games so you can all get together and have fun after your day of snowboarding.

Audio Books and eBooks

Going to be in a car or plane for several hours? An audio book or eBook is the perfect way to pass the time. Audio books are great because you can both listen to your story and also have fun looking out the window at passing scenery. An eBook is also a good choice if your prefer to “have a book in your hands.” eBooks are space-efficient because you can store lots of them on your phone, tablet, or Kindle.

Distractions for Kids

Kids tend to go crazy during long car rides and flights. If you don’t want them to be bugging you all the time with “are we there yet?” then you should bring some travel distractions for the kiddos. Great distractions include:

  • Tablets
  • Small toys
  • Mad Libs
  • Coloring books

These distractions are an essential way for you and your spouse to keep your cool when your kids get antsy.

Summer Gear

You might be doing a holiday vacation so you can get away from the cold weather. Thankfully, the wintertime means it’s summertime in the southern hemisphere and the tropics—and it’s always summertime in San Diego. If you’re going to a warm-weather location during the holidays, make sure you pack appropriately:

  • Light shirts/dresses
  • Shorts
  • Swimming gear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Sandals or flip flops
  • Deodorant


Smartphone cameras are very powerful nowadays, but you’ll still take the best photos on a DSLR camera—and these cameras are much easier to point, shoot, and focus. Look for a travel-sized mirrorless camera that’s easy to pack and stuff into your purse or pocket.

Travel Bags

If you’re travelling to a new city, you might want to wander about the town and explore the neighborhoods. Make sure you have a comfortable travel bag with you so you can store your exploring essentials, like your wallet, camera, snacks, and water.


Snacks have been brought up several times on this list, but they’re an essential part of any holiday vacation! Pack granola bars and simple health foods, but also pack holiday-centric snacks like candy canes and cookies.

Use this guide as a checklist while you’re packing and you’re sure to have a fun family holiday that everyone will remember!

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