Updated: Jul 2
Plane, train or automobile, these are things that are in the bag that sticks by my side on trips. That means on camping trips or hotel stays, this bag always comes with me and holds all the essentials the family may need at a moments notice. Throughout the trip some things may come and go, but this is generally what comes in at the beginning and comes back with me.
All my kids are potty trained now, so I don't have any baby supplies. But, when I did have babies, I carried a diaper backpack in addition to this bag.
Please let me know if there is anything you keep in your travel bag that other families would benefit from.
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Keychain- with Door Opener
This is one of my favorite products. I rarely have to touch a door handle unless its a knob. This means hotel, restaurant and public bathroom doors, pool gate handles, and other entrances and exits. I can run into a convenience store or gift shop and touch nothing but the products I am purchasing. I can use the door opener to open refrigerator doors and use the built-in stylus on touchscreens at self check out or ATM machines. You can also use the stylus to touch elevator buttons, slot machines, etc.
Phone/ Chargers/Headphones/Air pods
Of course, I don't go anywhere without my phone. But, my charging cord and portable charger have to be handy too! When you spend a long day at an amusement park or out on a full day hike in nature, you want to take as many pictures as possible; so the portable charger is a must have! The little organizer below is great for organizing cords and holding chargers. If you are going to only need your phone, you can leave your purse in your room and just grab the little organizer. (Or, throw it in your belt bag, which we will talk about below.) Air pods and headphones might be good to keep for everyone as well, especially for plane trips.
There may be times during the trip I am going to leave the bag in the hotel room or cabin and I just want to bring a couple things like wallet items (ID, debit card, insurance card) and phone. If I use the bag as my wallet, I just have to throw my phone in when I want to use the belt bag. This comes in really handy at the casino, or a quick bike ride with the kids.
Antibacterial Wipes/Hand Sanitizer
I take hand sanitizer and wipes pretty much everywhere I go. Whether you are going to an airport, cruise, amusement park, or camping you need these available. I like hand sanitizer, but kids need wipes when they have actual dirt or food on their hands. Also, I like to use them before eating if I cant wash my hands with the hope it will wipe off the germs like Norovirus that hand sanitizer does not kill. These portable soaps are really handy too if you have water with you.
Whether it's a snow trip or beach trip, sunblock is required. I'm especially careful with my kids since I had melanoma. Read more about that here: Wear Sunblock this Summer: What it was like Having Melanoma. Sometimes you don't know where the day is going to take you, so its a good to have some on hand.
Along the same lines as the sunblock, sunglasses are needed on a wide variety of trips. I try to keep everyone's in my bag. It will keep you sane when you have a little one complaining about the sun in their eyes on a car trip and you know exactly where their glasses are.
Adult Medications Bag
I like to keep things like acid reducers, pain medications, motion sickness medicine and any prescription medications we are taking in a quart size bag.* I can always leave these in the hotel room if we are going shopping or bowling or something but these stay with me during travel. I may take more if its a long trip or if we are going camping far from a store. I like to keep pills in the bottle so I know for sure what I am taking and have the instructions but if you prefer you can take up less room in your bag with a pill box.
*I AM NOT A DOCTOR - THESE ARE EXAMPLES OF MEDICATIONS I MAY TAKE DURING TRAVEL. CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ANY MEDICATIONS. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE.
Children Medication Bag with Thermometer
If we are just going on a weekend trip, I will probably combine the adult med bag with the kids. On a longer trip, I use two bags. Remember, on a plane, 3.4 ounces is the normal rule but I believe children's liquid medications are an exception. Read more about that at the TSA site. (And, yes of course, you can buy meds as needed but notoriously kids get sick at night and its harder to find places open.) The fever patches aren't just for fevers but also help with motion sickness! I include a thermometer because I don't want to buy a thermometer multiple times a year. I commonly have to take someone's temp. If you have a toddler that can't blow their nose, a nasal aspirator is great to have on hand as well.
*I AM NOT A DOCTOR - THESE ARE EXAMPLES OF MEDICATIONS I MAY TAKE DURING TRAVEL. CONSULT YOUR CHILDREN'S DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ANY MEDICATIONS. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE.
My Makeup Basics, Chapstick for the Boys.
Of course, I would carry more makeup in my luggage with my toothbrush and other toiletries. These are just basic touch up items. Any other Gilmore Girls fans who get the reference on the make up bag?? A travel brush and hair bands are good to have on hand.
Flushable wipes are really best for small kids. So, I will usually have one pack thrown in my bag and the others packed.
On any trip I have an entirely separate snack bag. I may periodically add snacks to the bag for side trips where I cant bring the whole snack bag. For healthy-ish road trip snack ideas read here.