Packing is one of my favourite things to do. I pondered what to pack for a round the world trip with kids for months, and I actually packed and repacked for at least 3 months before leaving. I think I repacked all our bags four or five times. Every time I did Randy made fun of me, but I don’t care!! With each repack I did a better job, and the pile of “stuff” got smaller. I’d rather repack more times than bring along too much stuff!
Updated after 6mo on the road…find the updates below in Blue!
We’re spending our year-long RTW trying to chase the summer as much as possible. However, we’ll end up in a few places that’ll require slightly warmer clothes. I’ve tried to keep my packing list as versatile as possible to account for whatever weather we may encounter. I’ve also made sure not to include any of these things from Ali’s wonderful list of what NOT to pack in a carry on!
The kids’ll carry most of their own stuff, but not all of it. Currently their packs are about 10lbs each. This is a bit heavy for extended walking. I’m able to take out the 2 small packing cubes from each girl’s bag, and redistribute them between mine and Randy’s packs (meaning I get the 2 smallest, and he gets the 2 medium sized ones!). This cuts the weight down to about 6lbs, which is perfectly reasonable for them to carry for extended periods of time. The only time they’ll have to carry the extra weight is through the airport.
Read More: There’s so many other things to think about when planning a trip, including all these awesome tips from Viola
What to Pack for a Round The World Trip with Kids?
- Kid’s Packing List
- Mom’s Packing List
- Dad’s Packing List
- Massive Electronics Packing List
- Or check out Nathan’s post about what to pack for a trip around the world for more inspiration!
These are all the items for one girl, unpacked (to the left) and packed up (to the right).
When I look at their clothes all laid out, it seems like a lot! I’ll likely end up ditching a bit of it along the way. (Update: I’ve ditched SO much!!) They just get so dirty when they travel that I keep leaving it all in. If I think it’s too much once we’re on the road, I’ll send something back with my mom when she visits in October!
Everything packs into 3 eBags packing cubes, in their REI Tarn 18 backpacks. Although we absolutely LOVE these, they’re not available in Canada (sad face), but they are available in the US (happy dance)!! We also have the Osprey Jet-18 and love them too. The torso is a bit longer than the REI packs, so they’d work well for kids that are a bit bigger than my tiny little peanuts!
Also, check out these 8 mistakes Melissa at The Family Voyage made when packing for their RTW, and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes!
Kid’s Packing List (per girl)
- 3 Tank tops
1 ultralight weight & 21 Long sleeve Merino wool shirt
21 Merino wool leggings 2 Capri pants(sent these home because they weren’t wearing them, bought a pair of Elephant pants in Thailand!)
- 1 Convertible pants
- Bathing suit
- 6 5 Underwear
3 Socks(Only one pair now)
- Beach hat
City hat (in Mom’s pack)(lost these somewhere. Kacela has a new one she bought in Nepal)
- Strappy Sandals
(in Mom’s pack)They carry these themselves now! Keen Running shoes(sent them home after trekking in Nepal)
- Fleece zip-up hoodie (not pictured – in Mom’s pack)
Stuffable down jacket (not pictured – in Dad’s pack)
- Sarong (They’ve used these as a blanket almost every night of the trip so far!)
- UV Buff
- Stuffed animal
- All the beanie-boos on the front of the pack!!
500mL and 1L Platypus water bottles(Sent these home)
- backpack rain cover
UPDATE (after 6mo): We’ve ended up swapping out some of the girl’s clothes because they’ve bought stuff along the way or they just weren’t wearing it! For clothing, they each have: 1 pair of socks, 5 pairs of underwear, 2 t-shirts, 3 tank tops, 1 long sleeve shirt, fleece hoody, rain coat, 1 pair of icebreaker leggings, convertible pants, 1 pair of shorts, 3 dresses (2 bought along the way), Thai “elephant pants” (bought along the way), hiking sandals, crocs, bathing suit, pyjamas.
Kid-specific Toiletries (In Dad’s Pack)
- Hair brush
- Lots of Hair elastics
- Hair Clips
Since we’re gone for a year I wanted to bring some games. We can play these as a family, the girls can play them together, or on their own. I’ve spent a bit of time collecting small card games, and then we’ve added a few of our favourites. They’re packed in Mom’s pack.
- 2 Kanoodles (can play alone or race each other)
- mini Uno – a travel staple
- 2 decks of mini cards
Wizard(sent home) Sushi Go(sent home and got the iPhone app instead!) Mini packs of a few easy card games(we played these a bunch at first, then gave them away and moved on to more “grown up” games!)
- Math dice (6)
- Regular dice (6)
- Pass the Pigs party
Along with their big packs, the girls each have their own cross-body bag. These are very similar to what we always take for the plane. You can find that (short) packing list HERE!
UPDATE (after 6mo): Kacela lost her bag, and Calais’ was sent home when Grandma bought them new purses in Nepal! They currently have lego, a few shopkins, mini boogie board, pencil crayons, a small colouring book, a notebook and post-it notes.
You can find our favourite kid’s packing items here:
Keen Oakridge Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Icebreaker’s Merino Wool Clothing
Mom’s Packing List
When I started packing for our RTW (months before we left!) I knew I wanted minimal clothing that was all comfortable to wear. I didn’t really set out to create a capsule wardrobe. When I laid it all out however, I realized that’s exactly what I’ve got! It’s a collection of very specific items, all in a couple colour families, that all goes together.
My goal was to stay below 33 items of clothing and accessories not including bras, socks & underwear.
4 tank tops; blue, grey, coral, black3 tank tops; blue, black, elephant design (bought in Thailand)
- 3 short-sleeve t-shirts; black, coral & traded in a blue for pink, I needed more colour!
- 1 long-sleeve merino wool t-shirt; grey
1 long-sleeve button-up BugsAway shirt; coral(sent it home as I wasn’t wearing it)
- 1 long sleeve light weight top I bought in Nepal
Short hipknotie; teal & blue ombre(sent it home, took up too much room in my bag!)
- Athletic shorts; black
- T-shirt dress; grey
Merino wool skirt; grey(sent it home because I picked up the dresses below)
- 2 light weight, long dresses I bought (China & Thailand)
- Capri leggings; grey
- “Elephant Capris” purchased in Thailand
- ExOfficio Cargo-type pants; grey
- EnCircled Dressy sweatpants; black
MEC stuff-able primaloft jacket; teal(sent it home)
- Marmot lightweight rain shell; blue
- Merino Wool zip-up hoodie
- Small merino wool toque (beanie); teal
- 2 UV Buffs; teal & coral
Lightweight scarf; light blue & coral(wasn’t wearing it, sent it home)
- Hat (lost the original, recently bought a new one!)
- Ipanema sandals; grey
- Sketcher’s go-walks; blue
Keens hiking shoes; teal(sent these home after trekking in Nepal)
- Bathing suit;
teal(bought a new one in Bali!)
85 pairs of ExOfficio underwear ( 52 thong, 3 full-bum) 31 SmartWool merino wool socks 21 IceBreakers merino wool ankle socks
- 1 pair of compression socks; blue & teal
- 2 sports bras; one black, one nude
The total comes in a 25!! Down from 29 (including the
one new pair of earrings I’m wearing, not including any of the under-wear).
Update (after 6mo): I’m down to 3 tank tops, 3 t-shirts, 1 long-sleeve shirt, 1 fleece, rain jacket, 1 athletic shorts, 2 capri pants, 2 long pants, 2 long dresses, 1 t-shirt dress, bathing suit, 5 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of socks, 2 bras, 1 hat, sandals, walking shoes.
Obviously there’s a lot more in my bag besides the clothing!
Mom Specific Toiletries (in Dad’s pack)
- Diva Cup (find your perfect menstrual cup!)
- Hair elastics
- A few under-arm waxing strips (for when we’re at the beach!)
- 90 pairs of daily contact lenses
- 2 pairs of eyeglasses (that change to sunglasses)
- 1 pair of regular eyeglasses
- Prescription sunglasses
- Non-prescription sunglasses (2 cheaper pairs, 1 pair or Maui Jim’s)
- stainless steel mug (x2)
- electric heating element to boil water (it’s so random, but I love to be able to make tea or Nescafe wherever we are!)
- 2 microfibre travel towels, but I’ve got my eye on these Teasalate towels after reading this review!
- Large soft-cover notebook
- Small soft-cover notebook
(to record expenses)(I use the Travel Wallet app now)
- A few pens
My black planning book(I took pics of what I needed and sent this home)
- USB chargeable headlamp (2)
- Medium Longchamps bag (used for food, water, etc when we’re on the road. It’s also a great beach bag!)
- 2 dry bags
- Laundry bag (Our Scrubba) – sunlight bar soap, travel clothes line (barely use this),
universal sink plug, powdered laundry detergent
- Filter Water Bottle for Travel (see which one we chose, and the rest of our complete water system here!)
42 sporks (we’ve broken 2)
- 2 Loqi shopping bags
- 2 small produce bags (bought in Thailand)
- 4 sets of chop sticks (I’m considering ditching these now that we’re not in Asia)
Are you looking for a great travel backpack for women? Check out this post from Melissa at The Family Voyage. It’s really comprehensive and covers the best packs out there!
Dad’s Packing List
- 5 t-shirts (Icebreaker & ExOfficio)
- 1 long sleeve Icebreaker shirt
12 pairs of shorts (one he had made in Vietnam)
- 1 pair of pants
- 1 long underwear (sent these home after trekking)
75 ExOfficio boxers
- Compression Socks (plus 1 pair of cotton ankle socks bought in Kyrgyzstan)
- Speedo swim trunks
- Board shorts (bought in Thailand)
- PacSafe metal-free belt
- ExOfficio Lumen Hoodie
- Rain Jacket
Stuffable PrimaLoft Jacket(Sent home after trekking in Nepal)
- UV Buff
- Ball cap
- Waterproof running shoes
Nike flip flopsFlip Flops purchased in Luang Prabang when the Nike ones broke!
- Razor (he found the perfect travel razor/clipper combo)
- Extra razor blades
- 90 pairs of daily contacts (replenishing along the way)
- 2 pairs of prescription glasses
- 1 pair of prescription sunglasses
21 pairs of non-prescription sunglasses (one was lost in the Mekong)
Randy’s done the best job carrying the least clothes, it’s so much simpler for men!
Read more: If you’re wondering how to pack it all, check out this awesome post on how to pack a suitcase efficiently by the Travel Leaf!
Our Massive Electronics Packing List
Our electronics are a bit outlandish, which is what happens when we’re trying to blog and make videos along our travels. It’s an entire post on it’s own. Even if you’re not blogging but want to properly document your trip, head on over and check out our electronics packing list!
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I am so looking forward to reading about your trip! Only one swimsuit? Just because you mentioned being mostly in summery places… what is your philosophy on buying more stuff?
My philosophy on buying more stuff is pack less so I can buy more (not too much more, but I’m not opposed to on-the road purchases)!!
We’ll be traveling to mainly warm places but not a whole lot of beach destinations. If needed, the girls also have a little “bralet” that matches their shortie underwear that they could use for a swim suit.
Hi Kyla, How did you chose the backpack for your children? I looked at it via your amazon link. I’m trying to pick something for my boys to use via backpacking. New follow and would love to have you follow me as well. I’m also pinning some of your posts!! Thanks, Beth, http://www.wisemommies.com http://www.wisemommies.com/facebook
Hi Beth! Thanks for the follow, I’d love to follow you guys too! We started with the Osprey packs after a bunch of research, although there aren’t many great small kid’s packs that are better than just a “school bag”. Friends of ours often used them when traveling and when they went to buy their own they found the REI ones. The torso is a bit smaller and it fits the girls better, so that’s what we chose. Both make 12 & 18L kid packs, but we find we need the 18L! Heading over to follow and pin!!
Hi Kyla – how wold were your girls when you traveled? We are fellow Canadians (from Saskatoon) and in the throws of research and planning (we leave in exactly 2 years!!!). Our girls will be 8 (turning 9 while we travel) and 11 (first stop is on her 11th birthday in Paris). I’m sure I will be touch with you some more as we continue our planning, but knowing your girls ages while traveling will certainly help!! Thanks!!
Our girls were younger…5&6 when we left. The oldest turned 7 two mo into the trip, and the youngest turned 6 nine mo in.
An 11th birthday in Paris sounds incredible!! We definitely were able to get away with less schooling because they were in K & Gr 2.
Hi! Just discovered your page because I’m also planning a rtw trip with my family 🙂 Looking for advice/information regarding backpacks. My kids will be 9-7-4 at the time of departure.
What kind of backpack did you and your husband have? Thank you!
Hello! Sorry I didn’t see this comment for some reason. I used an Osprey Kyte 46 (46L) and my husband has a Tarn (48L). If you’re wanting to do carry on only, somewhere around 50L is a great size. Sometimes I wish we had packs that opened like a suitcase, but most of the time we were fine to just stuff our items in the top!