Over the years, we have had times we’ve had to pack and go with our kids at times at very short notice.
After the first few times of missing our toothbrushes, underwear, different electrical cords and even our I.D.’s, we realized the importance of coming up with an all-comprehensive packing list that would help solve many of these problems. As detailed as it may be, chances are a few items will still be missing; so feel free to add your particular items to our growing list.
Tip: Create a travel cabinet
Consider establishing a traveling cabinet in your basement or your garage that will store all your travel supplies, medicines, travel clothing and suitcases in one single area to help you access your supplies quickly.
We pack our cosmetics and medicines in specially labeled bags and store them in our travel cabinet year round, so we do not have to unpack and repack them each time we travel. Doing so not only cuts on travel preparations but serves as an emergency backup of sorts if you live in areas prone to weather or other unexpected emergencies such as earthquakes, fires, and tornadoes. The only caveat is you DO need to check the expiration dates on your medicines at least once a year and remember to replenish the cosmetics and medicines you use.
- Mini first aid kit (to carry around during day) including mini tweezers for splinters, Solarcaine for sunburns, and Antibiotic cream
- For Pain: Advil, Tylenol, baby Aspirin and Thermacare patches
- For Female Issues: Midol for pains; Vagisil, Monistat for yeast infections; Cystex for urinary infections
- For Allergy issues: Benadryl, Zyrtec tablets and Benadryl and Hydrocortisone creams.
- For Digestive issues:
- Anti-Diuretic: Imodium or any other;
- Fiber tablets like Metamucil
- Soreness: Preparation H
- Nausea: Nauzene
- Heartburn: Mylanta
- Gas -X, Zantac
- Eye care: Visine, Patanol
- Ear care: Similasan homeopathic drops or equivalent
- For Colds & Flu symptoms:
- Throat pain: Throat lozenges
- Decongestant: NyQuil day and night or equivalent
- Cough Syrup like Delysm
- Nose Spray like Afrin
- Do not forget to carry your thermometer and covers so several people can safely use it
- Lice shampoo–lice are more widespread than you might think so you should be prepared
- Pin X-pinworm treatment for a just in case situation
- Skin issues
- Rashes: Hydrocortisone cream
- Fungal Infections for Athlete’s Foot: Lamisil or equivalent
- Blister treatment: Moleskin, Water repellant Band-aids, and Anti-chafing stick
- Sleep aids to combat jetlag: Melatonin, Benadryl, Valerian, ear plugs
- Glucose tablets
- Suture and syringe set for travel in third world countries
- Poison control: Activated charcoal for poison absorbent
- Medical bracelets for non-verbal travelers with existing medical conditions
- USB port medical information
- IAMAT membership card
- Antibiotics tablets: If you are allergic to some kinds you should carry your own to use when needed.
- Eye Antibiotic drops: Tobradex or equivalent
- Ear antibiotic drops
- Motion sickness prevention: Transdermal patch or Dramamine tablets
- Save a tooth kit: any a tooth that is knocked out can be kept for 1-2 hours in the container until you reach help.
- Vision Glasses: At least one extra pair if you wear glasses.We carry four pairs for each family member, and there have been times we were down to our last couple with our son.
- All prescription medicines that are taken on a daily basis.
- Oxygen tank
- Hearing aid cleaner
- Extra tubing and cleaner
- Mini Dehumidifier
Remember to pack a week of extra supply for each medicine in case you get stranded anywhere along with an actual written prescription that can be refilled.
Keeping healthy while traveling
No one wants to get sick on vacation so here are some items worth taking with you if you want to stay healthy:
- Hand wipes or equivalent to clean hands before meals after bathroom visits.Avoid wipes and antibacterial gels that contain a high percentage of alcohol and unnecessarily dry your skin.
- Mini Lysol sprays for public toilet seats and to ‘clean’ your hotel room or ship cabin upon arrival.
- Bath mat for the hotel or cruise cabin showers stall/tub.
- Mini foldable cups to use when you want to drink.
- Replace your travel toothbrushes every 2-3 months
- Choose hard plastic suitcases as they provide better protection against bed bugs and keep your bags off room and cabin floors.
- Keep your belongings in Ziploc bags when you use the hotel/cabin drawers
- Upon entering your hotel room/ship cabin lift your mattress and check seams carefully with a flashlight!
Staying safe during travel
After we have been rudely awakened in London by a fire alarm, we realized we should have a ‘limited’ contingency plan of our own for emergencies. Now we have an extra bag for that particular purpose, known by my other family members as ‘the worry wort bag.’
- Flashlight–one per person
- Door and or a window alarms–especially if your kid tends to wander
- Nightlight-great for dark hotel rooms and ship cabin, especially in cabins with bunk beds that entail ladders. Make sure you carry an extra bulb and batteries.
- Face masks to protect against smoke inhalation in case of fire
- Emergency blankets–the thin tin foil like you find in surplus stores for fire emergency
- Rope-for family members to hold on to in smoke infested hotel corridors
- Whistle–as a way of communication in smoke conditions
- In the case you travel with younger kids you also need:
- Car seats for those traveling with small kids
- Seatbelt extender
This section needs no introduction unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade. In our house, electronics keep us sane, they entertain the kids and provide us with a way to communicate amongst ourselves and with loved ones when we are away.
- Wheelchair or Scooter recharger
- Extra batteries for hearing aids
- Extra power strip
- Universal Converter
- International transformer
- Extra rechargers-cell phone,tablet,laptop rechargers,car rechargers
- Headphones-bring extra ones since they tend to break
- Portable DVD players and movies
- Camera and Camcorder batteries, memory card and rechargers
- Walkie talkies- especially for cruise ships
- Room thermometer to check your room/cabin temperature
- Alarm clock; in case that hotel or cruise ship wake-up call center malfunctions!
- Swiss army knife if you travel via bus, car or train
- Bottle opener
- Mini pliers and Screw Drivers
- Superglue, Duct tape and WD40 (for stuck suitcase zippers)
- Fabreeze for ‘moldy’ smelling room or funky smelling bathroom
- Saran wrap to cover foods overnight
- small Ziploc bags to carry snacks
- Sticky notes to remind your room steward on the ship of anything you need.
- Safety pins
- Duct tape.Velcro and Double stick thin clothing tape
- Static Guard spray, Wrinkle Free Spray
- Bubble wrap
- Mini measuring tape
- Handheld shower kit if your hotel does not supply one
- Mini sewing kit
- Mini cooler
If your child goes through several sets of clothes every day, then you need to plan to do laundry during your travel.
- Hypoallergenic laundry detergent
- Lint away mini roller
- Sink Stops (buy at least two sizes)
- Stain remover stick
- Clothesline and Pins
- Soap especially if you are or your autistic kid suffers from allergies
- wash cloths if you are traveling internationally since many countries
- Body lotion if you suffer from dry skin
- Shavers and Shaving Cream
- Shampoo/conditioner combo
- Hair De-tangler
- Shower cap
- Hair brush and comb
- Toothbrushes, tooth- brush covers, Tooth Paste and Dental Floss
- Mouth Wash and Tongue Cleaners
- Oragel mouth spray
- Lip balm
- Nail polish
- Nail polish remover
- Base and top coats
- Nail clippers
- Emory boards
- Contacts solution
- Mini kit to repair vision glasses
- Extra pair of shoes
- Waterproof spray for your shoes
- Umbrella or Poncho
- Galoshes or Rain Boots
- Snow or Ice- weather
- Special anti-slip attachments for shoes
- Personal mini fan (remember to pack extra batteries)
- Carabiner to carry water bottle
- Hat or Visor
- Sunglasses including ones you can wear over vision glasses
- Sunscreen and Aloe vera ointment for sun burns
- Insect Repellant Spray
Making your child with autism comfortable
Depending on your kid you may find some or many of items on this list useful to pack.
- Food: favorite snacks
- Coloring materials
- Legos in a box
- Netflix membership
- Books on Tape
- Sleep Comfort:
- Blanket or Mini Pillow
- Stuffed animal,
- Family pictures
- Life skills help:
- Decal for cruise cabin door to be readily identifiable
- flash cards
- Mobile apps to help verbalize needs
- Printed itinerary routines
- Ear plugs or Headphones
- Chew objects, gum
- Written itinerary routines
- Temporary tattoos
- Communication devices like cell phone or Walkie Talkies
- By far the most important to remember are your documents.
Make sure they are always with you either in your carry-on or purse.You can also have a backup pdf copy on your laptop.
- Itinerary and Travel related
- Boarding passes,tickets,reservations
- Passports and copies of passports
- Green cards, ID, Birth Certificate, Drivers’ License, International drivers’ permit
- Custody papers notarized consent from another parent
- Copies of credit cards with contact information
- House keys
- Insurance papers
- Car insurance
- Travel Insurance
- Membership cards for associations like AAA
- Discount cards like Entertainment Card or Costco membership to get discounts on hotels, theme parks
- Medical Related
- Medical cards and copies of medical cards
- Copies of prescriptions
- Medical history downloaded on a memory chip
- Doctor’s note describing diagnosis and allergies
- Itinerary and Travel related