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#WorldwideOx Packing List: kid edition

Back in January, we had the kids try on backpacks at REI. You know, where you can add weights to the pack to mimic a more realistic travel experience. Our middle guy, age 6, was hilarious—he looked drunk walking the aisles, nearly knocking over displays and weaving back and forth due to the weight on his back.

Reed at REI

Needless to say, we decided the kid couldn’t take that much.

I’m happy to report he’s gotten stronger, but we still don’t want to burden our kids with more than they need. But it’s important to us that each kid carries his or her own stuff—I mean, we’ll carry a few things if it’s essential, but for the most part, our kids can handle their own (another reason we waited a few years to do this trip, when our youngest was 4 and out of the toddler phase).

A few thoughts about packing light for kids for extended travel:

1. Kids grow like weeds. There’s no reason to pack very much, nor anything terribly nice or expensive, because they’ll just grow out of it. Since we’ll be gone almost a full year, we expect to replace almost everything as we go. Our kids grow like weeds.

2. Kids’ clothes are small. Sounds obvious, but it’s helpful to remember should you feel a twinge of guilt about making them haul their own stuff. It’s all in proportion to their body size.

3. Kids get dirty, but the younger ones don’t get as sweaty. Therefore, they can wear clothes again and again…and again before washing. Just a few of each item is plenty.

Here are our official lists.

Tatum, age 9.5 (girl)

What to pack for kids for a round-the-world trip.

not pictured: jacket, Longhorn t-shirt

convertible pants
swimsuit & rash guard
short-sleeved t-shirts, 4
tank top
jacket (we’ll buy any other warm gear on the road if we need it)
jammies (1 pair shorts, 1 pair pants, one shirt)
underwear, 5
socks, 2 pair
flip flops
toothbrush & toothpaste
journal & pen
sketchbook & pencils
Pokemon cards
deck of cards
small toy
colored pencils
spiral notebook as her Commonplace Journal

She’ll carry all this in a 40-liter bag.

The boys have identical packing lists…

Reed, age 6.5 and Finn, age 4 (boys)

What to pack for kids for a round-the-world trip.

Not pictured: jammies, Longhorn t-shirt

What to pack for kids for a round-the-world trip.

not pictured: Longhorn shirt

convertible pants
swimsuit (plain-colored, so they’ll double as shorts)
t-shirts, 4
jacket (we’ll buy any other warm gear on the road if we need it)
jammies (1 pair shorts, 1 pair pants, one shirt)
underwear, 5
socks, 2 pair
flip flops/sandals
toothbrush & toothpaste
journal/sketchbook, pencils
Pokemon cards
toy, 1

Finn will carry an 18-liter backpack and Reed will carry a 40-liter, not completely filled. In fact, none of the kids’ bags will be entirely filled, somewhat to give them space if we see something lightweight that’d make their journey more special, but mostly because these are the bags that fit their shoulders and waist best. Smaller bags are simply too small for their frame, and we wanted to invest in something they could use longer than just this year.

Honestly, the kids are easy. They don’t need much, they’re happy with whatever once it’s in their bags, and if they need something? We’ll just get it en route.

Other packing posts:


Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Allie

    GREAT list Tsh. I think it’s easy to forget that (gasp!) kids around the world also wear clothes, so you don’t have to carry everything you’ll ever need! Your list looks great, and you can always add more / replace if need be.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Absolutely. 🙂

  2. Marla Taviano

    This is so fun!! I’m so excited!!


    I am loving these posts about what y’all are bringing. We do not have plans to travel, but it is really getting to me think about how much we really need to have in our everyday life. We are already living relatively simply, but this is inspiring me to be even more intentional. Thank you and can’t wait to hear all about your family adventure!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Right? I know when we get back we’ll go through our stuff and wonder why on earth we (think we) still need it…

  4. Jamie

    Oh my goodness…aside from great packing lists, the kids look absolutely adorable and a wee bit excited! I’m curious about the Longhorn t-shirts not shown. Is this to remind them of your origin? 😉

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      More they’re just a fun thing from my alma mater… we didn’t picture them in the first two because the photos were taken in Oregon and hadn’t gotten them yet, and with Finn, Kyle just forgot to take it out of the bag and include it in the line-up. 🙂

  5. Jen Larson

    I love this post – the kids look pretty excited! I know a lot of people that bring more than this for one weekend away with their kids!

  6. Amanda Kendle

    Love the pics of each kid with their stuff – and they look so excited! Our next trip will be the first where my son (now 4) will be big enough to carry a decent amount of stuff so you’ve inspired me to actually get him a proper backpack.

  7. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    I always over pack for my kids. I don’t know why….I guess I forget that yes, things can be re-worn over and over.

    You did a great job!

  8. Monisha Rahemtulla

    This was a great list, for so many of us we think “What If” but in fact, most places you travel there is always a place to pick something up. We travelled to Thailand with our 9 and 7 year old this past May, and I packed more than necessary – in hot countries less is more! Great article and look forward to hearing more of your travel experiences with the kids!

  9. Elizabeth

    How exciting! My 91/2 year old daughter and I will be following your journey. 🙂

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Fun! Thanks, guys.

  10. Stacy M

    Great list! I’m so excited to read about your journey. We recently moved our family of 5 (including 4-year-old twins) into a 456 square foot studio apartment to simplify and save for travel, so we’re definitely embracing the minimalist lifestyle! Do you have any other family travel blogs to recommend? Reading about your plans gets me so excited for our own!

  11. Alicia

    I just found this blog last week and I’m so excited to follow along on your journey! We took a 9 day trip to Nevada, Utah, and Arizona last year and I was impressed that we were able to do that with just a carry-on apiece…you’re more impressive, haha!

  12. Alissa

    I’m surprised that there’s not a single collar shirt or easy dress in these lists. It seems that most countries around the world are a lot more “formal” than in the states, so I would be worried about not having something a little more dressy to wear if you choose to visit a cultural event. (and by “dressy” I mean a polo shirt and khakis for boys… I’m from Oregon!)

    How about hats? or maybe that’s another “purchase as you go” item.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, because kids grow, and in general, we’ll be in slightly more “formal” countries on the second half of our trip. But honestly, a lot of times those rules apply to adults, not to traveling children. Sure, we’ll be culturally-appropriate, but in most places where we’ve been (we travel a lot), kids are just fine in shorts and a t-shirt.

  13. Heidi Underhill

    I would agree about a simple dress and 1 polo shirt each patterned to match the shorts of jeans. My thought also was a small pencil sharpener:-)

  14. Lisa

    I definitely pack more than this for shorter trips…I need to learn to pack less instead of just throwing things in at the last minute. I’m really interested in hearing about where you’ll be staying throughout your journey.

  15. Archer

    Are Tate’s flip flops the same ones you got at the thrift store a bit ago?

    Finn has grown a lot — I haven’t seen a picture of him in a while!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      They are! They still fit her. 🙂 And yes, he has—he has grown up a TON.

  16. Lori

    I would personally drop the PJ’s. We rarely wear them at home, always wear them on trips where suitcase space is not at a premium, but never take them on “backpack” trips, where we are just going for a weekend and have to carry our clothes around. In those cases, I figure long pants or shorts that can also double as another outfit if necessary is a better way to go. But if your kids are cozier in PJ’s (mine aren’t) then I can see you wanting to have them for a year-long trip.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Our kids adore their jammies, and we even bought special ones for this trip. They’re super thing, lightweight pants-and-shirt combo, so they really don’t take up too much room. It’s sometimes a chore to get them out of their jammies on a regular day, so yeah, I don’t think we could bypass them for a whole year. 😉

  17. Rheagan

    I am also surprised about the lack of a skirt or dress in Tatum’s packing list. There are so many places around the world where the local custom is for girls and women to wear dresses. I’m curious to see if you run into this issue! Here in Ireland, even my rough-n-tumble, tomboy daughter feels a bit out of place if she doesn’t wear a dress at least sometimes. She usually pairs it with leggings that can be worn separately.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Hmm… that’s interesting; I’ve traveled a lot, and have never been anywhere where it would be strange for a girl to not wear a dress. Tate’s never been a big dress person and she barely tolerates skirts, and since we have limited space, we figured it’s not essential for us. I asked her if she wanted to toss in a skirt and she said no, so we just moved on. If we feel we need a skirt, we’ll just buy one, but I’ve never been anywhere where we’d feel like it was necessary. Thanks for commenting.

      • Jennifer

        We travel extensively in (and are moving to) Sub-Saharan Africa, and skirts are more culturally appropriate there. Modesty is so different in that culture than what we expect here in the states, and it is polite to keep thighs covered. My girls wear long shorts or pants but do feel out-of-place at church and more formal events when not in a skirt. I usually end up in a skirt most of the time there. Still, most people are pretty used to Westerners and don’t get offended by our dress to easily (especially in he larger cities).

  18. Melissa

    Sure love all the lists, except those longhorn shirts. 😉 I love to play ‘how little can I get away with packing.’ Traveling with three kids is crazy enough, keeping up with extra stuff really isn’t worth it. My mother-in-law teases me that we have less luggage for our crew of five when we visit them than she and my father-in-law bring when they come to us!

  19. Deborah

    Have loved reading these posts since I’m currently packing for a three week trip to Europe. We live in the Middle East, so I’ve been looking through our mountains of shorts and dresses for items that will work for fall weather. You’re inspired me to say, “We really don’t need that much. And, if it turns out that we need additional sweaters or jackets, we’ll just get them in Germany or Switzerland. That’s what credit cards are for!” Thank you!

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  21. Melody

    Hi Tsh … Question for you about checked baggage on airplanes. Were you able to take the kids knapsacks on the plane as carry on or did you have to check bags? We are trying to avoid the fees associated with checked bags. Thanks!

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