Essential items to bring for a family amusement-park-getaway, helping you ensure it's filled with comfort, affordability + lots of fun.
Ah amusement parks. They hold so much potential for joy, and yet they can easily become a pit of sweaty, expensive, swollen-feet despair. However, when you and the family come equipped with the right gear, you can garner so much joy from that park of thrills and freakishly large-headed characters that you end up staying until they tell you that you don't have to go home, but you can't stay there. Here's the skinny on what to bring on your next epic amusement park adventure.
Tip: Avoid the temptation to randomly throw clothes into your suitcase. Being intentional with what you pack, by putting together outfits that will suit your itinerary, will ensure that only items you’ll actually use end up in your bag.
Tip #2: If you’ll have easy access to a washer and dryer, you can cut the number of outfits you need to bring in half.
* Click here for the printable list.
· Folder with identification, tickets, insurance info and essential documents like visas and vaccination records (and photocopies of all of the above.)
You can probably get away with going on a trip without anything on this list... except these items, especially if you’re going international. We recommend tasking the most responsible adult in your family with being in charge of a sturdy folder with items like passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, Visas, or any other documentation required for wherever it is that you’re going.
· Two or three forms of payment. Have that responsible person mentioned above carry a money pouch on their person that has credit cards, debit cards and cash.
· Bathing suits! If your hotel will have a pool, bring one or two suits per person, so the worn ones can dry between use.
· Sunscreen that can be easily applied, especially if you have small children.
Amusement parks equal A LOT of sun exposure. Come prepared. We prefer some form of zinc oxide as it lasts longer than many other options.
· Sun-proof clothing. There are now multiple companies selling clothing that’s UPF 50+ and worth every dollar.
· Sunburn remedies. Because sunburns happen, even when you’re super vigilant with the goodies above, you’ll want to bring aloe, or other lobster skin soothers.
· Hand sanitizer. Amusement parks are like a fun house for germs. Be sure you have the tools to kill their fun.
· Zip lock baggies.
This helps keep cell phones and cash dry if you go on water-based rides.
· Cheap waterproof ponchos (if there’s rain in the forecast.)
· Two transit outfits. When you’re dealing with air, car, train, etc transit it’s ideal to wear items that allow for maximum comfort, which often requires having a few layers to account for the temperature shifts you’ll likely experience.
· Two outfits for each day of your adventure. As you’re planning these outfits, have your itinerary handy so you can ensure you’re packing the right type of garb for the activities you’ll be engaging in. If you think that you’ll be done by evening, and ready to climb into pajamas, skip the second outfit. But if you plan to go out for dinner every night, or do other evening activities where you’ll want fresh clothes, the second outfit can come in handy.
· Pajamas. If you won’t have access to a washer and dryer, you’ll likely want a pair of pajamas for every two nights you’ll be away. If you’ll be able to wash clothes, cut this number in half.
· Extra comfortable footwear that stay on your feet!
Flip-flops aren’t a great choice for roller coasters.
· Toiletries for skin, hair, eyes, teeth, odors, and so on. A few days before you depart, pull out all your hygiene and beauty essentials. Now consider the length of your trip, and yet again, the nature of the activities you’ll be doing. Next, figure out which items you need to buy more of before you depart, what can be housed in a smaller container, and what you can buy when you get there (for example, for long trips we often purchase shampoo, conditioner and body lotion when we get to our destination.)
· Earplugs. We think these gems deserve their own bullet point, as they can be sanity savers on an airplane or in a hotel room with your family.
· Medicine (including motion sickness patches or pills!) and other self care items, like glasses, contact lenses, inhaler, Epi pen etc. Be sure to refill any needed prescriptions at least a week before you depart so you don’t have to scramble at the last minute. The motion sickness patches or pills are for extra spinny rides. We use MQ Motion Sickness Patches and they work great.
· Reading material you’ll actually read.
We’ve often been guilty of packing way more books and magazines than we’ll ever read, which takes up precious weight and space. Be super selective with the reading material you bring, limiting yourself to those you’re sure you’ll crack.
· Entertainment for the kids. If you have teenagers, the phone, pad and necessary chargers will likely be all they need to entertain themselves but let’s throw in a book for good measure. For littles, set yourself up for sanity by packing a combo of games, toys, non-messy art supplies, and a cherished stuffed animal, or whatever it is they’re often clinging to.
If you really want to stoke them out, you can pack a backpack with toys, and other treasures, that they’ve never seen. We sometimes siphon off a few of Hudson’s birthday gifts to use for this purpose.
For Disney trips, we buy a few Disney toys online, stash them in our backpack, then pull them out when Hudson starts begging for an overpriced piece of plastic in the park.
And of course, pack that screen and headphones if your family does screen time. Hudson adores road trips, as that often means an Octonauts binge.
· Work essentials. Hopefully, you won’t have to engage in much work on your adventure, but we live in the real world and realize that sometimes a few emails or whatnot have to be taken care of while you’re sitting by that Little Mermaid theme pool. So make sure you have that laptop, charger, paperwork, or whatever else you’ll need to get your job done.
· Gadgets. While items like your computer are likely already on the list if you’ll be working, make sure you securely pack your other gadgets like a portable speaker, cameras, phones, necessary chargers and batteries, and any other gadgets you’re almost 100% sure you’ll use on the trip.
As most amusement parks let you bring in food and drink, you’ll want a backpack to easily carry it. If you’ll have another adult with you, you can have them carry an additional backpack with changes of clothes, baby essentials and other non-edible items.
· Baby stuff. For babes, you’ll want to run through your customized list of essentials, which will likely include items like diapers, wipes, changing pad, diaper ointment, any needed children meds, sleep sack, onesies, blanket, hat, and portable crib (if your accommodations don’t offer one)
· Car seats, or seat belt adjuster. If your children are really little, you’ll want to bring their car seats that are most travel friendly. If your kids are of booster seat age, you can save space by purchasing a seat belt adjuster that lowers the strap and adds cushioning for comfort.
· Baby carrier or stroller. As amusement parks require ample walking, you can save yourself a world of hassle by bringing along your favorite baby/kid transport options.
· Snacks and reusable water bottles.
Kids get hungry and amusement park food is almost all fried, airport food is too expensive and gas station food is gas station food. So pack some favorite healthy snacks that are easily transportable. In addition, keep everyone hydrated with their own metal water bottles.
· Translator app or book. If you’re going to an area with a language you don’t fluently speak, it’s handy to have a translator app (if you’ll have access Wi-Fi) or the booklet equivalent. In addition, write down common terms (and their English equivalent) you'll likely see at the amusement park for quick reference.
* Click here for the printable list.