Costa Rica: The Packing List

I am a total nut for packing lists.  I love to make the list and revisit it often to categorize items, add items, remove items, recategorize items, and sometimes just to gaze at it lovingly… Then, when my trip gets closer, I like to start writing down my actual outfits for each day and then double check them against the weather forecast once the 10-day is applicable.  Oh yes, I do love my packing lists!

As I mentioned in the last post, traveling with kids is not what I am used to, so when I was making my packing list for our family trip to Costa Rica, my list got a little extra crazy.  There I was making the list, adding to it, removing from it, and recategorizing it.   And as I browsed “travel with kids” on Pinterest, I found I had to add at least 800 more genius things I never would have thought of!  Then time to add/revise/categorize again.  Until my next Pinterest search for “flying with preschoolers” when I had to add another load of items to the list!

As I went through this process, I found my mega-list to be kind of fun and exciting, but I had to wonder how the luggage valet (aka husband) would take it!  😉


Packing List for 6 Days in Costa Rica: 


  • prescriptions
  • cash & documents/paperwork (passports & photocopies, itineraries, maps, confirmations
  • electronics: iPads, phones, chargers, headphones, splitter, kindles
  • keeping clean: clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, individual Wet Ones…
  • Getting comfortable: pillow, eye mask, ear plugs, melatonin(!!)
  • hygiene: gum, toothbrushes/toothpaste, fluoride-free toothpaste, extra clothes for each kid (and parents too!)
  • small first aid bag (bandaids, ibuprofen, children’s ibuprofen, thermometer, vitamins, pepto, children’s Benadryl, inhaler, etc.)…  
  • adult snacks: trail mix, jerky, candy
  • kids’ snacks: cheese crackers, fruit snacks, granola bars, trail mix, pouches, grahams, string cheese, etc.
  • small diaper bag (with small kids’ sunscreen!)
  • carseat or CARES harness
  • happy quiet kid supplies:
    • 2 Kindle Fires
    • 2 sets kids headphones
    • blankies & pacifier
    • variety of toys and presents
      • small books
      • flat crayons and coloring books
      • small cars & tape to make racetrack
      • pipe cleaners and beads
      • busy wallets
      • window clings
      • homemade puppets
      • wikki stix
      • silly putty
      • buckle toy
      • muzzles
      • go fish
      • aqua doodle
      • ETC
  • happy passengers supplies
    • cheap earplugs
    • many apologies
    • a round of drinks on us! 😉

Checked Luggage:


  • socks and personals
  • lots of shorts and tee shirts
  • clothes with light sleeves & light pants (help prevent mosquito bites!)
  • sweatshirts (possible cooler evenings & higher elevations)
  • comfortable shoes with grip (for easy hikes)
  • ponchos and/or rain jackets

Beach/Pool Stuff:

  • lots of swim gear (bathing suits, coverups, flip flops)
  • beach towels
  • sun hats & sunglasses
  • kids’ life jackets & or floaties
  • light and cheap beach toys


Electronics: travel alarm, camera, phones, ipads, kindles, chargers, extra memory cards, small flashlight(?)

Toiletries: sunscreens, aloe vera, shampoo, conditioner, soap, shower puff, make-up, face cream, eye cream, etc.

First Aid Stuff: prescriptions (in carry-on), vitamins, essential oils, dramamine, vitamins, kids’ meds, tums, pepto, immodium, bandaids, neosporin, etc.

Kid Stuff: diapers, wipes, swim diapers, life vests, creams/ointments, baby tylenol & advil, spongia tosta, inhaler, baby sunscreen, natural bug spray, baby backpack/carrier, stroller, car seats, seasick band, baby shampoo & lotion, 2-3 sippy cups, etc.  *bag individual kid outfits*

Ideas for Easier/More Comfortable Travel:  

  • Getting through the airport:
      • Check-in online and use United Airlines App for boarding passes and updated info
      • TSA precheck (?)
      • choose lines to left when going through security & check-in (most people naturally go right!)
      • bring empty water bottles to fill after going through security
      • mini liquor bottles can go through security
      • frozen liquids allowed through security! (Example: freeze your drinks, freeze sponges for makeshift ice packs, etc.)
  • Getting comfortable on the long flights:
  • Other Tips and Hacks:

kids travel tips:  

**small milks/juices!  3oz or less OR buy at airport**   small blanket for each kid?  paper map & stickers to mark during travel

**put items together in “busy bags.”  Ex: pipe cleaners/strings & fruitloops/beads bagged together; crayons, post-its & paper in DVD case together, etc.

**lollipops & gum for relieving ear pressure

**practice with headphones(and any other new things) ahead of time

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