Take a vacation toy inventory

Smart travel planning, from Duane:

Going on vacation?  If the kids are planning to bring more than 1-2 toys, then set up a space for them to "pack" their toys just like you pack your clothes and supplies (even if it's just a particular pile of toys on the floor).  Then, take toy inventory and make a list of all the toys they put in the pile.  After a few days in a strange hotel (or house) playing with them, the small toys tend to end up everywhere.  When it's time to go home, rather than uttering "Now, are you SURE you've got all your toys?" 57 times, you can go through the list and make sure everything's accounted for.

Do you have a trick for keeping track of toys while on vacation?

Related: How to make sure nothing gets left behind after vacation stays


  1. Sarah S. Chicken says

    In the car we have car toys, like coloring books, etch a sketch, etc. They stay in the car.

    If I let them bring any toys to play with, I limit it to just about 5. One stuffed animal, and then 4 other very special medium-sized things. I try not to pack things with little pieces, and I try not to let them bring anything at all. Usually on vacation there’s so much to do we don’t have a lot of time for toys anyway.

  2. MomVee says

    Don’t bring ‘em! When we’re on vacation, we’re all together, doing stuff, collapsing into bed at the same time, playing with sticks, watching hotel TV…for years I packed toys and read-along books. Then I stopped. Maybe a lovey, pick up some happy meal toys along the way. So far, so good.

  3. Ticia says

    As an idea for the list for pre-readers, make it a visual list with pictures of each item you brought, so they can check it off.

  4. Sandy says

    We have 2 little lunch boxes. One for the car, one for any trips. The one in the car, stays there; nothing gets out and it is a “Car Safe Box”. The 1 for trips is hidden up in the laundry room with small favorites like those from the Kid’s Meal or Dollar Tree stores, with a notepad and crayons picked up from restaurants. This switches out with the “Car Safe Box” and has room for a couple more and room to lose or give away a couple. The lunch boxes in plastic or metal have worked great and not needed replacement.

  5. Debbie says

    We take a digital picture of the toys before we pack them. It’s less work than making a list, and we always have the camera with us on vacation anyway.

    Since we have the camera out, we’ll often take a couple pictures of home as well (the kids rooms, the front of the house, the rooms where they spend a lot of time). The kids tend to revisit these pictures a lot during trips.