Do you love to travel with kids, prefer not to travel with kids, or find yourself somewhere in between? There are so many things to do before you go on vacation. Oftentimes the “packing” process can be quite overwhelming. It definitely does not have to be! Traveling with kids can be a lot of fun and the packing does not need to cause a headache. Here are some packing tips for traveling with kids.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
- Make a packing list ahead of time – a week before usually works well.
- Think of important items that you need to remember to pack and add these items to your packing list as you think of them (i.e. stuffies, blankets, portable DVD player, books, phone charger etc.).
- Do the laundry: it really helps to have all the clothes clean and put away, ready to be picked out and packed.
- Check the weather and think through the itinerary of your trip. This will help you with knowing what to pack.
- Along with thinking through the itinerary of trip, think through whether you will be able to do laundry or not. If you are able to do laundry on your trip, then you will not need to pack as many outfits.
DECIDE ON A PACKING SYSTEM
The system you choose depends upon the type of trip you are taking, how old your child is, and a host of other factors. You get to pick though – whichever makes the most sense to you.
- One shared bag for everyone: This approach works well with the addition of packing cubes. Each person can have their own packing cube and then all the items stay nice and organized.
- Everyone gets their own bag: This approach works especially well for older children. It’s a nice option for kids that are old enough to dress themselves and help with the packing. They are able to keep track of their items and grab any items they need by themselves.
- A shared bag for each leg of the trip: This approach works well if you have a couple different stops on your trip. Maybe you are going on a road trip and do not want to bring all your luggage into each place you stay. You can pack your bags, with everyone’s items, according to each part of your trip.
A NOTE ABOUT THE TOILETRIES BAG
If you travel more than a couple times a year, having a travel toiletries bag for kids, always packed, is a must. Include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and any other toiletries they use. Also include sunscreen, bug spray, and any first aid items such as a thermometer, children’s Tylenol/Motrin, bandaids, Aquaphor, and so forth. Slip the toiletries bag into the suitcase and you are ready to go. Be sure to keep this toiletries bag stocked and ready to go – checking inventory when you return from a trip, before putting the bag away.
TIME TO PACK
Once you have the weather and itinerary clear in your head, do the laundry. You want to have all the clothes clean, put away, and ready to pack. Have your list handy with what how many and what type of outfits you need, pjs, swimsuits, cold gear, shoes, undergarments and any other clothes, so that you can be sure to not forget something and also not overpack. If packing for babies and toddlers, you may find it easier to pack by type, as in tops, bottoms, undershirts, socks, pajamas, and so forth. For older children, it is much easier to pick out an outfit for each day. If they are at the age where they have an opinion, it is a good idea to have them help you with this first step. Have your child make an outfit pile for each day. Double check their work and make sure there is a top, bottom, undergarments, and so forth all gathered together in a pile. Then, you can have them – or help them – roll the outfit up making sure to tuck in the socks so that they do not get lost. Now the outfits, pjs, and any other cold/warm gear can be placed into the suitcase. Packing is made easy when you plan ahead.
WHAT ABOUT THE EXTRAS?
We all know that there are important extras to bring along. Stuffies, blankets, crafts, board games, toys, books, and other important items. Having one bag devoted to these works well. If you have more than one child, you may decide that this bag is a shared bag, or you may decide that each child gets their own carry-on. If your child is old enough to choose what they want to bring, this is a great opportunity for them to make decisions with the bag as the parameter for how much they can bring along. Packing can be so exciting and such great fun for kids!
A COUPLE LAST MINUTE REMINDERS
- Always remember to pack medication!
- Be picky about the time you choose to pack. Packing for your kids or with your kids can be such a better experience when you are not rushed or under a deadline.
- Don’t forget items like Q-tips and toothpaste in the toiletries bag.
- It helps kids to be more independent on a trip if they are able to go to the suitcase, grab a rollup outfit for the day – complete with everything including undergarments – and get ready for the day without your assistance. This is why we recommend packing a full outfit together – complete with socks – and rolling up all items together.
- Sound machines are always nice to have when traveling with kids, and they are small enough to fit into a suitcase.
For more – and to share any packing tips for traveling with kids – check out our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook. While it does require some planning in advance, it can be so much fun and such a great experience for your kids!