Everyone knows that it’s important to pack light for travel. Never is this truer than when traveling with kids. However, even when you pack light, it’s important to pack efficiently. Imagine having to take out piles of clothing to discover something you need urgently like diapers. Inefficient packing can push your stress up to manic proportions, especially when you have to also manage toddlers, baby strollers and rambunctious older kids at the same time! Here are 25 packing tips for travel with toddlers to make sure everything goes smoothly on your family vacation. Have just what you need, where you need it.
Packing Tips for Travel With Toddlers:
Before You Pack For Your Trip With Children
1. Define your packing needs, based on your trip’s nature. Consider the activities you plan for your kids on the trip and pack things accordingly. What are you planning to do? Will there be any outdoor adventures?
2. Evaluate the weather conditions at your destination. You can get fairly accurate general weather forecasts 10 days in advance from most weather sites.
3. Check for luggage limitations, especially limitations on hand luggage. Luggage limitations can differ based on service class and destination as well, so be sure to check thoroughly.
4. Be sure to buy the right luggage, based on your trip needs. Invest in carryon luggage that can double as backpacks; your kids can carry these easily. Smooth-wheeled luggage can be pulled even by small children. Buy bags that have multiple pockets for easy storage. Consider baby carriers that have pockets to store handy items so that you can free up your hands.
5. Make a master list of everything you think you need and then work on slimming your list down.
6. If your older children wish to pack their own bags, specify what and how much they can pack. And then check and make sure they followed directions.
Family Vacation Packing Tips
How To Pack Clothes Efficiently For Travel With Kids
7. Pack only those clothes that can be easily washed; hotel laundry bills can be expensive.
8. When it comes to clothing, the lower the maintenance, the better. Think wrinkle free pants, tops and jackets.
9. Pack clothes that can be mixed and matched. This way, you don’t have to worry about putting an outfit together.
10. Choose colors that blend well together; basics such as pants in dark colors and tops in dark or light colors should do fine.
11. If you’re packing for cold weather, carry light weight knitted sweaters and pull-ons instead of bulky jackets for your kids. Layer these lightweight items one over the other; layering is more effective against the cold, since warmth is trapped in between layers.
How To Pack Other Items Efficiently For Travel with Toddlers
12. Allow one small toy, a game and a book for each kid to put into their backpacks. You can always pick up some cheap puzzle games or comics during your trip. By making the kids carry their own toys, you can prevent the hassle of looking for their things in the main luggage.
13. You’ll need other things such as car seats, baby cribs and so on. If you’re driving a rented car, rent the car seat as well. Ask your hotel to provide foldable baby cribs and strollers; don’t invest money on this. Most hotels allow you to borrow or rent sports equipment, music CDs and DVDs for your older kids. That takes care of their needs.
How To Get The Most Of Your Suitcase
14. Use travel compressors to remove excess air from bulky pieces of clothing. This helps you save on precious space.
15. Create separate bags of toiletries for each kid instead of carrying one bag in your master suitcase. The individual toiletries bag should contain a toothbrush, paste, soap, shampoo and antibacterial handwash. Put the bags in the kids’ backpacks.
16. Place the items you’ll need first on top. If you will need to access lightweight coverings like jackets, shawls or mitts during your travel, these should go on top of everything else in your case.
17. Remember that stockings and socks can be rolled and stuffed into shoes. Not only will this save space in your luggage, but you can match socks with shoes for easy access.
18. Roll clothes such as t-shirts, casual pajamas, underwear and anything made of soft flexible cloth. Stuff these rolls into corners and in the middle of your case where gaps form between piles of clothing.
Things To Keep In Your Personal Carry-on Luggage And Clothing
When you travel with toddlers, you need to keep several things handy, within your immediate sphere of control. I would use a diaper bag as my personal item with convenient sections and plenty of outer pockets. If you pack it well, this piece of luggage will save your sanity when you travel with kids time and again. I would also use a lightweight travel bag with smooth-wheeling action as my carryon luggage.
19. If you have tiny tots, keep a couple of spare diapers in a side pocket; this is in case you are not able to get to your baby bag quickly.
20. Keep wet tissues and anti-bacterial swipes in the side pocket of your carryon luggage.
21. Keep at least one toilet roll in an outer pocket; this’ll come in handy if kids spill drinks or mess up airline seats.
22. A spare, easy to wash and dry t-shirt, underwear and pants for you, in case a kid throws up on you during the flight.
23. A pair of colorful, flexible, plastic slippers to change into in case your footwear gets messed up due to spilled jello, food, vomit and so on.
24. Emergency medical care, first aid, cough syrup and your kids’ prescription medications, if any, inside the carry-on.
25. Wear comfortable cargo pants with large, multiple pockets when you travel. Place a few wet tissues and anti-bacterial wipes in the lower pocket of your right leg. Put a few pieces of blotting paper in your left pants pocket, to quickly absorb spilled water, juices and other fluids.
These packing tips for travel with toddlers should help you avoid those miserable situations of knowing you have those extra diapers somewhere in your luggage but not knowing if they are accessible. Which of these family vacation packing tips do you think will be most useful to you?