Travelling with kids: what to bring, what to leave behind
Packing up the kids for a road trip to New Hampshire or boarding a plane to Europe? Learn the essential packing tips to lighten up your load with the kids.
Packing tips for travel with kids
When I was young, my parents would have never dreamed of hauling 3 kids on a flight and flying to Italy. It was just out of the question, we were too much of a handful. So we packed up the station wagon and hit the road to New Hampshire for a few nights with nearly every belonging we owned spilling out of the trunk of our car. How unnecessary, I thought! As I started to get older and have kids of my own, I realized just how insane that was. So here’s some tips for light packing when it comes to kids and vaca:
Two pairs of shoes, max three. Even for little girls who want to be miniature fashion plates, don’t bog yourself down with a million pairs of shoes, you'll be kicking yourself later. When doing the show packing, which ones make the cut, also consider your holiday, where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing. If you’re off to a tropical location, bring flip flops and one pair of shoes to go with all their outfits. If you’ve got an active or city vacation planned, you may want to throw a pair of sneakers into the mix.
Two swimsuits if you’re off to a tropical location. You can even get away with one, but if you’re away for a while and the beach, pool or water park are on your agenda for a majority of the trip, you'll want to use the backup while you’re washing and drying the other. Consider that if this is a beach holiday, your kids will be in their swimsuits most of the time, so don't go crazy with a million different outfits, better to spend your packing space on beach cover-ups.
Sunglasses may seem like a silly and frivolous thing, especially for small children, but this is more than a “cute” fashion statement. This is in fact just as important as packing the sunblock. Many people tend to shirk the kid sunglasses because they don’t see the need, but they’re small, pack well and at times better than a hat, and keep your kids’ eyes protected.
To save room in your children’s luggage, make sure you utilize every space you have. Call upon your expert packing skills and remember to roll all articles of clothing as doing so will give you more room than you think. Don’t forget the nooks and crannies: stuff socks, underwear or small bottles into shoes to free up some much needed space.
When it comes to toiletries, try to bring one shampoo, conditioner and sunscreen for everyone in the family to use. If you’re really not picky, remember that most hotels carry these, so avoid taking up extra weight and space in your suitcase by bringing yours from home. If you use particular brands, especially for your children, remember to opt for the travel size, as most brands come in these easy-travel bottles. And whatever you forget at home can surely be bought at a store in your destination.
Don’t make the mistake of travelling with your whole toy chest either. As much as your children may beg and plead, you’re taking them on vacation. That right there, is the fun, their ten favorite toys will not be needed. If you’re travelling to your destination by plane, you’ll be limited anyways, but don’t give in just because you’re travelling by car and have the space. Then you'll just end up lugging the toys all over the beach and amusement parks when you arrive. Depending on the age of your children and their attention span, pack something compact and interactive that will keep them quiet during travel: an IPad or portable DVD player for a little entertainment in between.
When packing your suitcases for vacation with the family, simple is best. Most people end up arriving and figuring out they don’t need half of what they took with them. Avoid this on your next family holiday and know that forgetting a pair of shorts or a tube of toothpaste is never a crisis situation.
Happy packing and happy travels!