How to Pack for Vacation with Children
There comes a time each summer when offices become too stuffy, inspiration lags, and children start to grow restless.
Before the infamous “I’m so bored” phrase slips out of their mouth, take this as the perfect cue for a much-deserved break for everybody.
No matter if it is an extended trip or a quick weekend getaway, a change of pace and scenery does the family good.
While you’re likely already crafting that out-of-office reply, take a moment to look at our tips and tricks about packing for children. Because after all, you want your time away to be fun. And if you’re somebody whose palms become sweaty at even the thought of packing, keep reading, we’ve got you covered.
Start with Packing Cubes
The most commonly shared packing tip among parents is to invest in packing cubes. For each packing cube, set out an entire outfit for one day. This includes shirt, bottoms, underwear, and socks. Ideally, each child will have their own set of cubes, and color coding helps keep them separated in the long run. Simply pull out a cube for each child in the morning and the whole day’s ensemble is within reach. That's a win for mom and dad!
Include the Children in the Packing Process
If it were entirely up to our children, they would pack every toy, gadget, and blanket that ever came into contact with their tiny hands. Avoid backaches and excess baggage fees by letting them pick out one favorite toy or one favorite cuddly item. Also allow them to choose a favorite article of clothing to be packed, whether it is a t-shirt, shoes, or headband. Not only will they feel part of the process, but sometimes something as simple as a familiar sparkly headband can bring comfort in a land that may be foreign to them.
Opt for Two Swimsuits
If you are heading somewhere warm, pack two sets of swimwear. The little ones will live in them, so it is nice to have a backup suit drying while the other one is busy being worn splashing in the pool or discovering sea urchins.
Plan to Wash
We know, we know. Who wants to do laundry on vacation? But consider a family of four that is traveling for seven days. Do you really want to carry around the weight of 28 different outfits? Save your back and pare down. If you are traveling for a week, consider only packing three outfits each with the intention of wearing garments more than once or throwing a pile into the laundry. From a practical standpoint, you may need hands available for carrying sleepy children, especially if they are still young – which will be hard to do if you are carrying extra luggage, too. Plus, it is a great example to set for older kids – aim to see and experience the world, not carry it on your back.
The Unavoidable Bulk Items
There are some things you cannot do without, like strollers, car seats, or Pack-n-Plays.
Luckily, there are a few options available to surmount this hurdle. When flying, all children’s bulk items can be checked at the gate, free of charge! Use a wrap to carry your baby at the airport and then gate check the stroller. You can use the stroller to carry luggage in the meantime.
There is also the option to rent equipment from the city you are traveling to. Google your city + baby gear rental to at least weigh out your options. Some car rental agencies will also rent car seats at a low cost and hotels may have cots or Pack-n-Plays available. A little research beforehand will go a long way!
Snacks. Always Pack Snacks
Create a portable snack pack for those long car rides and to prevent minor breakdowns in meandering lines at the airport. Added bonus – they keep adults happy too!
Also, be sure to pack enough diapers and baby food for 2 days then aim to buy the rest at your destination. It can be tempting to bring along more, but the weight of jars adds up quickly!
Wherever your travels take you, may your bags be light, the meltdowns be few, and we hope you get the chance to see the world from a different perspective – that of the free-spirited and footloose little person that you call your own.
Is there anything we missed? What is your top travel tip? We’d love to hear!