Travel is stressful enough with small children and after many, many trips I finally figured out ways to make packing easier. Kids come with a lot of stuff, but you really don’t need it all when away from home. We typically pack in one or two larger checked bags, depending the length of our trip. I do everything I can to pack lightly and limit our luggage.
Be sure to check out Part 1: My Airport and Airplane Tips with Babies and Toddlers
- Send diapers to your destination (or buy them when you get there). I opt for sending because I don’t want to get there and immediately have to run to the store. I just Amazon Prime them to where we’re going. I
- If you can’t send diapers (staying in a hotel or Airbnb, etc) pack them in your car seat bag. There are loads of extra space in that bag and that way they won’t take up luggage space
- If you do have to put them in your luggage take them out of the package and shove them wherever they’ll fit in the suitcase
- Car Seat bag – shove anything bulky in there. Diapers, folding booster chair, etc.
- Pack n Play – we love our mini one, but it really only works until they’re about 1-year-old. Then we use the Bjorn one which is incredibly light and has a thicker mattress. Pack any extra sheets in the pack n play bag (or in the car seat bag. I love the car seat bag).
- Do laundry if available! Pack half of what you need and do laundry during your trip. This only applies for longer trips – for me that’s 4 days or more. Anything less I bring exactly what we’ll need. And I always do a load of laundry the night before leaving so we don’t come home with dirty laundry
- Pack clothes/outfits for kids that are all mix and match. Basically everything matches everything.
- Fold outfits together so you can easily grab one when living out of a suitcase
- Bring a thermometer!
- If you’re staying somewhere without kid stuff bring a bib, kit plate or bowl and silverware (for younger tots). Louie is fine using regular stuff now.
- Create and save a packing list. I learned this after about our 15th flight with Louie. A week before every trip I’d start a packing list. It was the exact same every time so I finally typed it up and saved it. I’ve since added a section for Vinny and now when we travel I just pull it up and my packing time is cut in half!
I grossly over packed our carry on bag on the first flight with Louie. So I’ve scaled that back quite a bit. We usually bring two backpacks so we can be hands free for carting kids and other luggage.
- One backpack is just kid stuff, one is just mom and dad stuff. Though this has kind of changed since Louie is older now and we don’t bring any thing for us to do in flight because we’re “actively managing” a toddler as Al would say haha. He now has a backpack for all his stuff (diapers, outfit change, toys, snacks, etc.) and we have a back pack with all Vinny’s stuff and our laptops if we’re bringing them. One of the backpacks doubles as a diaper bag at our destination
- We pack: a change of clothes, 1 diaper for every 3 hours of travel from the time we leave our house until the time we arrive at more diapers, 1 pack of wipes, toys/books (see my Part 1 post), disposable diaper pad, kids motrin or other meds (Louie used to need an EpiPen, etc.), sanitizer, mini first aid kit
- We always pack a small lunch box with loads of snacks, food and a water bottle. If it’s during a meal I’ll pack a full meal for him in his lunch box. Doubles as food and a time waster on a long flight.
- I highly recommend a backpack diaper bag for travel. One that stands on its own and stays open. We have both of these: Moskka Travel Bag & Lole Lily Backpack Tote. I like things to be multipurpose so the Lole bag doubles as a work travel bag for me as well and the Moskka one is our regularly used diaper bag
What am I missing? Anything else to add to this list guys?!
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