Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Packing w/ Littles

We are certainly not traveling experts, but we do travel quite a bit via car and airplane. As the holidays approach I thought it might be helpful to explain how we pack 2 weeks worth of clothes for 5 people in 1 suitcase (and keep it under 50 pounds). With the added baggage costs of flying we try to keep our luggage to a minimum. Hopefully this will help you during your holiday travels.

Less is more…pack lightly
I realize this sounds like an oxymoron when you have an infant or a toddler, but it is possible. Just pack the essentials. Ask yourself if you will use it everyday…if not, it's probably not necessary.

Buy disposable items when you reach your destination
Don't pack 100 diapers or baby food for a week. Most likely you'll be within driving distance of a grocery store or Wal-Mart. Just buy them when you get there.

Be strategic
Think through your packing list. I think through what we will be doing each day and pick outfits accordingly. I also try very hard to only pack 1 pair of shoes for each child (i.e. the pair they will wear) This is especially difficult in the winter when shoes are a bit bulkier, but still doable. This way we don't have shoes filling up prime real estate in the suitcase.

Roll your clothes
I always roll the kids clothes especially since they are small and fit nicely on the bottom of the suitcase in the little crevices between the bars. It's a great way to fill that space.

Do laundry
When we are traveling for 2 weeks I typically pack 4 or 5 outfits + 1 dress outfit for each person. We are typically staying with family so I'm easily able to do a few loads of laundry.

Carry a backpack
Traveling with 3 kids 5 and under can be chaos, so the less stuff we have the better. We check our big bag and car seats. Then we each carry a backpack, no little roller bags. Each child fills their bag with toys/books/electronics for the trip and they carry their own bag. Then they are responsible for their things and the adults only have to wrangle the children…not the children and all the bags ;) My backpack is typically filled with snacks and electronics (as we try to control the consumption of both) and diaper bag essentials.

This is Nora's bag she packed for herself when she stayed with friends…pretty good for a 4 year old

A couple of other things to remember when flying with littles (especially when flying solo):
  • Less is best
  • Have them carry their own items
  • Check everything you can
  • Bring snacks…lots of snacks
  • Have a stroller or carrier, even if your kids are very mobile its nice to have a stroller to stash items when you don't want to carry them
  • Don't forget the pacifiers (for the little ones) and gum (for the big ones)
  • Bring wipes…lots of wipes
  • Don't carry on any liquids, then you don't have to mess with the clear bag and such
  • Come armed with lots of patience and grace

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