One of the most difficult parts of traveling, especially with kids, is packing! Knowing what to bring and what to take with you can be nerve wrecking, and the thought of forgetting something could cause anxiety in even the calmest person. Here are some tips on how to lighten the load.
I know, I know. Nobody wants to do laundry on vacation. You’re on vacation! But you can really cut down on how much you have to pack, and how much you stress about packing, if you have access to laundry. When choosing a place to stay, factor laundry into the equation. You can literally cut down on the clothes you bring by half or more if you can do laundry during your trip. If you can do laundry at the end of your trip, you will go home with clean clothes and minimal laundry to do, making unpacking much easier. Having laundry also helps when kids make messes and spill food, drink, toothpaste, and any of the other 5 million things that kids can get into. A pro level tip is to bring half of a laundry soap bar. This allows you to spot clean (or full clean) clothes and messes in the sink if need be. I like the bar soap as opposed to liquid because it is easier to get through security, it is lighter, and it lasts longer for more extensive trips.
Bring Only What You Need
This may sound like common sense, but nope! People bring all kinds of things that they never need or use, and cutting down to the essentials is harder that it sounds. Consider your itinerary, and be realistic about what you are going to do. Are you really going to work out on your vacation? If not, don’t bring the workout clothes and shoes. Not going to a fancy dinner? Skip the dress and heels. Being realistic about what fabrics you bring as well. There are some places that you cannot iron clothes. If you are staying at a place without an iron or does not allow an iron such as a cruise, don’t bring a dress that wrinkles easily. If you are going to a cold weather climate, pack layers. You can reuse some of them, and not have to pack as much.
This one took me a while to master, but coordinating outfits so that you only need minimal accessories. For example, pack outfits that go with with black or brown/nude shoes, but not both. Choose looks that pair best with silver or gold jewelry, but skip both. For young girls, try to limit the number of hair bows you bring by picking outfits in the same color palette. An ounce of prevention is literally worth pounds of cure.
Bring Travel Size Everything
It may not seem like a big deal, but get travel everything. Small toiletries such as shampoo, body wash, mouthwash, and toothpaste, etc. can really cut down on space and weight in your luggage. It also makes it a lot easier to put it in your carry on if need be and get through security. A pro level tip is looking into your favorite skin care brand and see if they sell travel kits or travel sizes of the products that you use. My skin care company just started making travel sized products last month, and I am SO excited! Also look for travel sizes in other staples such as makeup brushes and razors. There are even travel size first aid kits (PS – bringing bandaids is a really good idea). Take all of these travel essentials and put them in a hanging toiletry bag. This makes both moving from location to location and managing your toiletries in small spaces easier.
Pack Your Carry On Well
This may be the most important packing tip of all. There are lots of situations where you will not have access to your checked luggage (missed/canceled/delayed flight, lost luggage). When going through security, remember to pack all liquids 3.4 oz and below in a clear, quart size plastic bag, and pack it near the top of your bag so you can easily access it at security. A new regulation that started in October of 2017 is that all electronics that are larger than a phone need to be removed and put through the X-ray machine separately. We were not prepared for this on our last trip, were thrown out of our routine and we ended up leaving Lucy’s iPad at security on accident. Thankfully, we were able to pick it up on the return trip. (see our live blog for more details on this particular mishap). Below is a list of things to absolutely pack in your carry on if at all possible
- cell phone charger and phone
- essential medications
- extra set of clothes for kids
- water bottles for children (make sure they are empty when going through security).
- extra diapers/pullups
- toothbrush and toothpaste (for long haul flights)
- wallet and IDs/passport (obvious, I know)
- entertainment (iPad, coloring book, stickers, etc)
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