Do you feel overwhelmed when you are planning a trip with your kids?
Is this your first getaway with your kid (s) and you don’t know where to start with packing?
Do you wish you could travel lighter with kids?
Traveling with kids can be fun, stressful and everything in between. While I would not call myself an expert, my family has had many opportunities to travel with our daughter. Some trips were long, some were short, some we stayed in hotels, and others in airbnb. I remember packing for our first trip. My packing list for Sky was so long that I felt overwhelmed just looking at it. It felt like I needed to bring her entire closet, toy collection, feeding and sleeping gear.
However, after our first couple of trips, I realized Less is More when it comes to packing kids suitcase.
Ok, here I am breaking down a few categories that we typically pack and what / how much we bring.
Clothes – Instead of bringing the entire wardrobe, we bring clothes that can be easily mixed and matched, and layered. Clothes that are breathable (kids need to be comfortable while exploring the world), dry quickly and can be washed while on a trip. Typically I pack enough for 3-4 days. If a trip is longer, I add an extra 1-2 days. If I know the weather can be warm and cold, then I start with a few light options and add a few layering options like tops, cardigans, or a jacket.
Stain solution – Stains on trips are inevitable. We bring a stain solution bar that has been a go-to for all our trips. Instead of packing too many outfits, I wash Sky’s clothes and remove the stains in a sink when needed. It does not take much time, but it does save a ton of space in a suitcase.
Toiletries for kids - We bring a gentle bar soap; diaper cream if needed, body lotion, and sunscreen.
Stroller is one of the things we invested in as we knew we would be using it frequently. Bringing a travel stroller is great for trips with public transit and/or go up and down the stairs a lot. Another option is to opt for a carrier and avoid strollers altogether. Although we still prefer to have a stroller for now.
Car seat - When we travel to a place where a car seat is a must, we often get a car seat with a rental car company.
Another option to explore for travel gear are rental companies such as Baby’s Away, Rents4Baby.com and others. We have not tried these yet personally but I have heard great feedback about renting strollers, cribs etc. while traveling.
Sleeping gear - Most airbnb and hotels offer a crib or pack and play for kids. In Europe, we found that most hosts are very attentive to families traveling with young kids. For instance, everytime we arrive at our airbnb in Portugal, our crib is set up with fresh sheets, and a blanket. I only bring pjs and a sleep sack.
Toys – I used to think that bringing lots of different toys is a must to keep our daughter occupied. But we quickly realized when kids are in a new place, everything becomes a toy - stickers, restaurant menus, coffee creamers, shoe stores, you name it. So we now only bring Sky’s favourite stuffed animal and crayons for the airplane (although most airlines now offer crayons for kids).
While on a trip we sometimes buy a little toy or something special at local markets. This is also a nice way to support local makers.
Order products to airbnb / hotel in advance - This is especially convenient in North America. On one of our recent trips, we ordered products such as diapers, formula, wipes to our airbnb. Everything arrived on the same day we got there. It saved tons of space in our suitcase and time.
Research local kids shops/ supermarkets in advance - This has been so helpful. When we land in a new city/country we don’t have to worry about looking for kids' shops or nearby supermarkets.
A few reusable items that don’t take up much space
Collapsible water bottle for kids.
Tote bag - Always have one on us and keep it under the stroller with Sky’s snacks, clothes, etc.
Light blanket - Great to use while out and about with a stroller. We use it as a cover for when Sky is napping, for picnic, etc…
A few products that you might be interested to explore
Joolz Aer - For kids starting at 6 months +. This is one of the best travel strollers. It is also our favourite city stroller in the summer. Light, folds with one hand, goes into the overhead compartment on the airplane, and is perfect for naps on the go.
Donna Stroller - It’s a car seat that becomes a stroller. Great option if you need to bring both a car seat and a stroller while traveling with a newborn.
Pico Portable Car Seat by WayB - A great and lighter version of a car seat for kids 2+ years old. It is foldable and compact.
Stain Bar Remover by Laundress - Our go to stain bar on-the-go