Traveling With The Kids: Expert Packing Advice
Are you headed to Grandma’s house with the kids next week? Somewhere else on a plane or hitting the road? We asked Shari Stamps, founder of the blog Savvy Everyday, to share some simple tips with us on holiday packing for more than one!
1. Start as Early as Possible. Easier said then done, I know! I put most of what my daughter and I may need in the suitcase ahead of time, then add more as I get laundry done. I always do a final look through, so I can add missing items or take extras out.
2. Pack Some Extra Items. If we’ll be gone for 3-4 days, I pack enough for 5-6. I like to prepare us for potential rain drops or chillier temps, and both my daughter and I are prone to spilling food on ourselves! Fortunately, toddler clothes are pretty compact, and even though she’s going to bring her own assortment of hair accessories and shoes, traveling with her now is a lot easier than when she was still in diapers and needed her own suitcase.
3. I Get Half a Suitcase, She Gets Half a Suitcase. Then at the end of the trip, the two sides turn into the leftover clean clothes side and the dirty clothes side (I put these in a large washable bag inside the suitcase). I could give myself more room and pack her clothes in her own little suitcase, but getting it all in one piece of luggage makes things a lot easier when I’m bringing along a stroller, car seat, and carry on.
4. Packing a Stroller. Some people ditch the stroller, or opt for an umbroller on trips. Since my daughter is 3, I like to bring a regular stroller so I can throw the car seat on top, and my bags underneath while running through the airport (or put my daughter in it if she keeps running off).
5. A Few Items Worth Including: Plastic bags for toiletries that may spill or leak during flight, backup medicine, extra clothes (socks, underwear, outfit), washable bag for dirty clothes, backup shoes, hand sanitizer/wipes.
Packing The Carry On For Two!
I usually bring a super big bag filled with activities to entertain the little one. However, I’ve boarded before and realized I didn’t bring anything for myself! I like to bring my laptop, and limit the number of small toys to just a few (unless someone else is with us and I have another carry on for just her). Instead, I bring books, movies, 1-2 activities for her to do, and let her choose a doll or stuffed toy for the trip.
My Carry-On Check List:
- Laptop and charger (for in-flight movies, and because I worry it would get smashed in my luggage)
- Camera bag (fits inside oversized bag)
- Paperback kiddo books (I bring lightweight, thin books that fit better in the bag with all my stuff and don’t break my back)
- iPhone, charged and loaded with a few movies
- iPhone charger (because I’ve had to ask a stranger for theirs before in order to coordinate a ride home)
- An extra outfit for the kiddo
- A toothbrush and mini toothpaste for me and the kiddo
- Snacks galore! I bring a little lunch bag with sliced fruit and veggies, and some animal cookies.
- Money, ID for me and the little, Target card (you just never know)
- Small activity (counting cards, coloring books, wiki sticks)
- Small toy or doll
- Blanket, lightweight if you’re headed to a warm destination (she can use for her baby, or I can use for her)
What are some of your family packing tips? Let us know in the comments!
About Shari Stamps
Shari Stamps is a writer, editor and photographer mom who founded the blog Savvy Every Day where she shares tips on pregnancy, being a parent, fantastic products and family destinations, as well as nonprofit organizations that all families should know about. Shari lives with her husband and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area.