Sometimes when I am in the airport and spot fellow families, I am baffled by the amount of luggage that is literally being lugged around. The first rule to packing when traveling with your tribe, go light & figure out how to do laundry while your there (if it’s a longer trip). Pick out your favorites then cut them in half, and then get rid of some more.This travel tip is definitely geared to the mommies, since most men simplify their packings already. If it’s not some exotic beach destination, then as far as I’m concerned, all you need is a pair of fantastic jeans, a bathing suit, a very versatile jacket & dress, a comfy pair of shoes that you can imagine wearing the entire time & some flip flops, some tops, and then whatever room you have left over…go for it. Our rule is one big suitcase to share for one adult & one kid. So for our family we are at 2 big suitcases. Do your self a favor and get some of those newer suitcase models that have 4 rollers on one side that even one of your kids can easily push. They have become super affordable. Then we each have one travel bag or backpack. I sometimes pack my empty purse in my suitcase for the actual destination, and use my backpack for the transits. As far as the kids are concerned, they really don’t need much. Don’t pack their entire toy box. Just pick a few favorites and some key books for bedtime. When out exploring the world, they won’t have time to play with them and they won’t be missed. Besides it will leave a little room for the little mementos that they will find along the way.
As far as all the other kid paraphernalia, if you have children age 4 and under, and if you are planning to walk all through towns or cities, go ahead and bring a small, easy to carry and fold up stroller. I won’t tell you how many times we had decided to not bring one and then used up half a day there hunting one down to buy. As well, I always travel with my favorite carrier since my kids prefer to be held. My favorite these days is the very comfortable ergo baby carrier. I love it!
If you will be renting a car, after years of lugging the car seat across the world (or rather my poor husband…he has been tagged the family mule), it is worth the $10- $15 dollars a day to rent one. The only way I would consider bringing one again would be if we were going to one destination and would be staying for a month with a car rental the entire time.
Last I will mention the extras (diapers, food items, etc.). I imagine this to be the trickiest one that can really mess up your packing. For me, I do squeeze in my favorite, organic diapers & wipes, and some super healthy snack bars for when we are on the road. Every country that I have brought my children, there has been diapers, this is just a personal preference. Sometimes it can be tricky to find a healthy, quick snack for my kids, so they come in handy. I find that if they are young enough to wear diapers, their clothes are pretty small and really don’t take up much space.
It definitely takes some practice to get the packing right, but it is well worth it when you do.