I love to travel with my girls (now 6 & 10). I think that travel is educational and opens their beautiful minds as we experience new things. I can’t say that I love the packing as much. I find it VERY easy to over-pack for them and have become better each time we travel. Here is a list of tips to help you pack like a pro on your next trip.
Know your Baggage Allowance
If you’re going to fly, check in advance so you know how much you are ‘allowed’ before the crazy prices kick in. Find out the weight, dimension and regulations for checked and carry-on luggage. If you will need things like car seats, strollers, etc, check in advance to see what is allowed. Finding out about a surprise fee at the airport that you could have found out earlier will just annoy you.
Store important items in a day pack
Put everything that matters to your day in a light daypack. Items such as paperwork (passports, tickets and a printed itinerary with hotel and transport details with reservation numbers), wallet, cell phone and charger, sunglasses, prescription medication, band aids, adapter and maybe some snacks. What you include will depend on what you are packing for…if it’s a cruise you will want to add your bathing suit, if it’s a red eye or international flight then sleep masks or stuffys for the kids could be important.
Use Packing Cubes to organize your stuff
Oh this is big! Ever open your suitcase to grab a top or pair of socks and you end up rifling through everything before you find what you need? These amazing cubes will be your best friend! Label your cubes so each child has one for ‘bottoms’, ‘tops’, ‘socks’, etc. Bring an EXTRA cube to put the dirty laundry in. No one likes to mix clean and dirty in the same bag. Eww.
Lay it out before it goes in your checked luggage
For all the things you won’t need until you’re at your final destination, pack it in the checked luggage. This is where the over-packing can happen!! My best advice – lay out each day with what you will need. Use a critical eye to take out things that can be left behind. Maybe you will have the opportunity to have some laundry done for your while away. Or maybe you have some great light clothing that can be hand washed and re-worn.
And finally… let your kids help pack
I like to have my girls help me pack. It doesn’t make the process easier, BUT it builds excitement and helps them know what they have with them. If they help pack clothes for a special dinner or their favourite bathing suits for the beach/pool, it will help them feel included in the family vacation process. It IS easier to just do it yourself, but this can be fun to do together. We talk about what we are doing each day and what kinds of outfits are best to choose.
They also pack their own carry on. They choose activity books, books to read or travel games to take that will help pass the time. They know what they like to do! You can always sneak in a little surprise for them before you go.
Packing – it CAN be done easily with some planning and I hope this helped.
Do you have any travel tips? Share them with me and I’ll add them to the list!