As a self-proclaimed overpacker, I’m always looking for advice. On our last four-day getaway to visit family down south, I had to combine my clothes and those of my daughters into one suitcase. It seemed like a difficult task, but it turns out that it’s not impossible to pack lightly.
Here are some tips on “How to pack light for a trip with children”.
1 Make a packing list a few days before the trip. I always leave myself time to add or cross out elements. Stick to your list!
2 Check if there is a washer/dryer where you are going – if there is an opportunity to wash my clothes, I always pack less. If there is no washer/dryer, you can hand wash swimsuits, underwear, socks and small items.
3 Arrange the clothes you are going to pack in organized piles. I pack a full outfit a day, pajamas for every other night, and a backup outfit for messes.
4 Remember that denim can be worn 2-3 times while traveling (shorts or pants) and sweatshirts/sweaters are worn as much as needed. Swimsuits are hand washed in the sink and air dried, so I only pack one every other day.
5 I always use PACKING CUBES, especially for my daughters’ clothes. Each cube is organized by outfits, underwear and pajamas, then swimsuits and/or layering pieces. Don’t have packing cubes? Extra large Ziploc bags work just as well!
1 Travel Outfit – I incorporate layered pieces into our travel outfit to save space in our suitcase. A denim jacket, sweatshirt or cardigan is also practical when it’s cold in the car or on the plane!
The set of 2 must have not only in cases. I’ve learned over the years that I can buy emergency items (umbrella, sweatshirt, etc.) if needed and reuse them around the house. I like to collect souvenir sweatshirts.
3 If we are traveling somewhere cold, I pack several light layers instead of bulky sweaters/jackets.
Set of 4 multifunctional items – for example, a plain black long dress can be worn in many ways. Choose 1-2 pairs of shoes that go with all of your outfits.
5 Weigh your suitcase at home. If you can’t, make sure there’s room in your hand luggage for additional items. There’s nothing worse than finding out your bag is overweight and you have nowhere to put heavier items.
One of the lists I rarely deviate from is my toiletries packing list. Even though some hotels provide toiletries, I always bring the same products for me and my family’s sensitive skin! Here is a list of toiletries for a family with children:
1 toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss
2 hair brushes and hair ties – hair spray and curling wand
3 Travel size shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, body lotion and face wash
4 First aid: bandages, Motrin for children, Tylenol for adults, allergy medications
5 skincare products (I have smaller versions of my favorite eye creams, serums and moisturizers)
6 Sunscreen, aloe after-sun, travel size baby powder (if you’re going to the beach)
7 Shaving/contact products Solution
8 Hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes
When I started traveling after having kids, I always ended up spending a lot of money at the grocery store or the corner gift shop for a forgotten item. Now I keep a toiletry bag full of essentials and add specialty items before I leave.
Caitlin Houston is a Wallingford blogger and mom of three who loves to share all of her favorites on the Caitlin Houston Blog. Discover fun activities at home, family trips, easy recipes and more.