Packing Tips for a Trip with Little Kids:
Does your brain go into stress overload when it’s time to pack to go out-of-town? There’s a good reason for that! Think of all the items in your house you use over a few days… Now try to pack them all into a couple of duffle-bags (or more!), without overdoing it. Add a few other humans you’re responsible for, and yeah – it’s stressful! Plus, if you forget something for one of those tiny humans, they will likely cry- a lot. We can’t just NOT travel for the next ten years, It’s usually worth the effort. So what do you do to make it easier? Here are five packing tips I use to cut the time and stress of packing by about 50% :
1. First, I created a list of all the items we usually need to travel somewhere.
I laminated the list, and I keep it on a clipboard. I use a dry-erase marker to check things off as I pack! Once an item is checked off, then it’s off of my brain. I love being able to see with my eyes what I have left to focus on. Yes, it totally helps me to not forget something important, but my favorite benefit is that I can chill out a little more when I pack. I seriously used to feel so anxious as we’d depart for a trip, but now I feel more calm knowing I am on track. I honestly don’t know how to go out-of-town without it!
2. Second- we have several types of bags that are pre-packed.
- We have toiletry bags for me and the kids that are already stocked and ready to go. We can grab them, check real fast to make sure we’ll be good for the entire length of the trip, and we’re set! Then when we get home, we stow them away: all ready for next time.
- We also have a kids’ medicine bag that has all of the most-used items. We’re ready if someone starts showing signs of an ear infection, has an upset tummy or whatever might pop up while we’re traveling! One of my favorite items is the Melatonin. We have a hard time going to bed in unfamiliar territory- so a dropper full of Melatonin helps the kids sleep and I sleep better knowing I’m doing everything I can to help them rest. (I need to remember to use it next trip!) Here’s my list of must-haves for the medicine bag:
- Kids’ Acetemetophin– I like the tablets because they are less messy and they think its a treat!
- Thermometer– then we can tell for-sure if someone’s got a fever.
- Pepto Bismal– upset tummies from car-sickness or food poisoning- likely to happen while traveling!
- Garlic Oil– This stops ear infections in their tracks. This has literally saved us about ten trips to the doctor to get an antibiotic for my youngest daughter. I wrote about it here.
- Melatonin– helps kiddos sleep better in a new setting. (*Amazon affiliate links on each product if you want to order any of those for your next trip!)
Diaper basket– This is our permanent diaper station at home, and it’s portable! I just grab it and we’re set for diaper changes wherever we go. I have a smaller one in my bedroom as well I grab for shorter trips.
3. Next, sometimes laundry baskets are way more convenient than suitcases/ duffle bags. Here’s why:
- The “lid” is always open to toss more stuff in, and find items while you’re traveling.
- When you get to your destination you can put the folded clothes away, and BAM: you instantly have a natural place to put dirty clothes while you’re staying there. Then when you get home, you have a laundry basket full dirty clothes ready to dump right into the washing machine. You’re welcome 😉 When we go to my parent’s house we usually bring two laundry baskets: One for me and my hubby’s stuff (and baby), and one for the kids’ stuff. Then we have a spot for 1) dirty clothes, and 2) for shoes! The shoe basket is our “traveling mudroom” 🙂 .
4. I love these little suitcase dividers, aka packing cubes.
You can get them on Amazon and I really enjoy having all of our clothing compartmentalized. I can double-check to make sure we have enough outfits for each person and everything is easy to find! I’ve also heard of packing tips using grocery sacks with each day’s worth of clothes so you know you’ve got everything covered. You do what you gotta do, mama!
Side-note: If you’re traveling somewhere where you will need to prepare food, this solar cooker rocks! Whether you’re camping, spending the day (or days) at the lake, or even just in charge of bringing your own food to a family reunion… this solar oven comes in so handy! We’ve used it a bunch this summer, and so it is on my brain!
I love this solar oven because the oven (and carry case) are so lightweight- under 2 lbs!!! We can enjoy hot food wherever we are. It can be below-freezing, but if the sun is shining, this will heat up and will slowly cook! We’ve cooked everything from street tacos (Costco frozen section) to veggie burgers and hot dogs (our go-to lunch when we’re at the lake). We’ve turned a pack of Hawaiian sweet rolls into hot deli sandwiches and even cooked chicken in there! It’s so easy to travel with. Here’s a link if you are interested in checking out the Sunflair Oven- free shipping!
5. “Every-day” pre-packed bags
The last of my packing tips is similar to the pre-packed travel bags, but these pre-packed bags are something I would recommend whether you plan to travel or not! I use each of these all the time, so they some in handy anywhere you go even if it’s just down the street!
- In-a-Pikle. If you’ve hung out with me for more than a couple hours you’ve probably seen this cute little bag on me. I bought my In-a-pikle a few years ago and use it several times a week. I have in there: hair elastics for me and my girls, ibuprofen, allergy medicine, hand-sanitizer, sunscreen, post-it notes, lip gloss & mascara, scissors, tweezers, floss, a mirror, little screwdrivers, and about twenty other things that just come in handy all the time! These items are easy to find with the clear zippered pouches and this thing has held up so well! I pack my “pikle” with me everywhere I go… even on an eight-mile hike down the Subway in Zion National Park! Picture this: It’s our anniversary trip we’d been looking forward to for years- we have the babysitter, the friends and family with us, and it’s been incredible journey a couple hours in. But then on this downhill river-bed I realize I’m due to clip my toenails. My toes are killing me and we still have about an hour left of traveling downhill among the river-rock. I looked in my pickle and sure-enough- I was able to clip them with the scissors I had in there! It saved the day then, and I have three other “save-the-day” dramatic stories I could tell you. But, I think I’ll save those for another post!
- I have a 72-hour kit backpack that stays in my trunk. This backpack often comes in handy all the time with extra pairs of shoes, water, snacks, diapers and a blanket. We find lots of little emergencies in my car full of four little drama-queen girls, especially when traveling.
- This last bag is helpful- All Summer Long. I use a big Ikea bag to carry our life jackets, sunscreen, swim diapers, goggles, towels and anything else we need to go swimming. All of these swim items stay in the bag at home (with a hook on the garage wall) and then it’s ready to go whenever we take off for the pool or the lake!
I hope these packing tips help you feel more prepared to go experience something amazing with your family this summer! Pass this along to a friend that is planning a trip this summer! What packing tips do you have?! Share below!
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