Packing tips for traveling with kids…having what you need but keeping it simple.
Vacation season is here! With kids, gone are the days when you can throw a few things in a suitcase and go! There is a bit more to pack with kids…it seems like you will need everything! Making a packing list will help. I often would start a packing list several weeks in advance and as I thought of things we would need, I would add it to the list. Packing can feel overwhelming when you are planning for kids. Just remember, you can usually always wash at your destination if necessary and unless you are going to the outback, there are stores! Don’t try to think of every scenario and try to pack for it! Once you have a list that works for you, save it on your computer for the future! Try and keep it simple!
- Plan for one outfit a day per person. Think about mixing and matching and bringing a couple extra tops.
- Think layers…be sure you always have something warm…weather is temperamental and restaurants are cool.
- Plan for at least 3 pairs of PJs per child. You will always have accidents and need at least one extra pair until you can wash.
- Pack total outfits in large freezer type zip lock bags. Top, bottom, undershirt, and socks all together. This makes it easy to find each outfit and helps keep things organized. You can grab a zip lock bag and throw it in your diaper bag when you are on the run and know you have everything you need for a quick change.
- Extra shoes.
- Sun hat, sun screen, sunglasses.
- Plan a diaper an hour for transit and about 5 to 6 diapers a day. Remember, there are Walmart Stores and Target Stores everywhere…don’t bring things that are easier bought at your destination. Think about having Amazon or Target ship your diapers to your destination when taking a long trip.
- Bring several receiving type blankets and a larger blanket for your baby to lie on and stretch.
- Diaper rash ointment, acetaminophen, thermometer, small containers of shampoo and lotion. You never want to be out looking for an open pharmacy at night!
- Keep a list with emergency numbers in your bag. Include your doctor’s phone number and local pharmacy number.
- Pack a night-light. It is nice to have a little light in a strange room!
- Baby Monitor.
- Child proofing kit. This would include twist ties to tie up cords, duct tape to tape over outlets, and antibacterial wipes to wipe down TV remotes and phones. Blue painters tape is a great way to tape things up, cover outlets etc. and kids LOVE to play with it too. Easy to remove from anything also!
- Straw cups, pacifiers, bottles, and enough baby food for transit and to get you started at your destination.
- If traveling by car and you will be spending a night on the road, pack a separate bag for the hotel. Only pack what you will need for the one night on your way to your destination. This is much easier than carrying all of the luggage in for a one night stay!
Pack a small backpack with essentials that are within easy reach in the car or plane:
- A change of clothing for you and your child.
- Extra zip lock bags. (Never can have too many!)
- A diaper an hour and wipes. (Never can have too many wipes! They are NOT for just diaper changes!)
- Pack an extra “portable” bag with a single diaper, diaper cream, and small package of wipes. You can take this small bag into the restroom without bringing the whole diaper bag or backpack.
- Fold up potty seat for a toddler. Post it notes to cover the electronic eye on self flushing toilets…keeps the toilet from flushing and scaring your toddler!
- Extra “lovey”…always have an extra!
- Two straw cups (one to be dirty one to be clean), snack cup, wipeable bib, portable snacks, small fork and spoon, any other necessary restaurant item.
- If you are formula feeding, bring powdered formula. Make up a couple of bottles with the powdered formula so only water needs to be added.
- Baby food for use that day.
- Zip lock with thermometer, travel sized acetaminophen, ibuprofen, band aids, Benadryl, nasal saline drops, and any other medications your child or you are taking.
- A mix of new and old toys…plan for an activity per hour at least. A sample “fun bag” will be posted later.
So, pack smart and start early. Make a list and check it twice, but remember, the only real essentials are items that cannot be bought at your destination…so relax, if you forget something, thank goodness for Target and Walmart….I know you can find either at your destination!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.