I love lists! They help me remember what all to pack when going on a trip and make sure that we don’t leave anything behind when we are coming home. Traveling with kids and a baby can be a difficult task if you go into it unprepared. It can also take up a lot of precious room in your vehicle if you over pack, but then what if you under pack and leave important stuff at home?? Don’t worry! After many trips to the nearest Walmart to get stuff that we left behind and also many trips where we had bags laying on our laps because we packed stuff we really didn’t need, I have figured out some awesome tips for packing light but still bringing everything you need!
First things first, we are going to talk about why we under pack. We think that traveling light means we will need to do without certain items or we think, “I can just pick that up at the local store”. Well, you are kind of right in thinking that about some items, but think about it this way:
- You are wasting at least an hour running to the store to pick up an extra outfit, or some accessories.
- There are impulse buys at the store. Your kids were cold in that restaurant, you should buy them a hoodie. Oh my gosh, my kid was running and skinned his knee, I need bandaids. Look at those cute sunglasses, I need those. Before you know it, you have spent $70 on the same crap you had at home and could have brought for free. $70 could buy a meal!
- Your kids will make you miserable if you forget about something they need, take the hoodie for instance. They will be cold EVERYWHERE you go and complain the whole time. Then that brings us back to problems #1 and #2.
Now onto why we overpack. We think about the what ifs. “What if Jimmy gets loses one of his toys, should I bring extra?” “What if he spills something on every single outfit we brought?” “What if we get invited to a prestigious country club ball and I don’t have a ballgown?”. In the event something like that happens, then you can go shopping, but don’t bring a long that tuxedo just in case. It is taking up room that you can use for other things.
Ok, so we have discussed why we under pack and over pack and the problems that go with each. Now we need to talk about the perfect amount to pack!
- Credit Cards
- Car insurance
- medical insurance
- driver’s licence
- itinerary with confirmation numbers
- Prescription medications for each family member
- pain relief
- children’s pain relief
- Non-drowsy allergy relief
- Children’s non-drowsy allergy relief
- children’s benadryl
- a few bandaids in various sizes
- insect repellant
- birth control
- Toothbrush- 1 each
- Toothpaste- 1 for adults, 1 for kids (or each person gets a travel size)
- Shampoo & Conditioner- 1 for the family to share
- Body Soap- 1 for the family to share
- razor- 1 each
- hair brush
- sunburn relief spray or lotion
- make up
- feminine hygiene products
- nail clippers
- lip balm
- face wash and moisturizer
- contact lens/ glasses supplies
Adult Clothes- (one outfit per day and then an extra shirt)
- underwear- 1 per day
- socks- only if you are bringing tennis shoes (1 pair each day)
- sleepwear- 1 for each 2-3 days
- Shirts- 1 per day and then 1 extra
- pants or shorts- 1 per day or 1 pair of each for every 2 days.
- swimwear- 2 (because putting on a cold wet one is icky)
- hoodie or light jacket- 1
- sundress- 1 for the trip
- flip flops or sandals- bring a neutral pair that will go with each outfit.
- tennis shoes- 1 pair if you will be walking a lot
- 1 hat- if it is going to be sunny, bring a sunhat or ball cap
- accessories- I like to keep these to a minimum. Bring a watch, maybe 2 necklaces and 2 pair of earrings. Keep it simple!
Kids Clothes- (one outfit per day and then 1 extra)
- Underwear- 1 per day and then 2 extra
- socks- only if you are bringing tennis shoes (1 pair each day you will be wearing sneakers)
- sleepwear- 1 for each 2-3 days
- pull ups or goodnights- if you kid wets the bed
- Shirts and bottoms- 1 per day (I like mix and match) and then 1 extra outfit
- Swimwear- 2 each
- Hoodie or light jacket- 1
- sundress- 1
- flip flops or sandals- bring a neutral pair that will go with each outfit
- tennis shoes- 1 pair
- hat- 1 if it is going to by sunny
- accessories- kids don’t need many accessories- Iz wears earrings and a hair bow with each outfit! Maybe a watch.
Baby Clothes (2 outfits per day and then 1 extra)
- socks- like 20 pair… ok, maybe 1 pair per day and then 2 extra (they get lost easily)
- sleepwear- 1 pair per night and then 1 extra
- outfits- 2 per day and then 1 extra
- onesies- 1-2 that can be used at night or that baby can wear during the day!
- swim diapers- bring a whole package. You never know how many times you will get back into the pool.
- swimwear- 2 each
- hoodie or light jacket- 1
- baby sandals- 1-2 pair if they are of walking age.
- sun hat- to shade his little face
- diapers- bring 1-2 full packages.
- formula- 1-2 cans (unless you are breastfeeding)
- Breastmilk- I like to keep some frozen to thaw out as needed if we are somewhere that makes it hard to nurse!
- Breast pumps- I like to bring a manual one (for use in the car), and the big one!
- baby snacks
- bottles and nipples- bring 3 or 4
- Travel sized dish soap- to wash the bottles
- sippy cup- 1-2
- stroller- easier and cheaper than renting one! Find out prices plus baby will be more comfortable in his own stroller rather than a hard one!
- Pack-and-play- This is priceless when it comes to travel! Just bite the bullet and bring it!
- car seat- DUH!!!
- baby carrier/sling- This can be brought in addition to, or instead of the stroller! I bring both because sometimes Izzy wants the stroller (yes she is almost 7, but she gets tired too!!).
- Wagon- we sometimes bring the wagon instead of the stroller and put the boppy (not the bumbo) in it for the baby and Iz can sit in it too!
- Infant swim float- so that everyone can enjoy the water!
- pacifiers- bring 2 because one will get lost!
- blankets- bring a heavy warm one and a light one.
- soft toys- bring 2-3 different ones!
- Toys- bring 2-3 toys or games. Izzy usually brings her Nabi, a doll, and a coloring book with colored pencils.
- Book- Bring 2 that they can read!
- Movies- bring 2-4 movies depending on how long the trip is. Our car has a built in DVD player that we LOVE! It keeps her entertained for HOURS while we are on a trip!!
- Snacks- bring a few small snacks and drinks so that you don’t have to stop on the way down as much!
- Camera and charger
- cell phones and chargers
- tablets and chargers
- refillable water bottles- 1 for each person
- beach bag or tote
- beach towel
- zip loc bags in various sizes
- Walmart sacks
- paper towels
THE RULES OF PACKING
- Each person gets 1 small duffel bag for their clothes and accessories. Me and my hubby share a medium sized bag.
- For kids, put each full outfit with accessories inside a ziploc bag and flatten all the air out of it. They can pick their full outfit for each day without the mess of having a million outfits all over the place.
- We use one waterproof bag for all the toiletries as a family. The waterproof aspect has helped when shampoo or toothpaste spill out all over the bag.
- We allow 1 activity bag per kid in the car so that they can stay entertained while not creating a mess.
- Don’t stuff your bag full. It will cause you to bring useless items by thinking you need to stuff your bag. Use the smallest bag possible to fit your stuff.
Happy Travels everyone and I hope you found this post as helpful as I have over the years!
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