When you travel with kids, you have to be extra careful and prepared – there’s much less room for improvisation and spontaneity. The stakes of packing for a trip with kids are definitely higher: your level of preparation and organization can definitely make or break your trip.
For all those wanderlust parents who want to experience the world with their little ones, we have prepared essential packing tips to make your experience more enjoyable.
- Choose your destination wisely and research beforehand
Even though you and your partner have always wanted to visit a magical remote island in the Pacific, it’s time to face the facts: packing and traveling with kids will make certain destinations very hard to visit.
When you research your vacation destination, make sure you keep packing in mind. Destinations that require ample additional equipment and luggage are much less convenient when traveling with children, such as skiing or hiking.
Choosing a tourist destination with a simpler itinerary will make packing much easier, while the whole trip will become a breeze.
- Snacks and entertainment galore
As you very well know, stacking up on all kinds of entertainment is the best recipe for keeping your kid happy, entertained and calm. This is especially important for the traveling part of your vacation: prepare your little one’s favorite cartoon and games and let them calm themselves with their favorite characters and shows.
The same goes for snacking: not only is it a great way to bridge gaps between bigger meals, but it’s also a soothing activity for most children. Pack as many of your kid’s favorite snacks for your trip and make sure you always have some handy during sightseeing.
- Pack a stroller
Jet lag coupled with long walks and overstimulation can exhaust even the strongest of kid walkers, according to Huffington Post. Many people who travel with children who know how to walk try to avoid packing a stroller, but you’ll probably regret it once you’re there.
No matter how inconvenient it may be, a stroller will likely prove to be a lifesaver in many situations.
- Pay special attention to the essentials
Essential luggage should be packed into one smaller backpack which you will pay special attention to and never let it out of your sight. Here, you can pack all of the paperwork (tickets, passports, reservations) and your kid’s favorite stuffed animals and other items.
Other essential items include:
- phones and chargers
- prescription medication
- first aid essentials
- an international adapter
“I always feel like I can buy anything we might need once we get to our destination – but some items are hard to replace, such as official documents or phones. That’s why I put special attention to these essential items when packing and try not to stress about clothes and other luggage”, says Sophie Bradley, a mom of three and a travel blogger who manages a reviews page.
- Pack clothes wisely and realistically
Have you ever packed for a trip and ended up not wearing most of the outfits that you have prepared? This is often the case when we pack unrealistically and believe that we will dress in a way that we usually don’t. With kids, it’s even more important to pack only clothes that they are familiar with and comfortable in.
When you’re packing your kid’s clothes, make sure you include versatile options, so that your little one has something to wear in any environment. It’s also wise to pack layered outfits so you can easily regulate their clothing according to the temperature.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to go overboard with underwear, socks and PJs. If your luggage is not too limited, try to pack double the essentials that your kid would normally wear during the same period.
- Involve your children in the packing process
Even though most mommies tend to pack kids luggage themselves, involving them and teaching them how to pack can have multiple benefits.
First, you can hear their own opinions on what they want to take with them on their trip. However, they will probably want to bring all of their earthly possessions with them on a 3-day trip, so make sure you talk to them on why it’s important to limit and decide on the essentials.
This will give your kid a great boost in organization skills, prioritizing and decision-making. Who knew packing could be such a great learning activity?
If it’s your first time traveling with kids, remember: preparation is key. No matter how stressful packing can be, if you plan in advance you can make your trip much more enjoyable and trouble-free.
If you have already traveled with your children, you can take advantage of all the packing lessons from your previous trips: take more of what you lacked last time and double-check to see that you’ve brought the items you forgot the last time you packed.
Most importantly, remember to have a great time from the very planning of your trip to the last day. Include your kids in the packing process and try to turn it into a game, which it can easily be.
Traveling with kids is a beautiful and unforgettable experience!
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