Many moons ago my husband and I spent 365 days traveling the world together living out of our backpacks which taught us the art of keeping things simple which still influences how I pack today when traveling with kids.
When I stand in line at an airport and watch many families with small children struggling with far too much luggage I always wonder what on earth they are taking with them. My philosophy is it is hard enough juggling small children in airports and on connecting public transport at the other end … Why make it harder by being overloaded with luggage?
Here are some tips that I follow when packing for family holidays:
Minimize the number or pieces you are carrying
Better to carry a couple of large bags than 4 small bags as you need hands & hips for kids. That is another reason we still travel with a big backpack where possible … My husband can carry it and still have 2 hands free for kids or other luggage.
Book accommodation that provides portacots and highchairs if you need them
Obviously great if automatically included but I would still prefer to pay small fee to hire a portacot than have to lug one with us. Or if your kids like sleeping in them there are some terrific light weight travel cots and can actually go on as hand luggage.
Pull out all the clothes you thinks you want to pack then halve it
How many times have you gone on holidays and not worn a whole heap of clothes you took with you? Most places have washing facilities so bank on doing washing at least once during a week holiday which reduces how many clothes you need. Also think about packing combinations of clothes that can be mix & matched and layered to make best use of what you pack.
Roll your clothes to pack
Yep, this is an old backpacker trick that really works. We have a handful of soft travel cubes that you pack clothes in and zip up. I allocate one per person. Rolling clothes takes up much less space allowing you to fit more in and the cubes are really easy to pack into bag or suitcase and don’t waste space.
The little things add up so keep them little
Toiletries are a perfect example … Each item is small but they take up a lot of room in most suitcases. We travel with hotel shampoos, soap, and moisturiser. You can buy small sized toothpaste and deodorants at supermarket. It might sounds silly but it really helps save space.
Supplies for babies and kids
I usually pack enough nappies and baby/little kids snacks to last the first 48 hours as it takes the pressure off finding shops on arrival. You really don’t need to carry more than that though.
I use the same principal as when we camp … Keep them small and multi purpose. Kids have wonderful imaginations so let them use it on holiday.
If you tend to over pack try a few of these tips next time you are going away … let me know how you go!