I am a huge fan of packing light – even with 3 children in tow. It stems from my backpacking days where my husband and I spent 365 days traveling around the world. We were always on the move and everything had to be carried in our packs. We learned how little we really needed and apply these concepts when we travel as a family.
Here are pictures of the total luggage packed for a family of 5 heading to Vietnam for 2 weeks.
This is our checked in luggage – one large pack with 95% of our things in it and a hiking carry pack which has our rain jackets in it, my hiking pole, and the secret stash of Easter Eggs!
We have packed for warm and cold weather as we have been warned the hills outside Sapa will be colder than we expected at this time of year … and there is nothing worse than cold children hiking.
There is room for shopping in there as I plan to bring home more than we take over!
This is our hand luggage which has lots of snacks, kids activities, basic toiletries, our cameras and other valuables, and three travel blankets for the kids.
I have blogged about packing light before, and these tips definitely worth a read, but I thought you might find it useful to see our actual packing list. Having a list helps me stick to the basics and not be tempted to thrown in an extra dress (for every girl) just because they are pretty!
We have a master list that we then adapt for each specific trip. The master list means we don’t have to do “the thinking” every time and risk leaving things off the list.
This is our packing list for Vietnam
… please excuse the fact it isn’t pretty, and well laid out. It was created purely for our personal use.
My girls really enjoyed helping me pack their clothes this time. It was the first time all three of them were old enough to take responsibility for what went in.
I explained to them some of the guidelines of what clothes we pack:
- Clothes need to be lightweight so that they will dry easily if I have to hand wash.
- Don’t pack your most precious clothes in case they get lost or ruined
- Choose colours/patterns that are versatile – don’t pack a t-shirt if it ONLY goes with one other thing in your bag
- choose clothes that are comfortable but make you feel nice
That is how we tackle packing for family travel … how about you? Are you a careful packer or do you tend to just throw it all in at the last minute?
Are you thinking of travelling to Vietnam with kids? You might find this webinar replay useful. I share lots of tips about what it was really like travelling with 3 young children.