My family’s number one luxury is traveling, both girls started to travel when they were still babies (read related post: why we travel with our children ). But – the happy, giddy experience starts with the dreaded and daunting chore of packing. Even for quick weekend trips, we need to bring a lot of things, from clothes to toiletries, sundries and toys, so a lot of planning and actual packing needs to be done. As much as we possible we want to travel light, but all parents know this almost next to impossible, especially with very young kids.
Here are some tips that I could share – these are based from our family’s experience which you might find useful too in your next trip.
Start with a list – and please save it! Chances are it’s the same list you are going to use on your next trip
Do not only list what you need to bring, specify where you need to pack it. In my list I specifically put in the exact bag where to put it or whether it’s hand carry or check-in .It is very helpful so that you know where exactly to put it and where to find it should you need to get it.
This exercise helps me check whether there are items that I’ve packed that are not allowed to be brought in the plane (e.g. water bottles, perfume in big bottles, umbrella, nail clipper). I once packed a foldable umbrella in our carry-on and we had to dispose of it before boarding! Carefully planning your carry-on items it saves you time during security check and money!
Save your list and just re-print for future trips – chances are you won’t need to change the list.
Medicine – if you have meds that you need to take in transit, please do buy the travel size and pack it in a Ziploc. Just simply take it out when asked by security- since the plastic is clear, the security personnel can just check it out without taking each out. Also remember to always bring your doctor’s prescription just in case you will be questioned by security.
If you need to bring maintenance meds or vitamins in bulk, better bring the regular sized to pack in your check in luggage because there might be restrictions in bringing in liquid and meds on your carry-ons. When we travel, we always bring our kids’ baby book that shows all the meds and vaccines that our paediatrician has given our kids – we have found it very useful especially if the kids get sick during our travel.
Packing bags inside carry-on luggages
When traveling with kids, best to put your purse, laptop bags and kids’ bags inside carry on luggage – this helps us just have one or two carry-on luggages and it’s easier to drag along. We have two kids and my and my husband’s hands are full all the time, and imagine if we have two bags each and one kid each (with their own bags), it’s too much too mind and handle. My husband and I each bring one carry on luggage and would contain our laptop and kid’s bags or baby bag. This leaves us with just two luggages to drag.
Now as soon as we are boarded, we simply take out the baby or kids bag out (packed with all our necessities for the flight) while our carry on luggage is on the overhead bin. This helps us minimise the times that we need to take out the luggage from the overhead bin.
Packing snacks and activities for kids
Always pack a snack and busy bag that your kids can each carry. Their travel bags also serve as their link to us (the bags have a harness that we can slip into our wrists) when traveling. Makes them feel responsible travellers!
Mia’s bag contains a few of her favourite toys, a hanky or towel, a few snacks and treats. Her favourite travel bag is a Skiphop Cat bag.
Mika has the same bag (different animal though) which she fills with her small figures, her Pottery Barn kids water bottle, and snacks.
Re-usable Ziplocs and packing cubes are your best friend!
Pack medicines, snacks, extra clothes and other items together in Ziplocs and label properly. If you have packing cubes with mesh side, these are good organisers too! Packing small items together keep your luggages and bags neat. It’s easier to find your items too – especially if you pack and label it accordingly.
Include your kids in planning and packing
When we plan and pack for a trip – I ask my daughters what they want to bring and help them process what’s best to bring in that trip. Make them understand that they can just choose a few toys, clothes, snacks so choose wisely. It will teach them responsibility!
Hope these tips help you make packing for your trip more bearable. Now unpacking, when you’ve returned from your happy trip is another feat altogether!