Yay! You’ve picked a fabulous spot for your family vacation. Besides taking your own stuff, you’re also in charge of everything your kids need for the trip. The temptation to throw everything in so you’ve got every situation covered becomes a reality. Suddenly a family of four looks like a group of twelve.
Don’t let the daunting task of packing for the whole family overshadow your excitement. Here are five essential packing tips that will help you avoid temper tantrums and your hair turning grey.
Tip 1: Don’t overpack
Parents tend to pack everything the kids use at home, thinking that familiar items will keep a consistent routine. Think again. Travelling is bound to mess with any home regime, so trying to preserve it is futile.
Instead allow your children to be immersed in an adjusted way of life filled with new sights and smells. If there’s something you are missing, chances are, you can buy it at your destination. I do, however, recommend packing all essential medical items, especially when travelling to a less developed country.
Tip 2: Plan to wash
If the idea of packing for your little people makes your palms sweat, chances are you’re packing too many clothes. Throw all of the ‘just in case’ items out the window. If you are taking a one-week trip, you don’t need more than four outfits per person. Perhaps one nice outfit for an unforeseen special occasion. But beyond that, carry a bar of laundry soap and wash as you go. That way, you won’t need to lug heavy suitcases around, especially if your kids are too young to help carry.
Tip 3: Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are those inexpensive fabric compartments that fit into carry-on bags and suitcases. They are the perfect way to organize and separate luggage for multiple family members. Not only do they create more space in your bag, but they also make packing and finding items a whole lot easier. So when little Timmy has a break-down because he can’t find his favourite pair of Superman socks, you know exactly where to find them.
If you’re staying in multiple rooms, these nifty organizers can be separated to act as ‘mini suitcases.’ Some cubes can be shared, for things like toiletries and dirty laundry, making family packing all that less stressful.
Tip 4: Share toiletries
Toiletries are heavy! Yes, most of them can be purchased in travel sizes, but remember they can also be shared. Four different tubes of toothpaste aren’t necessary. Hair shampoo and conditioner can also be substituted for a 2-in-1.
Bulky items like disposable diapers and wet wipes can be purchased in most supermarkets. Do some research on your destination ahead of time and get the bigger items on arrival. Not only will this save you extra luggage space, but it’ll also save you the headache of lugging around those heavy kiddies toiletries when you’re on the move.
Tip 5: Rent stuff
Just because you’ve got kids doesn’t mean you have to give up your carefree days of travelling light. It just means that you have to think ahead and rent the ‘big stuff.’
Google ‘kid’s rental gear’ in the area you’re visiting and see what comes up. Travelling with car seats, strollers and cribs will break your back – and your bank balance. Excess baggage fees for large items can be hefty.
The bottom line is, it’s best to lighten the load when travelling with little ones. But keep in mind that even after packing like a pro, travelling with kids is never smooth sailing. The bumps along the way are all part of the joys of travelling, so embrace them and enjoy the adventure.