Wondering what to pack when traveling with children? If I had wrote this post before my 3rd child was born it would be a much different list. In fact, it would have included an Excel spreadsheet with columns for each person in the household. I was prepared for the unexpected. I had ponchos for potential rainstorms all the way to every possible medicine that could be needed. Some complimented my preparedness.
Then the 3rd child was born and there was simply no room in the suitcases. Yes, we fly Southwest with unlimited bags but only 4 suitcases fit nicely in the back of the minivan so 4 suitcases it must all fit in. That 3rd child also somehow greatly reduced my packing lead time. If we are gone more than 5 nights I do laundry while we are gone. Just not enough room for 5 people for more than 5 nights in the 4 suitcases. So pack the clothes you need for 5 nights then plan to do laundry.
What To Pack
You already know much of what to pack when traveling with children like the toothbrushes, pajamas, etc. Here is where I surprise you. Pack as little as possible! You heard that right, keep it simple.
iPhones w/ headphones for every person (sometimes parents just need a few moments of peace)
Microwaveable popcorn (many hotels have microwaves, super easy snack and avoid the inevitable hangries)
Battery operated fan (going somewhere hot, a little fan can do wonders to pacify a sweaty child)
1 tiny stuffed animal for every child (I may never understand this need but I accept it. I have rules-not the most beloved stuffed animal as the chance is too high we will lose it and it needs be tiny, like tsum-tsum tiny)
Ziploc bags (so very many uses)
Wet Ones/Baby Wipes (regardless of age we always have messy hands, face or a spill, having these on hand avoids all kinds of stress)
That is pretty much all I pack when traveling with children. The days of packing around crayons, coloring books and such are over. Almost every restaurant has them. I don’t need to find crayons melted in the minivan a month later.
The days of each child carrying their own backpack are gone too. Why? Because I preached your backpack is your responsibility, if you lose it then it is gone. What really happens? Hubs is a softie and if it means going back to customs and begging for his baby girl’s backpack she left on the grand stairway of the cruise ship, even at the cost of missing his own transportation from the port to hotel, he will do it and he has done it. No more my friends. Everything must fit in 1 backpack. This mom’s motto is “simplicity”. More stuff, more worries, more stress. Keep it simple folks.