The benefits of travel with kids are limitless. But so can be our packaging lists! Leave behind what you don't truly need so your hands can be free to carry kids or hold their little hands instead.
Why BYOB when you can borrow or build kids’ beds that are better than the latest portables? If you’ll stay with a baby at a hotel or with friends, call ahead to borrow a pack 'n' play or crib. You can also create a crib with a cozy blanket in a drawer or an arm chair turned against the wall. For toddlers and bigger kids, creative furniture placement creates perfect siesta spots. Check out our Build-A-Bed Tips, and our Hotel Setup Guide to make sure everyone can snooze, even when in the same room.
2. Heavy stroller
If you're traveling with a baby, a carrier might be all you need. For infants, sport your baby in a snuggly wrap like the Baby K’tan. For bigger babies, opt for something with more support to wear on the front or back like the Boba Air or Baby Bjorn. If you do need a stroller for an on-the-go snoozing spot or bigger kids, choose one that’s light, easy to fold, and sturdier than the standard umbrella stroller like single and double versions from Jeep and Kinderwagon.
3. Too many diapers
Bring enough for the trip and any emergencies, including extra-long layovers. A day’s worth will do the trick for shorter and overnight trips. Then either send them to your destination via Amazon or buy what you need when you arrive at your destination to save valuable space along the way.
4. Daily outfits
Most kids pick favorites when it comes to outfits and don’t mind wearing the same thing a time or ten. Take advantage of this when you’re traveling by packing their favorite separates to mix, match and layer. The standard three tops, three bottoms and over items like cardigans, sweaters and coats go a long way. For girls, dresses work in warm or cold weather when combined with a top layer and leggings or tights. Use packing cubes to create a compact clothes capsule for each kid in checked luggage, and be sure to carry on pjs for overnight flights with extra bottoms for tots potty training. Then plan to do a load of laundry or hand wash key items in the sink along the way.
5. New shoes
Make sure the shoes you bring are well worn in so that kids can cover lots of ground. Two pairs should be plenty, including running/walking shoes and another for special weather like boots for snow and rain or sandals for balmy weather. The best kids’ footwear can be dressed up or down to coordinate with your mix-and-match outfits.
Most of us pack enough travel snacks to face an apocalypse, especially when we fly with kids. Try to pack just a few snacks for on the way so you can make meals a fun part of the journey and enjoy local fare when you get there. Also, check out our Favorite Travel Snacks.
With complete libraries accessible on ipads and e-readers, reading and coloring on the go is easier than ever. Download favorite stories with art, music and learning apps. You’ll have activities for on the way and favorite stories to stick with bedtime routines wherever you may be, too.
8. Car seat
Even the lightest car seats can add another ten pounds to your already heavy load. If you can, leave car seats at home. Rent upon arrival or if you can, stick with public transportation. Trains, subways, buses and boats are friendlier for the environment and for you. You’re more likely to familiarize yourself with a new city via subway or see the countryside from a train, all while meeting locals along the way. Plus, for kids, trains, planes and buses are more fun than the same old car any day.
The most important thing to leave behind is fear. Think of your trip as an adventure to experience together. Then organize only what you really need, and envision traveling with confidence. You can do this! Parts of the trip might not be easy, but it will all be worth it.