When I am planning a trip with the kids, it needs to be planned with military precision. I am a big organiser anyway, but even more so when it involves the kids. I find it hard to be spontaneous at the best of times. Nevertheless, after several long haul trips with little ones in tow, I have learnt that it is possible to pack (reasonably) light, even when the kids are coming with you.
I have found that what you need works opposite to the size of the child. If you’ve got a baby, they will need quite a few bits. A toddler even less and a teenager, well, they can get on with packing their own things 😉 Whatever their age and size, there is no need to go overboard, though.
First of all, think about the mode of transport that you are using. I now know that Max (age 4) will happily sit and watch movie after movie on a long haul flight. So all of those toys and crayons that we have packed in the past have never been touched. If you are on a flight without movies, then other means of entertainment will be necessary. If you are travelling by train or by car, can you get away with a few books and a tablet for the journey? Thinking about what else you can use will help massively. If it is a train for example, can they wander up and down the aisle when they get restless? Think about what will be there and work around it.
The second step is to make a list. I am all about lists! Write down the days you’ll be away and a rough itinerary. It might sound tedious but even knowing roughly how many nappies or changes of clothes you’ll need per day for the baby can help in a big way. It will also help you to stop packing unnecessary things. If you’re not heading anywhere near a beach, do you really need all of those sandals or sun hats?
Next think about your accommodation. If you are staying in a villa, what kind of amenities are there? Can you do laundry when you are away? If so, that can half the amount of things that you need to take in an instant. If you are staying in a hotel, what supplies will be there to help you? For example, will there be hotel slippers or hangers for your clothes? Taking bottles of shampoo can really weigh your luggage down, so look into what might already be available to you.
One of my final tips is to pack your luggage well and divide everything up. Spread everyone’s belongings across all suitcases, just in case of any lost luggage. Anything that would be a disaster for an adult will be ten times worse when kids are involved! It is also a good idea to decide how your belongings will be carried. For example, if you have children of the age that can have their own pull along case, then it will make things much easier.
Have you got any tips to share about travel with your children?