Packing for a trip can be problematic for many reasons, but when you have kids in tow, the task becomes even more complex. You have to remember to take everything that is absolutely necessary and rely as little as possible on buying some items once you reach your destination. However, there are baggage limits and other restrictions which prevent you from taking everything that you might want in the first place. Still, if you start preparing in advance and are practical, you shouldn’t have any major problems with this challenge. Here’s a list of tips that should help you pack well for your next family trip.
Know the limits
If you’re traveling by plane, don’t even start packing before you’ve checked the luggage weights and dimensions allowed. Each airport and airline have their own regulations regarding carry-on, baggage, and weight limits. Make sure you know them before you start packing. If your kid is still very young, most airlines allow certain quantities of baby formula, baby food, and breast milk and they’ll be happy to take your car seats, cribs, and strollers at no extra charge.
Pack essentials together
It’s always a smart idea to pack everything that is really important into one convenient bag, which you’ll always carry with you. The content of this bag should include your passports, tickets and other paperwork, your kid’s favorite toy and other things that are impossible or difficult to replace. Add your phone and tablet chargers, prescription meds, plasters, wet wipes, and an international adapter, if you need one.
Things you need while traveling
You should also make sure you have everything you might need on the road with you at all times. This “easy access bag” should hold the stuff you need to reach quickly while traveling, such as infant supplies, entertainment (card games, coloring books, etc.) or some of the extremely practical Go Travel accessories.
If you or your kid need to take some medications as part of regular therapy, don’t forget to pack enough meds for the whole duration of your trip. You should not rely on finding the exact medication, especially if you’re traveling abroad. Also, don’t forget to pack other meds, such as painkillers, meds for allergic reactions and upset stomach.
Depending on where you’re traveling, you might need to take quite a lot of clothes. Still, you can’t possibly take everything you’d wear if you stayed at home. The clothes should be comfortable, especially for kids, and you shouldn’t pack anything really expensive or with sentimental value. If there is an option to do your laundry while away from home, that would save you a lot of space in your bags and suitcases.
Choose small gifts
If you’re visiting family members or friends, you’re expected to bring some gifts. Try to choose those small and light, such as fridge magnets. Also, if you wish to take some fragile objects with you, they should be properly wrapped and protected. Similarly, don’t buy bulky items while away from home, since you’ll have trouble transporting them back home.
You definitely don’t want to hear questions like “Are we there yet?” and “How much longer?” However, you’re bound to hear them if your kids are not occupied and entertained during the trip. So, depending on what they like, you need to pack something that will keep them occupied for at least a few hours.
Teach your kids to pack
If you get your kids involved in the packing process, they’ll be quite excited. Of course, don’t let them do that unsupervised, but make sure they feel their contribution counts. If they get that impression, they’ll be less anxious when the moment to leave home comes. If they’re doing a good job packing and helping you prepare for the trip, you might want to treat them with a new toy, book or some small gift they could take with them.
When traveling with kids, you should always have some snacks available. If you forget that, your kids will be cranky and hungry and you will end up paying exorbitant prices at airports. Use plastic containers to store crackers, raisins, and other dried fruit. Avoid chocolate-coated treats, since they’ll probably melt easily and make a complete mess. Also, if you’re flying, don’t forget that airlines don’t accept fresh fruit on board if you’re traveling to other countries.
Traveling with kids can be really tough, even if your loved ones are at their best behavior. It’s unrealistic to expect them not to be bored if the journey takes several hours, which is why they need to be entertained. Also, since kids are prone to accidents, you should always have some sort of the first-aid kit with you. Finally, you yourself have to relax as much as possible. Don’t panic, no matter what happens. If your kid detects you’re nervous, they’ll immediately feel the same and that will most certainly spoil your whole holiday.