Traveling light with children

My children are chronic over-packers.  This trip, I challenged them to pack only what they could carry in their backpack.  It’s only a three day trip so it shouldn’t be that difficult, right?  Well…after a little resistance they embraced the challenge to edit the toys, books and other stuff that never gets touched during our trips to only clothes plus one item to entertain themselves.

My daughter is obsessed with packing and has thoroughly researched rolling vs. folding techniques on you tube, sourced packing lists from various websites and insists on packing sometimes several weeks in advance of a trip.  Her dedication to packing is a bit much, even for me who maintains a list of frequently packed items in my iPhone notes to refer to so that I don’t forget anything crucial.

Here are a few tips (some learned the hard way) that can help ease the stress of traveling with children

Reserve a car to and from the airport/train/bus station in advance to ensure that you will arrive with enough time to check in and you won’t be left scrambling at the airport/station when you arrive home after what promises to be an exhausting day.  While it will add to the cost of your trip, it is worth the peace of mind since I can think of few things worse than missing flights/trains/buses because of poor planning.  I’ve had to learn this one the hard way but once you learn, you will never forget.

Make a list.  Most people wouldn’t go to the grocery store without a list so why rely on memory to pack all of the things that you will need for your trip.  It sucks to have to try and find a place to buy pajamas during your vacation.

Keep a toiletries bag packed and ready to go so that you don’t have to remember to pack the children’s toothbrushes and other basic essentials but make sure that you keep liquids within the limit and easily retrievable in your carry-on luggage.  Check your airline but most allow up to 100ml per container but total liquids must not exceed 1 liter.

Bring children’s medicines and a thermometer…just in case.  I don’t think I even have to explain.

Pack a few (non-liquid) snacks to keep from getting gauged at the airport as delays inevitably happen.

Please share your tips on traveling with children in the comments.

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