Pack Light, Pack Right – Packing With Kids

I am a packer. Actually, I am an over-packer. I grew up with a dad who loved the motto Pack Light, Pack Right and tried to instill that in our whole family over our years of travel. He seems to be the only one who still adheres to that saying, and does it well. I, on the other hand, have veered dangerously the other way, but as we travel more I am working hard on cutting back on what we bring, but it still seems that no matter what we pack it is a lot!

Case in point, our luggage as it was packed up and ready to go for our one week trip to Seattle and Vancouver. 3 suitcases, 5 carry-on bags and a baby carrier. Missing from the picture are our two car seats.

Definitely not packing light nor packing right!

Definitely not packing light nor packing right!

When I see it in a picture it seems excessive, but when packing I work hard at bringing only the things I think are necessary. The first thing I do is lay it all out on the bed like this:

Initial packing, round one

Initial packing, round one

I pare it down, which was difficult on this trip since we had a fluctuation in weather during the week.  I wanted to get it all down into a kid size suitcase, and we had access to a washer/dryer the last half of the week, so I brought enough to cover 4 or 5 days, with room for messy clothes and accidents (which came in handy!). All of the stuff above ended up in this suitcase, so I did pretty good with their stuff!

Fitting it all in the bag

Fitting it all in the bag

The final result for the kids suitcase

The final result for the kids suitcase

Our suitcases had all of our stuff, along with some extras, like all of our toiletries, and (ahem) my husband’s pillow, which makes all of our trips with us. We also had the bed Lila slept in inside one of the suitcases, which is fantastic for traveling and so easy to use, along with all her bedtime ‘stuff’, which included her blanket, pillow and several stuffed animals. It will be a good day when we can pack less than that.

Carry on luggage is a totally different story (and a different post), but these suggestions work well for us in keeping our luggage a little lighter – at least for the younger kids.

- Pack a day or two before, lay it all out based on outfit/day. Walk away for an hour or two, come back and reevaluate. You can probably remove 1/3 of what you originally thought you needed.

- With young kids (and no access to washer/dryer) you will probably need to account for one outfit per day, with one or two backup clothes in case of accident/messes. We generally bring pajamas that can be worn twice, so for 6 nights we would bring 3 pairs

- We decided adding in a third bag that is child sized means more bags for us to deal with but it also makes them responsible for their belongings, and if they know they have limited space to bring extra ‘stuff’ they limit what they bring. Plus they just look cute pulling it!

- We always bring a plastic bag for laundry and ziploc bags for any clothes that may be soiled or smelly.

- Packing cubes are great, and a good way to separate the clothes if packing for more than one person in a suitcase.

What packing tips do you have? Any great advice for packing less with young kids?

6 thoughts on “Pack Light, Pack Right – Packing With Kids

  1. Allison

    Hopefully L doesn’t follow along with your husband’s pillow nessecity forever. Haha. Reading that gave me a good chuckle.

    Reply
  2. Heather

    When I went to camp as a child, my mom would pack each outfit for the day (underwear, socks, and clothes) all in one ziplock bag and label it for me. It was great, you can just pull it out and wear. It also stayed clean, dry and smelt of home when I opened the package.

    Reply
  3. Ann

    I pack the same, it seems, for any trip longer than 3-4 days. So, while it’s not a lot for a really long trip, it’s a TON for a short trip.

    I think the only suggestion I would add is to spend a few minutes when you get back evaluating what really wasn’t needed. Then the next time you travel, try skipping those items. In most places, most things are easy to buy. For things that aren’t easy to buy again, it’s probably best not to travel with a bunch of those.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>