Heading on a plane this summer? After 7 years of flying with kids I’ve finally mastered the packing part after learning many lessons along the way! We are getting ready for a long trip to Europe and I’ll be sharing our travel capsule wardrobes and what I pack for my kids on the plane in the coming weeks!
START WITH A LIST
I prefer a paper & pen list over a digital one – but you can definitely save time and energy by creating a digital file that you can re-use for each trip! Don’t forget to double check the list before you leave after you’re all packed! I like to pack 2-3 days before we go so I have time to realize what I may have left out.
USE PACKING CUBES
Packing cubes are great for family travel, they help you stay organized while allowing you to fit more in a suitcase. We started using packing cubes for our family a few years ago and they have been a game changer! We have these packing cubes in a different color for each child and they help keep everything contained on shorter trips when we are living out of a suitcase. They also make it easy to quickly grab something if you need to get into your luggage when you’re out. I use the smallest size packing cube bag for my kids shoes! I am using these compression packing cubes for myself this summer.
We are checking our luggage on our upcoming long trip to Europe so I’m using a packing cube for our carry on that contains an extra complete outfit for each family member. After we get to our destination I’ll leave this packing cube in our rental car so we don’t have to worry about grabbing extras before heading out. My kids are prone to spills and get car sick!
TRY A TRAVEL CAPSULE WARDROBE
I know some people like to pick outfits for each day of their trip. I’ve tried this method and it just doesn’t work for our family. My kids like to pick out their clothes each day (often changing throughout the day) and I often don’t know what we’ll be doing ahead of time. For this reason I like to pack mini ‘capsule wardrobes’ for my kids. Think: pieces that can mix and match in a cohesive color palette. I do the exact same for myself and it’s worked out really well for us! This gives me some control over what the kids wear (#TravelPhotos galore) but also lets them have freedom with getting dressed.
This has been a more recent addition to my suitcase and proved to be a big help in keeping smaller spaces organized when traveling. While some rentals will provide you with a laundry basket or bag it’s also nice to bring your own. When we’re on a road trip we often throw our laundry bag full of dirty into our overhead roof rack storage on the way home.
BRING A SOUVENIR TOTE
I’m always left cramming stuff into my suitcase after a trip when I’ve purchased one too many souvenirs. I like to include a small bag that I can carry on that can hold breakable items. This is the bag I got, it folds up very small and comes in a bunch of color options.
USE COLLAPSIBLE WATER BOTTLES
Keep collapsible water bottles in your carry on. They won’t take up much space or weight and you can fill them up after you get through security. I’m excited to finally ditch our heavy Yeti water bottles and go this route for our upcoming trip!
SKIP THE DIAPERS
I find it easier to purchase diapers & wipes at our final destination. I always like to pack enough to last us a few days – as you never know what may happen when traveling. If we’re checking a car seat we’ll often tuck some diapers in the bag before we drop it at the ticket counter.
CONSIDER CAR SEATS
When you’re packing you’ll want to consider what you’ll do if you need car seats. For us, that means I need to leave room in our carry on for our travel car seats. On our last long trip we lugged an infant seat along and learned the hard way that this was not the most ideal situation for our family. This time we’ve opted to get our 2 year old a car seat with our rental cars. We use the Bubble Bum for our 7 year old and this travel vest of our 4 1/2 year old.