We all know that once you have kids, going on vacation of any sort is pretty much out of the question for a while. Sometimes when I have cabin fever and want to do a small local getaway, just thinking about the things I need to pack and lug there and back is enough to deter me from taking further actions. I mean just look at our diaper bags and what’s inside of it when we hit the local mall or even just to eat out at a restaurant, from diapers, bottles, toys, pacifiers, it is like a mini move. Can you imagine what’s like to pack for a week of vacation?
After I had Prince A, husband and I didn’t go anywhere for a long time, we were so terrified about the process as well as the disruption to baby’s already established routine we just stuck to our weekend brunch. As we get a better handle of things and the baby, we started going out more as well as traveling again. We just did a mini stay-cation at a local resort with both kids. Whether it is packing for one or for two kids, it is not as intimidating as one would think if there is a plan and preparation. I am going to share my top 5 personal packing tips and my own packing list for the kids, those tips applies to trips for a day or a week or longer and the packing list is subject to destination and duration.
Tip #1: Go over the entire day a week before
When you have your trip booked and set, take a day or two to go over your daily routine with your little ones. From the moment they wake up to the time you finally put them down, go over all the details that you do. Do you use a bottle warmer to warm the milk? Perhaps your child prefers a special bath toy during bath? Does your child use a night light or white noise machine? Spend the day jotting down what you do with them on a daily basis. It will help you gather all the little details and put them on your packing list.
Tip #2: Scale down
When you are already carrying a million and one things for yourself and kids, last thing you want to do is bring a big bottle of their bath soap or a tub of formula. If you know that you won’t be gone for more than 2 weeks, go and get those travel sized baby wash and lotion; if you want to use your own, put them in travel sized containers. If you are not breastfeeding, instead of a whole tub of formula, pre-measure the amount your baby eats and put them in the bottles (since you’ll need those extra bottles on the road anyways might as well use them as “storage”) leave one empty one to measure water.
Tip #3: Ziploc bags
Ziploc bags are great space savers when you travel, they can also keep things organized. You can use them for multiple purposes than keeping snacks, for example, you can separate your kid’s dirty laundries from clean ones, or pack away things when you are on the go at your destination.
Tip #4: Leave the toy bin at home
There is no need to pack up the entire play area, there are plenty of things to see and do while you are out and about and all the little new thing becomes interesting to them. You don’t need to bring every other toy your kid plays with at home, save the luggage room for the essentials. If you must, bring one of his or her favorite toy and one book to read at night. You can also save a new small toy to bring on the trip so your kid is engaged by this new thing. For us, it’s a new sticker pack or coloring book.
Tip #5: Use your destination’s resources
If you are going to stay at a hotel, call ahead and ask what additional amenities they have (ask for crib or pack-n-play, high chair, baby bathtub if they have them). If you are visiting relatives and staying with them, ask them to buy diapers or milk or formulas before you arrive, or you can buy on amazon and ship to their house directly. We did that when we traveled to Hawaii to the grandparent’s house, bought diapers, wipes, feeding chair and umbrella stroller on amazon and shipped to their place prior to arrival.
So there you have it, my top 5 tips for packing smart and packing light. This is based on personal traveling experiences that range from a weekend getaway to a two week stay at the grandparent’s house. I’m sharing my packing list below, please note that this is subject to the seasons and destinations.
- Pumps (if you are still pumping)
- Formula or powdered milk (you can store them in the extra bottles you’ll need to bring)
- Baby food/Baby Cereal (opt for pouches not glass jars, they are lighter)
- Eating utensils (get a pack of mixed plastic ones that you can toss and go)
- Bottles & Nipples (see above formula)
- Cleaning brush and soap
- Sippy Cups (for toddlers)
- Extra Pacifiers
- Crib bedding
- Changing Pad (buy a pack of disposable ones and line any couches, bed, safe, flat clean surface as your changing table)
- Diapers (how many depends on accessibility at your destination)
- Wipes and diaper cream
- Baby Toiletries (see above Tip #2)
- Bath Toys (in my opinion, one small rubber ducky will do)
- Swimsuits and swim diapers and sunhats (if you are going tropical or has pool)
- Approx 2 outfits per day if not planning on doing laundry (I’m not going to detail the outfits here, as it depends on your destination and season of your travel)
- A compact white noise machine to drown out noises and make your kid sleep better (we use this one and kids sleep soundly)
- Medicine: for pain/fever, gas, allergy etc.
- Travel crib/cot (optional)
- Stroller (lite weight umbrella stroller highly recommended)
- Car Seat (if you plan on driving at your destination)
- ‘Special’ items like blanket, toys, etc whatever your child need to keep calm and be entertained.
Do you find the tips and the packing list helpful? Leave me a comment and let me know.