I really enjoy traveling. Even with 4 little kids in tow, it’s something I love to do. What I don’t enjoy is packing for a family. Even when it was just me traveling, I have never liked to pack. Over the past year, I’ve made some “packing changes” that have really helped me stay organized and made packing faster, easier and much less of a dreaded task.
Here are a few tips, tricks and favorite items for packing for a family:
Packing cubes have been a major game changer for me. In the beginning, they seemed to just save space in the suitcase and keep the suitcase more organized. Now they help with the entire packing process. For example, I know that for a week’s vacation each child needs exactly 1 cube. For a weekend trip the girls split a cube and the boys split a cube. Now that I’ve gotten into this rhythm I no longer over pack or under pack. The other nice thing about the cubes is that I stay more organized ON the trip too. I put the whole cube right into the hotel or rental home drawer and everyone’s stuff is organized. When I first got them I wasn’t sold but after a few trips I now can’t pack without them!
One other way I use the cubes is packing a few smaller “specific cubes”. For example:
If we are going to an amusement park while we are traveling I would have a small “amusement park cube” that would have a change of clothes, sweatshirts, diapers etc. So the day we go to the park I just grab that little cube and throw it in the stroller. Then I’m not digging through drawers that day – I’m already set.
Sometimes for a longer trip I do a bedtime cube: all the pjs and overnight diapers. I keep that cube in the bathroom and post baths everything for all 4 kids is in one place for bedtime.
This summer I also started packing a swim cube. This has been a huge help in getting 4 kids ready for the pool or beach while traveling. I pack all their swimsuit, coverups, swim diapers, hats and sunscreen in 1 cube and YES all swim gear for all the kids for a whole week fits in one cube (amazing!). It’s hard for me to wrangle the troops for the pool/beach and even harder when we are not at home. So basically I grab the cube and coral them in one place and know I have everything I need to get them all ready.
Will there be laundry available?
We rented a house for the first time this summer and there was a washer and dryer. I knew ahead of time so I packed a lot less than usual. Basically I packed half the number of pajamas and clothes that I usually would and did laundry mid week. Then I did laundry one more time the night before we left and came home with all clean clothes.
This was the least we ever packed and the least work when I got home from vacation: double win. If you can find a place with laundry while traveling with kids it makes life a lot easier. Note: if a hotel says they have laundry make sure you check to see if there’s a fee before you pack less/ bank on going laundry. Alex spit up a lot as a baby so when we were packing for Ireland I called to see if there was laundry available and luckily I checked on the price because it was going to be about $25 a onesie to wash ha!!
Easy Clothes to Pack for Kids
Another thing that has helped me packing for the kids is to know what clothes to pack. I’ve learned which ones take up the least amount of space and which are the easiest to mix/match and not worry about packing”outfits”. If you have girls, by far the best travel dresses are Pink Chicken. They’re adorable but more importantly super comfy so the kids are happy wearing them all day and they fold up so so so small. I’ve been packing these for summer travel for years because they take up no space in the suitcase. They actually fold so small that I can put TWO (one for each of the girls) into a sandwich bag to bring as change of clothes in the diaper bag.
The other brand that I always pack for travel is Primary. They’re all solid colors, so you can just wear whatever all week and easily mix and match. They’re all really soft so they’re comfy for kids too. Their new swim line is amazing and not only is it mix and match, the girls’ is reversible. I ordered Primary hoodies for the first time for our last trip and they fold up pretty small for hoodies and the kids loved them. Oh and I loved how bright they were in all our photos!
Last but not least: Rain Gear
I never bring raincoats and rain boots on vacation. Honestly raincoats + rain boots X six= a whole suitcase. The new went to Maine last month, the forecast was not looking so good. I went back and forth and then decided to just pack “all the rain gear”. It was the best decision. Even though it didn’t rain as much as I expected, the kids used the rain gear after to play outside when it was wet, splashed in puddles, wore the coats on the cold, windy boat ride, etc. Their raincoats are more “multi purpose” coats from Mini Boden and made for great boating coats in Maine. So my suggestion is that even if it means packing an extra bag, sometimes it’s worth it if it means a whole day or two of fun on vacation.
Hopefully this helps make packing for a family just a little easier. What are your packing tips?
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. These are just products I really like using for my kids. There is an Amazon affiliate link for the packing cubes.