Planning a vacation with the family? Whether you fly or drive to your destination, packing light when you have kids in tow may seem impossible. These packing tips and tricks from the experts will reduce the amount of bulk you bring with you, without sacrificing comfort.
1. Be ruthless about the number of outfits you actually need. A week’s worth of clothing for four family members adds up to a whopping 28 outfits – not counting extras! To cut down on the bulk, try to find lodging that offers an onsite washing machine and dryer, and pack fewer outfits that you can wash halfway through the vacation. Pack several Gain Flings Scent Duets pacs in a sealed plastic bag for convenience.
2. Pack smart. These space-saving tips will help you fit everyone’s outfits and toiletries into your luggage:
- Roll clothing to reduce bulk and prevent wrinkles in shirts, pants and dresses
- Once you’ve packed larger clothing items, use up every last nook and cranny by stuffing socks and leggings into shoes or corners
- Place throwaway shower caps over shoes to keep the inside of your suitcase clean
- Keep toiletries and liquids in sealed toiletry bags to prevent accidental leaks from ruining your clothes, and toss in a bottle of Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus in case your outfits look rumpled once you arrive at your destination
3. Cross-pack for peace of mind. If you’re flying, try to distribute every family member’s clothes evenly throughout your suitcases, just in case a bag gets lost during travel. That way, every family member will have at least one fresh set of clothing. Use packing cubes color-coded for each family member to avoid confusion and make it easier to sort and unpack.
4. Have the kids help. Even younger kids can lay out their own clothes for packing, which makes the job easier for you. If they need a bit of help, give them a simple checklist to follow: shirts, pants, underwear, swimsuit, pajamas and socks. Double-check that they’ve picked seasonally appropriate outfits, and then have them help you roll everything up for the suitcase.
5. Resist the urge to overpack. To prevent suitcases from overflowing with blankets or stuffed animals, limit each child to one lovey or special toy for bedtime. Before you leave, wash blankets with Unstopables in-wash scent booster to give them a long-lasting fresh scent that will last the entire trip.
Have everyone wear their heaviest shoes while traveling so you don’t have to put them in the suitcase, and think long and hard about whether you need that extra sweater or a third pair of shoes.
6. Don’t forget to utilize your carry-on. The carry-on is essential for flying parents – you’d be surprised how much you can fit into one bag! Invest in one with a sturdy, comfortable shoulder strap and plenty of pockets, and make sure it can survive being mashed under a seat or slung into an overhead storage bin. We recommend packing:
- Snacks for grumbling tummies and cranky toddlers
- Clean-up supplies like Puffs tissues and a Tide-to-Go instant stain remover pen
- Activities and small toys to keep younger kids busy
- Electronics (and chargers!) to occupy older kids
For more ideas on how to survive the flight, check out our helpful tips.
How do you reduce the bulk and pack efficiently for your family? Share your family packing secrets in the comments section!