My family and I travel a lot. I’m normally pretty organized. However lately, I’ve realized that packing three to four weeks in advance isn’t just a little OCD, it’s insane! Packing a little closer to the actual trip date is more practical. Over the years I’ve also learned that packing smarter and lighter will make life easier.
I usually do the packing for the entire family. That means packing for myself plus two kids and my husband. But, there are times when I’d like everyone to pack for themselves. It’s not as hard as it seems, especially for dads. Here are some of my favorite tips for dads (parents and kids alike) that I found have made packing so much more efficient.
Create A Check List
I have always believed that if you write things down, it helps to keep you organized. I create a packing list and a simple to-do list of chores to get done before we leave. A typed up or handwritten check list will help you visualize everything better. I actually use a physical pen and paper, however there are apps you can use on your smart phone too. Write down each day of the week you’ll be on vacation, including your travel days and any special events you have planned during your trip.
Have you ever had your luggage lost or delayed? If you only take a carry-on or travel backpack, you’re less likely to have your luggage lost or misplaced. You can arrive, de-board the airplane and on to you next adventure!
What To Take
I try to pack layers of clothing so that we’re prepared for cool, warm and hot weather. I also try to pack according to the season. Some people are surprised by this next tip I’m about to share—I pack clothes for the kids that are gently used and can be donated while on vacation. If the item is worn, I wash it prior to donating. But, if the item wasn’t worn, it’s easy to donate. Packing this way allows you to become lighter on the way back. The extra space can be used for souvenirs or just so you can enjoy being less bogged down.
Use Packing Cubes and Plastic Storage Bags For Toiletries & Art Supplies
Packing cubes come in a variety of sizes. Packing cubes are great for diapers, shoes, keeping clean clothes separate from dirty laundry and saving space. Plastic storage bags are wonderful for shampoo, baby wipes, diaper cream and other liquids and gels the could explode. They’re also great to contain crayons, colored pencils, markers, chalk, coloring books and notepads.
Call your hotel in advance to ask about borrowing or renting kid gear like car seats, strollers, cribs, bikes and scooters
It might surprise you to learn that it isn’t always necessary to pack all of those bulky items like the pack-n-play, the double stroller, the toddler car seat and even high chairs, baby carriers and other heavy gear.
Bring a First Aid Kit
My first aid kit includes tweezers, scissors and nail clippers plus all the usual band-aids, aspirin, pain relievers, indigestion, allergy and upset stomach over the counter medications.
Collapsable Water Bottle
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. I recently discovered a collapsable water bottle by Hydaway. It’s amazing! No more lugging around bulky empty stainless steel bottles, no more disposables in landfills, no more hard to clean bottles. Hydaway is flat out ready to go, whenever and wherever. I fill it before leaving home, the airport, the train station and then toss it into my bag when it’s empty.
Do you have any packing tips that help make your travels easier?