How to pack before travel with kids
Picking out the right quantity and attire for your indefinite travel plans can be nothing less than a challenge. Add in kids, an electronic fanatic, and the unknown adventure that lies ahead… uff, we are talking about the skills of a real packing ninja. Need not to worry, here you have a basic guideline to how we managed to get our whole family packed into two “carry-on sized” backpacks.
Local temperatures – deal maker or deal breaker? Before you plan your big adventure, it is best to consider the time of year you will be embarking on this journey and what the weather will be like. Weather.com has a great 10 day forecast, which more often than not, has been quite accurate for us when it comes to planning what we are going to bring on our trip. By far, the easiest packing for a family involves the warmer destinations on the planet. This is not to say packing for colder climates is impossible. Here is a sample list of what we have packed for our 6 month adventure through Central Asia.
1 pair of tennis shoes – Reebok Nano 4: used for both walking, fitness, dinner or occasion in nicer location.
1 pair of Teva Toachi Multi-sport sandals – used for walking, hiking, water adventure, etc.
1 pair of cargo shorts with some closable pockets, 1 pair of sport training shorts
1 pair of cargo light-weight long pants
1 pair of jeans – used for cooler weather and nicer attire
5 tshirts, 1 polo
1 sweatshirt, 1 ultra light down jacket (UNIQLO)
5 boxers, 1 bathing suit, 5 socks
Carries all cameras, laptop, and diapers
1 pair of tennis shoes – INOV8 F-Lite Running shoes: used for both walking and fitness, 1 pair of paper thin black sandals, 1 pair Sanuk funky shoes for the city.
1 pair of Teva Tirra sandals – used for walking, hiking, water adventure, etc.
3 pairs of shorts (denim, cotton, stylish), 1 pair of sport training shorts
1 pair of stylish long pants
1 pair of jeans – used for cooler weather
7 tank tops, 3 of which are silky for nicer attire use
1 cardigan, 1 long sleeved thin hoodie, 1 ultra light down jacket (UNIQLO)
7 underwears, 1 bathing suit, 5 socks
Carries all babies stuff, bathroom, and medicines
Baby 2 years old:
1 pair of tennis shoes, 1 pair water shoes , 1 pair of flip flops
5 pairs of shorts, 1 swim short, 1 swim bathing suit
2 pairs of pants
5 tshirts, 2 sleeveless tshirts, 2 long sleeve tshirts
2 pj bottoms, 2 pj tops
1 sweatshirt, 1 ultra light down jacket (UNIQLO)
20 diapers (buy along the way), 2 packets of wipes, 3 training boxer shorts (potty training)
1 light weight “known” blanket for comfort purposes, 1 favorite small toy, crayons
No need to stress! If you realize your forget something, buy it when you get there. Hard to imagine sometimes, but all counties have babies, kids, and adults whose basic necessities are similar to ours. Most likely you will not be your exact brand. However, sometimes you may find something even better.
Buy something new. I often buy something new for everyone in the family before we start packing. Since you will most likely be wearing these clothes over and over again, it is a nice feeling to have something new. For both of our children, I often stack up during sales in our home country, this way I can pack mostly new things for them. Seems silly to do this, but trust me… it´s a big treat when you start re-wearing your clothes.
One child, one adult. Our rule of thumb, if they can´t carry it, we (the parents) share the load. Keeping each individuals things together in one backpack or suitcase makes your job a bit easier each time you go to pull something out. Also, character may play a role in this equation – do you roll or fold the clothes? If we stay more than 2 nights, I (the female) unpack my neatly folded clothes and place them into the provide drawers/furniture. Hence, making it much easier to get to the babies things as needed. Also, allowing myself to re-pack neatly for each new destination. Whereas (the male), randomly pulls “rolled” things out as he needs them and then shoves it all back in in somewhat orderly fashion. Our daughter packs her own backpack by folding her clothes and matching her outfits as she plans to where them. I have tried rolling and/or folding our clothes, each has their preference. In our opinion, there is no “one way” that will guarantee you a better outcome when it comes packing more,
Everything is a Carry-On: We chose to carry on our backpacks, as it reduces any chance of loss. Yes, they usually are much heavier than the standard allowance for ones typical carry on. And yes we joke about looking as graceful as possible while placing it in the overhead compartment. Luckily, to date, we have never gone without our belongings. Having met a huge handful of travelers who have lost their belongings and have been held up for days waiting for their arrival (or not) we´ll continue to test our luck and try and carry on. An adult carry-on sized backpack is approximately 40Liters. Whereas, our 10 year old daughter carries a 15Liter pack.
If this is not an option for you and your family, we would recommend a good travel insurance to cover your delay and cover of costs while you wait for your missing bags.
Snap shot happy. Before we pack, we take pictures of everything (including birth certificates of your children). You never know if you will need them to prove ownership, loss, damage, or theft to your travel insurance company or a customs official. Back these up on an online database for safety. We use Dropbox.