Spring and summer breaks are fast approaching. That means that vacation time is here too. Time to pack up and explore the world. Traveling with kids is always an experience, but it’s a fun and rewarding one too. For me, packing is the hardest challenge. Kids need so much stuff. I actually begin planning my packing list at least a month in advance. That way as things pop in my head I have time to add them to the list. I tend to forget too much if I create the list and pack close to the list. I also save each list on my computer, so that i have a good starting spot. The more places we go, the better and more comprehensive my list will become. Of course, as my kids get older the list will change, things like diapers will no longer be needed. But to make the process easier for you, I’ve gathered my Go To list for packing up my brood of monsters. Of course, where you are going, and for how long will have an impact on your list, but it never hurts to think through it all.

First the obvious:

  • Clothes
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear or diapers
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Car or wall chargers
  • Favorite DVDs
  • Bottles for babies
  • Anything your kids use on a daily basis
  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Shoes and socks

And the not so obvious. These might be different for your family based on your individual needs, but it might help you to get started.

  • Hair detangler
  • Kid shampoos and soaps
  • Our kids bring their own pillows (it helps them sleep better so it’s worth the luggage space)
  • Child size fingernail clippers
  • A pack n’ play if a crib is needed and not available
  • Baby carrier, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. It’s better to pack it and not use it than leave it home and be stuck carrying a baby all day.
  • Lovey blankets. If your kids have them, you best pack them.
  • I always bring board games, or card games. When on vacation you might have lots of time when your kids aren’t “busy.” Like at restaurants. Small travel board games help keep the peace.

If you’re flying, your carry on has specific needs too.  A good rule is to plan on two days worth of formula in my carry on. Just in case of things like delays, or rerouting, or a random growth spurt that you weren’t expecting.

Toys. I stock up on dollar store finds. Things I won’t mind if they get lost or broken. But also things that are new to the kids so they hold their attention while flying. The same for books and coloring. Something new so it’s exciting. Often times, instead of buying a coloring book, I’ll just print out a healthy stack of coloring pages from our computer. It’s free, and replaceable.

Snacks. Pack things your kids enjoy, plus treats. I always have cheese, applesauce, fruit snacks, crackers, and for the treat, a big bag of candy. Kids get hungry often, so plan more than you think.

Sippy cups, if your kids use them. Traveling is not the time to master a straw, or drinking from a regular cup. Especially not while on an airplane.

-Stephanie Wright

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