Tips for packing less when traveling with kids


If you travel with kids then you’re well familiar with the gear overload that is all too easy to find yourself saddled with. Of course there’s the clothes and the toys, but by the time you add a carseat, playpen, stroller and perhaps a portable feeding chair, it’s bordering on the ridiculous. No wonder so many people just stay home with little ones. It seems like far too much trouble to move the equipment alone, never mind the additional challenges that the actual child adds to the mix.

The good news is: it doesn’t have to be that bad! Here are five tips for reducing the amount of crap you have to pack (and carry) when traveling with a little child.

 1. Rent it

Did you know that in most bigger cities you can rent baby gear? Yep. Google it for your destination and you may find that you can rent a porta-crib or playpen, a feeding chair and a stroller or whatever else you need when you arrive. Almost all car rental agencies have carseats as an optional ad-on and they are delivered strapped right into the vehicle when you arrive. It couldn’t be easier. Many hotels and resorts are now getting on the bandwagon and supplying more than a baby cot for rental at their resorts in hopes of drawing more family travel business. It can pay to ask around and shop around for a destination that will make it easy on you!

2. Choose Wisely

If you intend to travel with your little one then a few, well chosen, items are well worth investing in to make the travel easier. Carseat and stroller combos, slings instead of strollers, they even have luggage the doubles as a ride on toy for the toddler set. Where was THAT when I was traveling with a tiny tribe? Of course you can “make do” with just about anything you have in a pinch, but if you plan to make travel a regular part of child life, it’s worth investing in the items that will simplify the process. For our family, this meant a sling instead of strollers, a baby backpack that would carry through toddlerhood and doubled as a high-chair and a diaper bag, and travel clothes for the parents that were wipeable and nearly bulletproof… or at least baby proof!

3. Less is More

Seriously. Even with kids. If you pack three or four outfits for your toddler it will be more than enough. Kids clothes are very easy to hand wash in a hotel sink and hang to dry and most children would rather re-wear their favourites anyway. Pack less in terms of clothing and diapers and paraphernalia and you’ll have more room for the things that really matter with kids: like the blankie that is a comfort item.

4. You can buy it

There is no need to pack jars and jars of baby food, formula, diapers, wipes, disposable bibs, soaps, lotions, or anything else. Anywhere in the world that you’re visiting where people have children (which is everywhere) these items will be available. Unless you’re tied to a specific brand because of an allergy, there’s no need to bring much from home. Bring what you’ll need for the first 24 hours and then plan to hit a store when you’ve settled in.

The take home message: Simplify your packing list. Make use of what’s already there from friends or rentals. Wash, rinse, repeat. Purchase a few key items that will make the whole process go more smoothly. Go with what’s locally available.


Posted by | Comments (1)  | April 30, 2013
Category: Family Travel

One Response to “Tips for packing less when traveling with kids”

  1. Michelle Says:

    All really great tips-I actually didn’t know you could rent gear-I’ll have to keep it in mind.