Whether you’re preparing for a long road trip, a quick weekend getaway or an overseas flight, parents have a tendency to over-stress about what to pack for kids. After lots of travels with our family of five, here are a few things NOT to bother packing.
If you do a quick search online for “packing tips when traveling with children” literally hundreds of articles will pop up. Each one promising the best tips, fail-proof methods and must-have products. We tend to think if we over prepare for any and every situation, we’ll be better off.
But as someone who has a “less is more” mindset, I’d rather chat about about what NOT to pack for kids when traveling. You’re welcome!
What Not to Bother Packing for Kids
Too Many “Woobies”
Every child has a favorite toy, special blankie or whatever. It can be really tough to limit each kid’s security item to one only. But it’s a MUST!
I had to learn this the hard way as we packed up recently for a weekend trip. I couldn’t bring myself to say “no” to any of the kids’ favorite sleep-time toys. Which resulted in an entire carry-on bag dedicated solely to stuffed animals and “woobies”!
Yes, I am a bit of a sucker – I know.
This one might seem kind of obvious especially for a long road trip where personal space is limited, but just in case you need specifics…
The rule of thumb should be that any toy or electronic with a headphone jack is allowed. And anything else is a hard NO. Family trips should never include the Peppa Pig theme song on repeat for the entire car to hear.
The Wrong Snacks
Here in Barcelona, the grocery stores sell these adorable little cardboard boxes (think Chinese takeout box) filled with sweet treats. “They’re just so darn cute and perfect for our next road trip!” I would foolishly say to myself as I let our 8, 6 and 3 year old each select one.
But purchasing these “adorable” salty and sweet goodie boxes resulted in three massive problems. First, the NON-STOP requests for when the treats could be eaten. Second, the aftermath of too much sugar consumption – and we all know what a disaster that can be! And third, the NON-STOP requests for water after munching on salty snacks.
Stick with healthy yet yummy picks that travel well. Some of our favorites include sugar free licorice (which also help for carsick tummies), cheese sticks, dried mango/apricots or applesauce disposable packs.
Too many outfits
Listen, women love extras and packing for the unexpected! Extra shoes, handbags, outfits. But when it comes to traveling with kids (especially on budget airlines where bag sizes are limited), plan each day accordingly.
Sure, it always helps to have spare socks, underwear, even pants if you’re in the midst of potty training for example. But beyond that, don’t plan for your children to have multiple wardrobe changes each day – this isn’t the MET Gala!
Plan for each day and pack each outfit as such in these awesome airtight space saver travel bags. Trust me, it will make your life much easier and hassle free especially when you arrive home and it’s time for post-travel laundry!
Plastic Storage Containers
Here’s an opportunity to not only be practical and convenient but also environmentally conscious. Rather than pack snacks and toiletries in bulky plastic containers, look at some reusable options that won’t take up tons of space in your bags.
I purchased from Amazon these amazing reusable silicone bags perfect for snacks or anything that can leak. They are easy to clean and don’t take up a ton of space when packed. I also took it a step further and bought a set of metal straws with cleaning pipe and storage bag.
For toiletries, I have to pay homage to the amazing brand LUSH who offers shampoo in a soap bar form and reusable travel tin. Less space needed, no waste means happy mom, happy kids, happy planet.