Thursday, 3 May 2012

Travelling light with children (what not to pack)

Some of you might think the above title an oxymoron but travel with children need not mean baggage overload. We recently made our first trip with the two children and suddenly the logistics of transporting two children plus baggage presented a slight connundrum. Two adults each have two hands with which to carry stuff but if one person is pushing a buggy they don't have any free hands to carry bags. Or if one person is carrying a baby in a baby carrier/sling of some sort, then carrying a rucksack or even holding/pulling a heavy suitcase can be difficult. As a consequence, the only solution we could see was to pack light.

We are generally the types to pack light anyway but an extra person in the family who also is the most likely family member to need additional changes of clothes in a day certainly adds to the load. Rather then tell you exactly what we might pack to go on holiday, maybe it's easier to tell you what we don't pack:

- Nappies, wipes, formula, baby food, etc. Of course we take what we need for the journey to our destination and a couple of spares but then we buy these items when we get there. You can get a lot of brands universally but if it's not exactly the same as what we buy back home, that's ok! A few days using something different isn't going to do any harm.

- Clothes for every day. We mix and match, plan on re-wearing or washing a few bits wherever we are.

- Toys. We take things like books, sticker books, and a few small toys for our son, mostly to keep him entertained on the journey but these are all small and light. We don't take anything else for him to play with once we get there and experience has shown this is the way to go. There are always more exciting things to see and play with. Those few travel toys usually don't get played with once we are on holiday.

-Bulky electronics. We don't take a laptop, a portable dvd player, a hairdryer or anything else along those lines.  I like to take time out from computers and technology when I'm on holiday and things like hairdryers are often provided or can be borrowed at your destination.

If you want to pack even lighter than I've suggested, have a read of this zenhabits post, Teaching Kids to Pack Ultralight. Unfortunately the vain side of me desires at least a little variation in the clothing for the sake of our holiday photos so I'm not quite ready for 'ultralight' ;-).

What is your approach for holiday packing? Are you a pretty good judge of what to pack or do you end up over-packing just in case?
photo credit


  1. Ooh I can be pretty terrible! Not the lightest of packers. Good advice about not taking the food, formula and toys. It gets easier the older your child gets (as I'm sure you know) but it's still tempting to think "they can't do without that" and they don't bother with it, or you then leave it behind (ouch)

    As for the capsule wardrobe - quite easy when you wear too much of the same colour!!!!! :D

    1. Well, I appreciate your honesty! You're right that it gets easier as they get older but I also think if you get them used to not taking loads of toys when they are young then they don't grow to expect it and they really can do without their usual forms of entertainment. With regards to your wardrobe, I'm wondering what colour you're referring to!


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