If you’re dreading your next family vacation because the idea of packing for your little tribe makes your palms sweat, let me relieve some of your anxiety! We just got back from three weeks in Scandinavia with our two children – and we packed four personal items. YUP that’s it!
When traveling with kids, it’s easy to pack items you don’t really need. As parents, we have a tendency to pack unnecessary items just because we want to be extra prepared. This usually leads to a suitcase filled with excessive items you never use.
- Luggage – It is imperative you have the proper luggage to travel light! We had four personal item carry-ons so we did not have to pay any baggage fees. With airlines being so strict on luggage sizing, we were so thankful for our TravelOn Bags! TravelOn takes the guesswork out of luggage, making travel easier and safer. We used two of their under seat carry-on’s which were super convenient, and an anti-theft travel backpack that folds up into a small pouch!
- Compact Stroller – Let’s be honest – you don’t think “stroller” as packing light. However when traveling with kids, a stroller is a necessity. We LOVED our new MountainBuggy Nano Duo – an incredibly lightweight side-by-side double stroller. When folded up, this stroller has a shoulder strap feature which makes carrying it on public transportation or through airport security a breeze. The Nano Duo is super durable and was a smooth ride even on the cobblestone streets of Scandinavia. We used the MountainBuggy Travel Bag which kept our stroller safe and scuff-free throughout multiple gate checks (a must have when traveling!).
- Camera – I am a firm believer in real actual cameras – not just using a phone. Some cameras can be bulky, but our Fujifilm X-T30 is perfect for travel and takes phenomenal photos! I removed the lens from the camera and packed it easily in my carry-on. This camera is compact and lightweight with advanced handling and functionality. Not only that, but it is downright fun to take photos with! We even captured the Northern Lights, something the phone wouldn’t even pick up.
- Shoes – Shoes can take up so much room in a suitcase – which is why we only brought one pair of shoes! Yes that’s right, one pair of shoes each, and we wore them on the plane – taking up zero space in the suitcase! So what shoes were durable and comfortable enough for a three week trek in Scandinavia?! Our Naot Footwear boots! These boots are the perfect travel shoe – it not only looks good but is enhanced from within by Naot’s removable, anatomic cork & latex footbed, which is wrapped in microfiber & leather and molds to the shape of the foot!
- Plan to Wash – We packed seven days worth of clothes for both adults and children. This meant 3-4 pairs of pants, 5-6 tops of neutral color to mix and match, two pairs or pajamas. Plan to wash your clothes – you’ll be able to find laundry service almost everywhere in the world, either in your accommodation, or nearby. We also hand washed some items at the beginning of our trip when our bags were lost!
- Outerwear – Our three week trip to Scandinavia was going to be a cold journey, so we needed coats that did not take up too much space. We found these awesome packable jackets by Frugi for the kiddos – an excellent space saver! Our jackets were similar material and we wore them on the plane (always conserving space!).
- Packing Cubes – Each family member has their own color packing cubes, making it easy to organize and find items when we unpack at each location. This was the first trip we actually used our packing cubes and they really made a difference! Be sure to roll your clothes – rolling minimizes wrinkles and reduces the amount of air taking up space between layers of fabric.
- Entertainment– When traveling you want to have items to occupy the kiddos, but aren’t bulky. Our go-to items are stickers, coloring books, crayons, and play-doh. This trip we also brought water color paint and paper which made for a lot of fun without a mess – just ask the flight attendant for a small cup of water and voila!
There you have it! Packing light with kids IS possible, you just need to plan ahead and get organized! Oh, and resist that urge to pack everything in your house, it is possible to buy pretty much anything in case of emergencies while traveling abroad and domestic!