The concepts of packing light and family trips don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, particularly if you have young children. Regardless of where you’re going or how long you’ll be gone for, you probably feel like you bring your entire home along when you go on a family trip. It can be easy to get overwhelmed, and you want to make sure everyone has exactly what they need, but the result is often just that you overpacked.
It can make family travel more difficult, and you might end up paying a fortune in luggage fees.
When you’re traveling as a family you want to keep things as simple and streamlined as possible, so you can focus more on your trip and less time on dragging too much luggage around.
So, how do you make it work? How do you make sure you have everything your family needs without going overboard?
The following are some tips you can keep in mind to pack light for your next family trip.
Don’t Pack with Your Kids
If you’re packing for a family trip, it might seem naturally like you’ll include your children in that, but all you’re going to do is make things harder for yourself. Kids are going to want to bring along everything they spot in their room, and luggage will quickly get overpacked. Instead of packing with your kids, do it when you’re alone, so you have total control over what’s going into everyone’s bags.
Your kids will never notice if their collection of stuffed animals isn’t brought along on the trip, and packing will be less stressful.
Don’t Bring Toys
Speaking of not bringing along your kids’ collection of stuffed animals, you’re going to need fewer toys than you think.
Kids are generally pretty fascinated by the travel experience, particularly if you’re flying or you’re going somewhere they’ll enjoy. Even if you bring a lot of toys and gadgets, they’ll probably be quickly forgotten, and you will have wasted valuable packing space.
Find Products the Family Can Share
When you’re packing hygiene and grooming products, try to make them as multipurpose as possible, and also try to ensure that everyone in the family can use the same thing. You don’t necessarily want to buy these items at your destination because they can be pricey in tourist hot spots, but keep it simple.
For example, choose small sizes of a combination shampoo/conditioner and body wash that will work well for everyone in the family. If you need hair products to tame flyaways for everyone in the family, try to choose one good versatile hair product that works for everyone.
Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are a great option if you’re traveling with your family. These are lightweight canvas bags that can be zipped up and keep everything separated. This not only helps you stay organized when it comes to unpacking at your destination, but they can help the interior of your suitcase stay more organized as well.
Bring Mix and Match Clothing
If you want to minimize what you have to bring for your entire family, choose simple, solid-colored mix and match items. This will give everyone a lot of different outfit choices, without having to bring too much.
As a final note on packing for your family, call ahead and if your hotel or lodging has things like pack and plays or strollers available, take advantage. The fewer pieces of bulky gear you can take, the better your trip is likely to be, and then when you’re done, you can just leave it behind. You might have to pay a little extra to rent kids’ equipment and gear, but that cost is likely to be lower than what you would pay for going over weight limits with your luggage.
The key to packing for your family is to be smart and strategic with what you bring.