We love to travel and our family of five, including three kids aged 7, 4, and 2, travels several times a year. We have traveled to Canada, the UK, Hawaii, California, and Florida, doing everything from surfing to camping to relaxing on a beach. We’ve ventured by plane, train, and good old fashioned road trips complete with all of the joys that come from those long car rides!
Traveling with young kids is no easy task. It is a challenge we take on because my husband and I believe travel is *that* important and we want to not only show our kids the world, but it is the chance to see family as well. I am British and my husband is Canadian.
From all of our travel experiences, we have definitely made our mistakes over the years! From massively overpacking, to massively underpacking, it is safe to say we have experienced it all! Check out the these top ten tips for traveling with young kids.
- Pack your clothes in colored stuff sacks. This honestly has helped make packing easier for us, and you are able to easily find things when you are living out of your suitcase.
- Take four days of clothes - MAX! Do laundry, hand wash items in the tub or sink, or just wear dirty clothes. The only exception of course is undies when it comes to rewearing!
- Pack dark, quick-dry clothes that are easy to wash and dry. This is definitely helpful when you are following tip #2! And, with dark colors, you have a smaller chance of any stains being visible.
- Layers over Sweaters. Instead of taking up a bunch of space with sweaters for cooler weather, pack layers. They are much more versatile and are smaller to pack.
- Take a 20 liter stuff sack for laundry. With a family of five, there is a lot of laundry to be done at the end of a long trip and this 20 liter stuff sack helps us keep the clean and dirty clothes separate.
- Good quality Carabiners, small and big, have become some of our most essential travel tools. We use them for almost anything, attaching a water bottle to a bag, helping a makeshift tent stay up, etc.
- Even if your trip doesn’t include camping, we have found ourselves using a headlamp nearly every time we travel. It is especially helpful when we are packing up the car late at night!
- There is nothing being on the highway and passing the last rest stop for the next 30 miles and hearing “I have to go to the bathroom!” That is why we invested in a portable potty and it has come in handy for kids and parents so often!
- Prepare a travel first aid kit stocked with melatonin, ibuprofen, bandaids, and for those of you traveling with a baby, a snot sucker. You just never know when you are going to need these things and so you don’t want to be caught short.
- The last, but certainly not least piece of advice that we have is to BE FLEXIBLE! Go with the flow and let go of the expectation that everything will be perfect. That photo you worked hard to get everyone to smile in, yet you still end up with a crying kid, is still going to be an amazing memory to look back on. It is the memories and experiences you are creating together that truly matters.