For our maiden voyage traveling internationally with kids, we decided to see if we could pack as light as possible. The end result was 5 weeks worth of travel for a family of 5 (at the time) packed into 2 carryons. And it worked! (Although it was a little heavy to lug through multiple airports!)
We tend to give ourselves a little more space these days, but still try to pack as light as possible. When it comes right down to it, you have to figure out what works best for your family, and even that will change as your family grows and ebbs and flows in and out of seasons.
Clothes: When Going for a Month, Pack for a Week
My biggest tip for packing for travel, especially when traveling more long term, is to only pack for one week. We try to stay in housing that has laundry facilities, but even when we haven’t, this has worked well.
So here’s what usually gets packed for both kids and adults:
- Wearing 1 Travel Outfit
- 5-6 Outfits (usually 1 nicer, 1 “get dirty” outfit)
- Socks (2-4 pairs, depending on season and location)
- Tennis/dress Shoes
- Sandals/water shoes
- 1 Swimsuit
- 1 pair of pajamas
Baby Gear? Love It or Lose It
I’ve been on some travel forums where I’ve heard frustrated parents state that they can’t travel until they’re done with the phase of having to bring an entire truckload of baby equipment. While it’s true that babies truly need far less than modern society tells us, it’s also true that some families need certain gear in order for a certain level of comfort to be maintained. It varies with every family, but here’s what worked for us:
- Somewhere to sleep.
No crib needed, as we coslept. We have slept with our 3 oldest kids from babyhood on. This made a lot of parts easier, and some a lot harder. But when it came to traveling, it definitely made life easy.
- A stroller or carrier for young children.
Up through the time our fourth child started walking, we rarely used a stroller. Instead, we used a baby carrier, and for us our favorite was the Boba 3G organic carrier, which has lasted us through all 4 kids. It’s also been fun to babywear in cultures where this is the norm.
And then, we realized that an umbrella stroller did make things a little easier once our fourth child was around a year-and-a-half. We simply picked up a $15 umbrella stroller to test this out, and figured that we could leave it behind if we needed.
- Potty Gear
We’ve been able to exclusively use cloth diapers for the last 5 years of our diapering needs. (We’re currently diaper-free! Hooray!) This was occasionally a bit tricky, but we made it work in both Ecuador and Mexico, both onsite laundry facilities and without.
Once babies were into solid foods, we did use non-homemade wipes. In fact, we still travel with them even beyond our diapering days. We used Huggies natural wipes. Although we’ve been able to find them everywhere we’ve traveled, it was easier to bring most of them from home. As we used them up, we also created more space in our luggage.
Depending on the age and location of your child and their potty needs, it might help to
Tip: Check what baby amenities your lodging has available. Most probably won’t offer something like a baby carrier, but they may offer a highchair, crib or pack-and-play, and even items like an exersaucer or baby jumper.
Extra Gear: Work and Media Equipment
As digital nomads, we can’t just leave everything behind. Our work travels with us, and that means our equipment does, as well.
Thankfully, it’s still pretty light. We typically take:
- Macbooks (2)
More than likely, our list will also soon include a microphone to record videos and courses on the go.
Extras That Work for Our Family
We usually take a container of oatmeal with us, as well. It’s great to have a breakfast option if we arrive at night and don’t have time to pick up groceries. This holds us over
- I pack using eBags packing cubes.
- Each person gets 1 cube (when my girls were smaller, they shared)
- Cloth diapers go in their own cube, too
- Ikea also has the UPPTÄCKA packing set for just $9.99. I used these smaller packing cubes to pack my 3yo son and 7mo daughter’s clothes together.
Create A Packing Template
Whether you travel frequently, fulltime, or just a few trips a year, it’s a good idea to have a packing template.