Packing for a vacation with kids can be pretty stressful. It takes me a week to prepare and get organized and I bring a lot of things with me, it is worth it though as it makes travelling much smoother and easier. We went on vacation a week ago and it was amazing. The place we stayed at had a washer and dryer, I would choose a place with laundry facilities over a regular one any day of the week. It was amazing! We were gone for a week and with a 5.5 month old it was glorious to be able to wash his clothes, especially after the fourth poop explosion in one day.
Pack days/weeks in advance and keep an ongoing list so you can add stuff as you remember it. Less rush when the trip comes and less chance of forgetting things. Also give yourself a lot of travel time, we ALWAYS end up leaving late for a vacation and you never know when you need to stop and diaper change/breastfeed for an hour. Obviously how much stuff you bring is directly related to how long you will be away. If it is a quick overnight trip you may not need much.
Here are some of my essentials when travelling on vacation with my toddler and baby:
A pack and play for baby/toddler to sleep in or a cot for toddler, their own comforter/blankets, comfort objects, massive amount of pillows (help support back for breastfeeding, line bed so baby can’t roll off).
Bring lots of extra clothes, for all weather, it may be 30+, but you never know if the place is air conditioned, the temperature drops or anything like that. Always bring clothes for warm and cold weather, including pj’s. Plus lots of extras for poop explosions, accidents, food spills, mud, etc.
Bring tons of wet bags (like for cloth diapers) and plastic bags. Kids are messy and you never know when you may need an extra bag for dirty/peed on clothes, an extra garbage bag, or just another bag to stash stuff in and carry it.
Tons of extra diapers/pull ups, vacation is the perfect time for poop explosions, diapers ripping, and other situations to make you run out. Also on that front, extra wipes. Although we cloth diaper, when on vacation it is just so much easier to use sposies, less stuff to bring (there but especially back), and a lot less work and smell (lugging around dirty diapers in a hot car does NOT smell good).
Those little sample bottles people give you of lotion/shampoo/soap/etc. bring them. You get rid of them easily and the small bottles take up less room.
Muslin receiving blankets (like the Aden + Anais ones) are amazing and so versatile, blanket for in the car, picnic blanket for outside, change pad, wrap around baby or help clean baby after a poop explosion, wrap around baby in carrier or over stroller to help protect from the sun. I usually bring a sarong for myself for the same reason, blanket, shawl, quick skirt, can change behind it etc.
Other Random Gear
Mommas and papa’s snug chair for baby to sit in, eat in, play in, a travel high chair, and potty seat for toddler. Carriers and stroller. Sometimes the stroller is used to lug stuff around while baby naps in the carrier, either way both get used a lot!
I don’t know what happens to meal times when we are away but we tend to eat a lot of snacks so bring tons of healthy and portable ones.
First Aid Kit
I have a toiletry bag where I keep all my medication essentials for baby/toddler, Advil and Tylenol for baby and toddler (yup that’s four bottles), Camilla’s and Hyland’s Teething Tablets, Gripe water, oval, cough syrup, cold medication, Hydrasense, snot sucker, saline nose wipes and nail clippers. If you bring this stuff, you probably won’t need it, if you don’t bring it you probably will! Even for an overnight trip, I bring everything with me as you never know when a fever or illness can strike. Plus Polysporin, bandaids, sunscreen, etc.
Bring a few child-proofing things such as door knob covers and cabinet locks to ensure they can’t get into dangerous places or escape your room. Don’t forget your monitors too! If you are in a condo or a cottage monitors are great to have so you can stay close but keep doors closed to minimize noise.
Bring some laundry soap, pods if they have a washing machine, individual ones for hand washing if not. Sometimes doing laundry in the sink (or washbasin while camping) is worth it to prevent permanent stains from those raspberries they ate! Don’t forget some dish washing soap to wash their sippy cups with.
A lot of the time you can find things where you are to help keep a baby entertained, measuring spoons, a chip bag, shoes, etc. I try to pack items for both kids that can do double or even triple duty, entertain both, and have multiple uses. Like stacking cups, Duplo, crawling caterpillar, books, etc.
Some of my favourite activities to keep my toddler entertained are without a doubt her Minnie Mouse clip on dress toy, she loves it (Po chews on it), her doctor kit to play Dr. Mc Stuffins, bag of goodies to keep her busy during baby naps like colouring books and crayons, lacing beads, dress-up magnet boards, etc. I also brought some movies for her to watch during quiet time if she doesn’t nap or we need to keep her busy during naps.
My sister let me borrow a really cool Duplo story book that comes with blocks to do the story.
For the Car
Pack a special travel bag for the car. Bee has a special bag I give her for the car with some books (new or put away so she hasn’t seen them in awhile), a Minnie clip on dress toy, and snacks that take a while to eat and they can do independently such as little boxes of raisins, an apple, little bag of goldfish, etc. I also found (as annoying as it can be) getting some of their favorite music can really help keep them entertained. Yes listening to two hours of Frozen or Dora the Explorer gets tedious, but better than listening to whining or them screaming and upsetting baby too.
For baby, lots of toys to chew on that are close by. If you don’t have two, sitting in the backseat and playing with them can really help too. On an eight hour drive from Boston Bee was amazing at nine months, I sat with her and read her books, handed her different toys and we stopped to let her stretch when necessary.
Getting organized while on vacation
When you arrive try to unpack as much as you can right away. Being organized helps you remain stress-free and it is easier to find things when you need it. Plus unpacking makes it seem more like home and everyone adjusts easier.
Travelling with kids can be a great way to explore and have fun as a family. I hope you get away on a vacation too soon!
What are your favourite things to bring on vacation? Favourite places to travel with kids?
Other travel posts you might enjoy:
Follow Raising Fairies and Knights’s board Mommy Support on Pinterest.
Updated June 28, 2017