If you are new to traveling with your children, the amount of gear you have to pack might take you completely by surprise. Far be it from me to make your baggage even heavier, but there are a few lightweight items that you can pack to make your vacation much easier. If you are traveling by plane, you might consider picking up these items once you arrive at your destination. If you are traveling over the road, you can easily toss these things in an extra bag in your trunk.
Paper plates and napkins
You can pack more than 50 paper plates in less space than a t-shirt. You won’t need nearly that many, but if you are staying in a hotel room without a kitchen, a few paper plates can make traveling with kids a lot more manageable. Paper plates and napkins will allow you and your kids to spread out and relax instead of hovering together over a pizza box in your room.
Cups with lids and straws
I have some stackable plastic cups with heavy duty lids that we got from QuikTrip, our favorite convenience store chain. These cups are light, compact and seal tightly. They’re so much better than the lidless paper cups often provided by hotels. The miniscule packing space you lose can save you from lots of travel messes.
Hotels usually provide a small plastic bag for your laundry, but one bag might not be enough if you are traveling with small children. Whether you have to carry wet swimsuits or a life jacket, clothes soiled by spit up or spills, muddy shoes or sandy towels, you’ll be glad to have a few trash bags stashed away.
Training pants or diapers
I strongly recommend training pants for your little ones who are not yet fully potty trained or who recently started sleeping through the night without using the toilet. Travel can exhaust small kids, and when children are exhausted they may be more likely to wet the bed at night. Bring extra training pants or diapers just in case.
Even if your kids leave the house healthy and happy, they might fall sick over the course of your trip. Packing a few medications, like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or an antihistamine can keep you from having to leave your hotel room in search of a drug store in the middle of the night. And don’t forget your insurance card, in case you need to take your little one to a doctor or emergency room while you are away from home.
These few items won’t add much weight to your bags, and you’ll be very glad you have them if you need them. I hope you find this list helpful on your next family getaway.
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