My 10-year backpacking and travel photography experience has taught me a lot about packing my travel gear smartly. Until I became a first-time mom, I was sure about my packing skills because I followed a system in arranging my stuff. I didn’t expect that it would be so different and challenging when traveling with a kid.
Over time, I can say I have mastered the art of travel packing both as a photographer and a mother of a toddler. If you’re going to travel with your kids, here are 10 space-saving packing hacks that will keep you sane before and during your trip:
- Create a list and plan your packing
Make a checklist of all the things that you need to bring at least a week before the trip. Pack clothes in sets to save yourself from the trouble of choosing the right outfits to bring.
- Pack in lightweight luggage and bags
Use lightweight luggage for your check-in baggage and small hand-carry bags for travel documents and important gadgets. Store your camera and other gear in a handy camera bag for your photography equipment’s protection and your own convenience while in transit.
- Invest in packing cubes
Packing cubes will help you separate your things from your kids’ stuff. I bought two cubes in different designs, so my daughter can easily identify which of the cubes are hers.
- Roll your clothes
As many travelers say, it’s best to roll your clothes instead of folding them. Aside from saving space in your luggage, it can keep your clothes from wrinkling. You won’t need to bring a travel iron!
- Bring plastic bags
Make it a habit to bring plastic bags, so you can separate dirty clothes from the clean ones. Plastic bags can also come in handy when the kids decide to take a dip in the hotel’s swimming pool, especially if there’s not enough time to dry their clothes before you pack them back to your luggage.
- Stuff kids’ clothes inside your shoes
Maximize the free space in your packed shoes and stuff them with your kids’ clothing. Wrap the clothes in plastic and stuff them inside your shoes. Just make sure that your shoes are clean and odor-free to begin with.
- Pack according to the climate
Avoid packing the wrong kind of clothes. It would be a waste of space if you packed heavy and bulky winter outfits when it’s summer in the country during your visit. Research on the climate of the place before your scheduled trip, so you’ll know the type of clothing you’ll have to pack.
- Bring small amount of liquids
Save your luggage from space-consuming liquid bottles! Use toiletries from hotels that you’ve stayed at or if you have empty travel-sized bottles, refill them with enough amount of liquid-based products like shampoo, toothpaste, and your child’s favorite body wash.
- Leave behind bulky baby gear
When traveling internationally, you don’t have to bring your expensive and bulky stroller for your child! You can always rent baby gear in some places. It will save you from the hassle and worry of checking in baby strollers or carriers.
- If you must bring heavy garments, wear them
Packing heavy garments like jackets can consume a lot of space in your luggage or bag. Wear or bring them with you to save space and to keep yourself comfortable when it gets chilly in the car, airplane, or bus, especially in long trips.
Packing for your travel with your kids—especially the effort you’ll have to put in making everything fit in your luggage—is a stressful and time-consuming process, but with these space-saving packing hacks, you’ll definitely finish it in no time!
About the author:
Liz Pekler is a travel photographer with almost 10 years of experience in the field. When she is not out exploring the world, she likes to share her knowledge about photography and travel through writing for blogs.