Navigating the transition from packing as an individual to packing for kids can be challenging. While we’ve spent our entire lives mastering the art of personal packing– our worlds are turned upside down when kids come into the picture. The “essentials” list expands to include new items previously never considered— changes of clothes, diapers, snacks, favorite toys, pacifiers, tech devices… the list goes on!
Traveling is intended to be an eye-opening experience for children, exposing them to new people, cultures, sights, and encounters. Some would say it’s a crucial part of their socialization process. With COVID-19 travel restrictions putting a limit on the experiences children have had over the last couple of years– we know it’s crucial to get back into the action. But how can newer parents best navigate the intimidating waters of packing for a family vacation with kids?
Our advice for easing the stress of traveling with kids? Organize a plan, and be prepared.
5 Tips for Organized Packing When Vacationing with Kids
1. Do Your Research
The first step for any properly planned vacation, kids or no kids, is doing your research. Rolling up your sleeves and deep-diving into Google reviews, weather reports, local tips, and recommendations should always be phase one of planning the perfect family vacation.
Getting a feel for what the weather will be like, how much walking will be required, the types of activities on the itinerary, and the dress code of your destination provides you with the framework for creating a curated kids packing list equipt for each scenario.
Once you’ve researched your destination, start listing outfits that can be worn and the accessories required for each activity. Get creative here and try to stretch items across multiple days, and activities. Shoes are typically suitable for more than one activity, especially for kids– so planning out a pair that are versatile will help you save space and the pain of overpacking. Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be a headache– and doing your research can help to avoid any unnecessary stressors along the way.
2. Create a Packing List
Time to get out the pen and paper (or maybe the excel spreadsheet, depending on your style) – and create the ultimate kids packing list for your family vacation. Need some inspo to get the wheels turning? Truffle’s extensive list of packing list templates offers inspiration for every type of family vacation. Roadtrip, beach vacation, or trekking to see Grandma and Grandpa– each call for their own travel must-haves for your kids. This is also a fantastic way to get older kids involved in the process of packing. Print out your kids packing list, then allow them to have the satisfaction of drawing the “check marks” next to each item as they’re collected. Teaching them proper organizational skills and recruiting an assistant for yourself along the way, win-win!
For added help creating a custom kids packing list, we love writing out a roadmap that highlights each day of the trip, and loosely what the day's demands may be. How many times will your family go out to dinner somewhere more formal? How much time in the sun will you be spending (hello, sunscreen!), or what types of adventurous outdoor activities are on the agenda? All of this road mapping will ensure that your vacation with kids has the right amount of clothing and accessories needed for each facet of your trip.
3. Become a Folding Expert
Now that you’ve determined what to pack for vacation with kids, the next crucial step is actually packing it. We all aspire to achieve Marie Kondo’s level of organization and preparedness– especially when it comes to managing our children’s clothing and belongings. Here she showcases her expert abilities when it comes to folding kids' clothes, something all parents are certainly familiar with.
No expertly packed suitcase is complete without proper and consistent folding techniques. Marie Kondo’s method of “vertical folding” allows for easy packability and visual access to all items in your child’s suitcase, or even your own!
Vacations with kids shouldn’t have to be messy, and in fact– establishing good habits while traveling will help your kids organizational skills both during travel and while at home. Proper folding ensures clarity, organization, and ease of access to all items throughout the duration of your trip. Fold expertly and stay organized.
Compartmentalizing is key, as it keeps all aspects of your child’s suitcase accessible, visible, and in check. No exploding suitcases here! Plus— upon arrival at your destination, you can teach bigger kids to arrange their cubes in place– toiletry cube on the vanity, clothing cube on the dresser, tech device cube on the bedside table. Just because we’re not at home doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice all of our routines, and organization.
When traveling with kids, it’s best to remain as ahead of the game as possible. Creating themed packing cubes for each of the categories required during your stay will help those wanna-be-stressful moments play out with ease. Heading to the pool with the kids? Zip open the pool packing cube for sunscreen, sandals, and sun hat. Are the kids fussy and desperately in need of some distraction? Pack your tech cube in your tote for easy access to tablets, gaming devices, books, or small toys.
Packing cubes help to keep items that work together bundled. AKA, no more digging through bottomless suitcases searching for a clean onesie. Plus, they make packing your child’s suitcase a breeze, and searching for specific items needed on the fly extra easy. Level up your Super-Mom abilities with packing cubes for your kids.
5. Make Plans - But Be Prepared to Break Them
Our final tip for preparing yourself when traveling with kids is more of a mindset. Ultimately, we vacation with children because it’s important to show them worlds outside of their own, and to share experiences and make memories with one another that can be cherished for a lifetime.
While we can make our spreadsheets and calendars that plan our vacation to a tee– it’s unlikely that everything will play out exactly the way we’ve planned. Our recommendation: Embrace it!
The moments when things go awry, you veer unexpectedly off course, plans upend–these are often the moments when some of the most lasting memories are made. Make plans, but be prepared to adapt and embrace the journey you end up on together.
Truffle’s for Vacations with Kids
When it comes to organization– there’s nothing quite as satisfying as the clarity Truffle bags provide. These clear little bags pack a big punch when it comes to keeping your kid's travel essentials in order– and look elegant while doing it. Let's run through some of our favorite Truffles for traveling with kids.
No vacation with kids is complete without a set of packing cubes to keep your suitcases in check. Achieve stress-free organization for you and your family when you pick up our Clarity Packing Cube Trio.
Perfectly sporty and sleek with just enough dimensionality to hold all of the accessories your child needs on a daily basis. Small sunscreen, pacifiers, snacks, or smaller toys can fit in this perfect catch-all for kids' accessories– the Clarity Pouch is one of our most versatile pouches with endless possibilities for traveling with kids.
The Clarity Tech Clutch speaks for itself– minimally elegant with infinite applications. Store your kid's tablets, game consoles, or books in this sleek clutch. Toss it in your carry-on tote bag for quick access and clear organization.
Dual-sided zippers make for easy access to this versatile and structured jetset case. A travel favorite of ours, this case is perfect for moms on-the-go who need quick access to travel essentials while their family is on the move.
Truffles and travels go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise that when traveling with kids you can rely on our clear accessories for that added boost of stress-free organization. Explore our collection of travel favorites for even more inspiration for your next family vacation. Happy Truffling!