What family doesn't need packing tips for their travel adventures? I know when I was a young mom, I had no idea how to pack everything we needed for trips with kids.
It took trial and error and learning from other moms what travel gear was best, what travel packing hacks were genius, and what I really needed to bring vs. what could stay home.
I'm all about sharing ideas and not reinventing the wheel, so you may have seen these hacks and tricks before. And if you have any great ideas that I didn't include, please jump down and share and I'll make sure to give you credit!
Read on below to find out what packing tips I've learned after 13 years of family travel.
1. Make a List
The very first thing you need to do is make a list of EVERYTHING you will need on your trip. You can break it down by category (clothes, toiletries, gear, etc.) or you can make it by person (mom, dad, baby, etc).
Head over HERE to get a free printable packing list for family travel - it'll save you time and the stress of forgetting something!
2. Pack Snacks in Containers
Our number one travel rule is to pack snacks. My kids are grazers - nibbling here and there all day long. I bring along snacks on flights, to munch on in hotel rooms, and even on car rides.
I love this portable snack container from Amazon. It's easy to measure out formula or baby food, or for older kids, to keep bite-sized snacks in.
3. Create & Bring a Travel First Aid Kit
You never know when someone will get hurt, need medicine, or require first aid. Like Scar from the Lion King recommends, it's best to....
Here's what's in my kit:
If you are flying, make sure you pack the first aid kit in your carry-on so you have access to it at all times!
4. Roll, Don't Fold
Out of all the packing tips, this one has made the rounds all over Pinterest, but for some reason, I didn't start using it until recently.
If you are someone who doesn't like wrinkles in their clothes (and who really does?), roll your items instead of folding them!
5. Pack Outfits in Plastic Bags
This tip is super helpful for those traveling with little ones. Pack each day's outfit in a separate plastic zippered bag. This way, you can easily know you have a shirt, bottoms, socks, and underwear all ready for the day.
Additionally, after the day is done, place all worn/dirty clothes back into the plastic bag and you won't have to worry about the worn clothes getting the clean ones dirty!
This is also a great way to keep wet items (swimsuit, towels, etc) from getting everything else damp if you don't have time to dry them before you depart.
6. Tuck in a Pillowcase for Dirty Laundry
If you don't want to pack your outfits in plastic bags, just tuck in a pillowcase into your suitcase and put all your dirty clothes in there to keep them separate!
Also, throw in a dryer sheet (or three) to keep your clothes smelling fresh and clean!
7. Cross Pack
Of all the packing tips out there, this one would have saved me hours of headaches if I had known sooner.
If you are traveling as a family with more than one suitcase, CROSS PACK!! This means put some of your child's items in your suitcase, some of your items in your child's suitcase, and so on.
This way, if one of your suitcases gets lost in transit, you'll still have some things to get you through until it is found or you can buy new items.
8. Cling Wrap Under Lids
This one blew my mind when I first started using it. I can't tell you how many times I've had shampoo/lotion/hair gel open and get all over my clothes in my suitcase... *facepalm*
9. How to Pack a Hat
I almost always bring hats when I travel. They keep the sun off my face and I can just throw one on instead of doing my hair (don't tell!).
But how do you pack a hat and not get it all squished and ruined?
First, fill up the head part of the hat with clothes or other items that will keep it's shape.
Second, place the hat on the top of your clothes, but make sure the head part has a hole to sit in.
Last, make sure the brim is supported on all sides so it doesn't get bent!
10. Put Heaviest Items Near Wheels