There was a time when the team was less experienced when travelling with children. The luggage bags were packed full with clothes and foods, and the bags remained full on the flight home. While you do not want to miss out packing the diapers, overpacking is something you would want to avoid, especially with the exuberant excess baggage fees they charge over the counter.
Practice makes perfect. With time, the team learned what was excess, and what was not. Like bringing 60 pieces of diapers was an excess, but boxes of snacks were not. We hope to assure anxious parents that you do not need to pack the whole kitchen, and you absolutely do not need to bring the whole wardrobe. 5 tips to reduce your luggage:
1. Scheduled laundry
While planning your travel, find out if there is a washer available in your accommodation. Airbnb usually lists this out. Otherwise, if you are in the city, try to locate a laundry shop nearby. Slot laundry times in your travel itinerary and if it is a long trip, plan to rewash the clothes at least once.
2. Minimal toys/books
Trust us on this, your children will always find something interesting to play with on the trip. A stick, a puddle of water, and they may also find someone interesting to talk to on that long plane/train ride. You do not need to pack along huge trucks, a dozen dolls, or lego bricks. Give each child a small ziplock bag, and he chooses what to bring along, but with heavy editing on your part before departing. Speaking of small toys, you would want to avoid bringing them for the flight. Unless you want to spend 70% of your time retrieving toys from under the seat. How to survive a long haul flight then? Check out our “Travel With Under 5” post.
3. Favourite Local Snacks
Pack only your children’s favourite snacks/drinks which you will not be able to buy at your destination. Cookies and biscuits are generally found in all parts of the world, so do not bother with these. However, if your child likes to snack on seasoned dried laver, and you are going to the North Pole, by all means, bring some along.
4. Appropriate quantity
Do the math. If on routine your child changes his diaper thrice a day, and the trip is 10 days long, then you pack 30 pieces + 20% buffer. Despite the nagging worry that your child may suddenly decide to poop three times a day during the trip, in most cases children generally follow the same biological routine.
5. Car Seat
Even if you plan to be on the road for days, skip bringing it along and consider renting one together with your car rental.
Most importantly, think realistically about what you can carry and cope with. Handling children and mountains of bags at the airport may be quite a feat, even with some help.