Pack Light, Pack Right for Travel

    Today we welcome Laura of Climb with Kids.  She has some great packing tips for families (which personally I can never get enough of!)  As always, please feel free to leave her some love in the comments!

    Avoid Overpacking

    Over packing for a trip (whether it be a day trip, a flight, or a car trip) can be an expensive, painful, and backbreaking wake up call, especially for those with children.  Here are a few tips for the things you should consider when packing.

    1. The event of packing: Pack.  Do this on day one.  Unpack a few days later, then repack.   Do you need everything in the bag? Did you forget anything? Ditto for any children you are packing for.
    2. Clothes: Will you have access to a washing machine?  This will significantly cut down on all of the clothing required and can free up room to an exponential degree.  This is a vital piece of information for trips over 5 days long.
    3. Electronics: Will you have significant access to electric? If no, consider whether your phone/tablet/camera/etc., is required or if you can do without.  If necessary, do you have a charger (specifically one charger for all necessary devices).
    4. Water/Fluids: Will you have sufficient access to water? For plane riders, this is a no brainer. You can’t carry it through security but an empty water bottle can save some significant money later.  For hikers and others, it is important to know if you will have access to enough clean water for drinking.  If you are able to buy at a grocery store, waiting until your destination is cost effective and efficient.
    5. Food/Essentials: Will you be able to buy and/or find food and essentials while traveling?  If yes, bring snacks for the initial travel (drive/flight) but buy what you need upon arrival.  This will allow you to buy food that is specific to the local culture and cuisine without spending a bunch on gas station or airport junk.  Diapers and other children’s necessities can be purchased at the same grocery store, though making sure you have enough for the initial trip is important.
    6. Kids Equipment: Strollers/highchairs/other children’s products can and should be avoided during travel when at all possible.  Baby carriers are more efficient for all but the most Disney Park of vacations. (Tales of a Mountain Mama suggests a Boba Air Carrier for traveling.) Even those vacations include rental options for strollers and more.
    Image courtesy Shutterstock

    Image courtesy Shutterstock

    Required For Packing

    1. Clothing Layers:  Bring versatile garments that can be layers for every weather condition.  Rain, cold, ultra cold, hot, uber hot, etc.
    2. Water or water carrying jugs/bottles.
    3. Electronics:  Which electronics are required? Phones, walkie talkies, GPS.  Emergency/Flash charger. All of this depends on how far out of touch you will be and whether or not you will need access.
    4. Food: Healthy food that is not processed.  Dried fruit or GORP is a must.
    5. First aid kit:  A first aid kit with cleanser, antibiotic ointment, Band-Aids or gauze,  first aid tape, and aspirin.  Kids Tylenol is also a good bet when traveling with kids.
    6. Entertainment:  What will you (and your child) do for entertainment?  There are few things that are worth their weight when carrying and this is one of them!  Of course, you can find entertainment along the way, but crayons and a small notebook, playdoh, an interactive book, and/or legos can be a valuable addition to your limited space.
    7. Shoes: Take the fewest number of shoes possible.  Shoes are both heavy and bulky and take up room that you will regret later.  Pack your wardrobe so that you only need one pair of shoes for cross purposes (don’t bring a brown and a black, for instance).  Multipurpose shoes are the best!

    While this is a general list, it holds true for most every travel condition.

    A few extra considerations:  If you can buy it or rent it at your final destination, don’t pack it.  If you aren’t sure if it is necessary, leave it behind.


    Laura is a climber, traveler, dreamer and, of course, blogger.  Writing about having kids has changed her outdoor experience from wannabe dirtbagger to climbing mom.  She works full time, but believes it is important to teach her kids to love the outdoors, be self sufficient and believe they are capable of making things better (and so makes the time to do just that!)


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      1. Very useful post. Getting out the door with babies and young children is always a challenge and being (somewhat) organized helps! Thought you might enjoy this blogpost I wrote for Mountain Baby a while ago. While it’s not specifically geared to getting out for active adventure, as you know, getting out the door at all is an adventure for new parents. Hope you like it!.

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