Come learn how to stay organized when traveling with kids. I’m sharing my favorite practical tips, tricks, and products for organized travel and keeping all of the kids things tidy without losing your mind!
In my pre-kid days, I traveled quite a bit. I lived abroad, I studied abroad, and I traveled both alone and with friends and family. I had the organized packing thing down. But no matter what your individual packing skills look like, traveling with kids is a whole different ball game.
Being responsible for yourself and your own stuff is easy. Being responsible for several other people and their stuff when you are on the go is something else entirely. Today I’m going to share just a few tips to help you stay organized (and sane) when traveling with kids.
Who’s ready to get packing? Let’s do this!
Color Coordinate your Clothing
I have seen some people recommend packing individual outfits in individual gallon-sized plastic bags. These people have clearly never met my children. Packing one specific outfit for each day sounds like a great idea. It’s a great idea until someone spills something and needs a new shirt or pair of shorts. Or – better yet – like my son who needs a new shirt even if he just spills a little bit of water that will dry in 5 minutes.
So, when we pack, we color coordinate. All of our tops must coordinate (even if ever so slightly) with all of our bottoms. Think about creating a small capsule wardrobe for your vacation. Don’t plan outfits for your kids, because we all know that plan will never work out. Instead, ask yourself: “Will this top go with at least half (preferably more) of the bottoms that I’m packing?”
Here are all of the tops and bottoms that I packed for my son. Note the color scheme:
Repeat the same process for each family member.
Color Coordinate Your Family
This may sound over the top, but every mom who never has a “nice” photo of her and the kids will understand this. When we travel, I do my best to color coordinate the whole family, especially on days when I know we will be out and about taking lots of pictures. Because, when the moment strikes, you may just end up with that “nice” picture that you’ve been looking for. Or, in my case, you will end up with this, which is “nice” by our standards (the three of us don’t always photograph well):
But, I digress…
Color Coordinate your Packing
While we are talking about color coordinating, you can also color coordinate your packing. When EzPacking sent me The Complete Bundle, I was able to select two colors. I (obviously) chose gray and turquoise:
The Complete Bundle is the most efficient way to buy and get started with packing cubes. BUT if you’re a light traveler, I highly recommend EzPacking’s Starter Set – a set of four cubes will pack 7-10 days of clothes. PS: for reference, the Complete Bundle included TWO Started Sets!
When we travel, I pack one medium suitcase for my twins to share, along with one smaller suitcase for myself. Each child is assigned their own color of packing cube, making it easier to find the right item for the right child quickly.
All of my son’s clothes for the week fit perfectly in a large gray cube:
All of my daughter’s clothes for the week went in a large turquoise cube:
This is where packing cubes have been a total game-changer. You really need to re-think how you pack here. Stop piling things on top of each other, and start thinking vertically!
When you sort things into neat piles, your are setting yourself up for organizing failure. Piles inevitably fall over or get mixed up. Plus, if you want to use every inch of space (right up to the top of the suitcase), your piles will need to be falling over the suitcase edge.
When you pack vertically, each cube stands on its side, keeping its contents separate. Plus, you can maximize space and pack right up to the suitcase lid, without things spilling out the sides.
Then just pull a cube and go!
So, do you love these Packing Cubes as much as I do already? Check out EzPacking’s shop to see all of their offerings:
As a thank-you to my readers, EzPacking is offering a special discount just for YOU. Click here to get 10% discount.
Maybe I’m a mean mom or something, but I don’t go crazy when packing travel entertainment. A few toys, a handful of books, and a portable DVD player. On the last trip, the kids were barely interested in the iPad, so that may actually sit out on our next trip. What can I say? I guess my kids have low expectations…
The small and extra small packing cubes are perfect for packing kids items in their carry on bags. The extra small cube fit small activities for in-flight entertainment, and the small cube holds our DVD player and 2 movies. What?!?! Only 2 movies? Yep, I’m a mean mom…
Give Them a Bit of Responsibility (Gasp!)
Did you notice earlier when I mentioned their carry on bags? Yes, even my 4-year-olds have their own carry on. It’s just a small backpack with their favorite cartoon, but still. We’re starting early.
Each kid is different and ready for different levels of responsibility. But don’t be afraid to involve them in the packing process, or make them responsible for a certain bag or item. And for heaven’s sake, when your 4-year-old wants to be in charge of a roller bag, you let him:
So there you have it! I would love to hear your tips for organized packing and travel in the comments section below!