This month, we are taking a short road trip and spending a few nights at a hotel in Houston. Packing for my littles ones is something that never fails to overwhelm me; so I am creating a universal packing list. I intend to use this for future trips too, like the road trip to Colorado that I am already dreading. Last time we made that trip, we only had two children . . . and now we have four.
Traveling with small children really does mean packing everything but the kitchen sink. My words of advice are these: pack fewer toys and clothes.
My children are never interested in their own toys in a new environment. Chewing on a hotel room phone is way cooler than playing with a ball from home.
And a word on packing fewer clothes: This advice I have yet to follow, but I intend to do so this time! I am packing one outfit for each day away from home. Period. The exception to this rule is if your child is younger than six months and is still spitting up and drooling everywhere; then pack at least three outfits for each day.
When we made the 10 hour drive to Mississippi last year at Thanksgiving, I packed way, way too many clothes. It was such a hassle keeping up with all those clothes and finally unpacking them all when we were home. In fact, I am pretty sure it took me almost a full week just to unpack.
Like I said, packing and unpacking take so much energy and time. Therefore, it is my goal to pack less and pack only what we really need!
This list is geared toward the needs of younger children. Of course, you probably won’t need everything on this list, but it is a good starting point.
Printable version: Packing List for Children
First Aid & Toiletries
- Digital thermometer
- Children’s ibuprofen and Benadryl
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Nail clippers
- Baby shampoo
- BandAids and antibiotic ointment
- Diapers (4 diapers per child per day)
- Swim diapers
- Diaper rash cream
- Bedding linens/sheets
- Overnight diapers (Tip: We use overnight diapers for road trips to maximize time in between needing to stop for diaper changes. I also apply diaper rash cream preventively when we fly or drive with the babies.)
- Sound machine
- Baby blanket, lovie, or stuffed animal
- Pajamas (always pack extra in case someone wets through the diaper)
- Baby spoons
- Sippy cups
- Travel high chair (We use the Phil & Ted’s Lobster )
- Coordinating tops and bottoms for the number of days away from home
- Hair accessories and sun hats
- Swimsuits and floaties
- Ipad with charger
- Coloring books and crayons
- A few small toys (I usually pack a few things that are not a big deal if they get left behind)
- Car seats (if flying)
- Bouncy seat or Bumbo (If baby is younger than 6 months, I recommend taking one.)
- Pack’N’Play or Fisher Price Rock’N’Play Sleeper (great for traveling with newborn twins)
- Child’s health insurance card
- Copy of child’s birth certificate (if flying)
What do you pack for your baby or toddler? What are your traveling tips?