I think the biggest challenge of traveling with 2 tots is packing. For a month in Israel I started packing 2 weeks before. For our recent trip to Sedona which was 8 days I began packing 1 week prior. After Israel, which was a long trip in the fall when the weather could turn either way, I learned a lot about packing.
1. Ziplock baggies make great organizers. For the trip to Israel I put each of Adam’s tiny baby outfits in a Ziplock bag. The whole outfit-onesie, pants, socks, a diaper, and a long sleeve top. I put all of his pajamas in one bag, all of Ben’s socks in a bag, and all of his sweaters and jackets in another bag.
2. The rule of halves. If you’re destination has affordable or free laundry use the rule of halves. Divide the number of days you’ll be away in half and pack as many shirts, pants, dresses, etc. Exception to the rule: take seasonal weather changes or frequent outfit changes into account. For example, I figured for our recent trip to Sedona for 8 days the weather would be cool in the morning and at night, Adam typically needs an outfit change after breakfast-so I packed 4 warm shirts and 4 sets of pants for the morning to wear and 4 t-shirts and 4 shorts for midday. I did laundry midway through our trip.
3. 2 pairs of shoes is all you need. A dressy pair and sneakers. A waterproof sandal and a pair of Toms. Basically one special pair and an everyday pair of shoes. Don’t forget to pack them in your Ziploc.
4. Take advantage of 1 piece dressing. Rompers and dresses are prefect for diaper bags or travel and take up less space than separates.
5. Pack toys in backpacks. Your toddler can carry on his/her own backpack with small books and manipulatives. They feel special and grown up while you save space in your bag.
6. Don’t bring the kitchen sink! I had diapers, wipes, toys, bedding, and books waiting for us at my in -laws. They also had car seats and booster seats waiting for us. My parents in New York had toys and diapers waiting for us at their house. All of these items were borrowed from neighbors. In Israel they do have rental baby gear for tourists so consider that when traveling abroad. In San Francisco we had a rental car and car seats were rented too.
7. Go light on the baby gear. Umbrella strollers, sleeping bags, baby wearing are a lot easier than a pack and play or heavy stroller to pack and lug.
8. Use a backpack diaper bag. You can easily babywear in front and carry a backpack at the same time.
9. Minimize your own packing. I gave up make-up since staying and did not pack a stitch of it to take to Israel. I can use hair conditioner also as an in shower body lotion. Little tricks like this save space for the kids stuff.
Stroller hooks, stroller carrying bags with straps, and a basic first aid kit are important to have on hand as well. I always take Tylenol or Ibuprofen, DoTerra oils, and teething toys with us. I have Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes downloaded on my Ipad and YouTube Kids on my IPhone to entertain. We do a mix of busy bags and IPad time when we’re flying.
Traveling with babies and toddlers is one of the most brave things I’ve done. I used to be very nervous about it and dread it, but now my boys are seasoned, world travelers. I feel much more comfortable now that we have logged some miles and memories taking them on future trips. What packing tips do you have for a first time traveling mom or dad? What can’t you live without on trips to keep your kids entertained? Please share in the comments below.