Packing is already a tricky endeavor when traveling alone and even more so when traveling with children. However, with simple planning ahead of time and a strict inventory list, packing with children can become easy, efficient, and stress free!
Depending on the age of the children, there are some essentials to bring. In terms of children still in diapers or using formula, make sure to bring enough for at least 2-3 days. That way, if something goes wrong or your flight gets delayed a day or two, you still have enough to last. However, buy the rest of the diapers and formula in your final destination. This also accounts for most toiletries. If you don’t want to buy your toiletries at your final destination, buy small containers and bottles. Transfer a small portion of each item into these containers and bottles. Because of the stingy rules for carrying liquids through security, pack as many liquids as possible in your checked luggage. Only keep essentials such as baby food, baby formula, breast milk, and medications within your carry-on luggage.
Start packing early and give your children choices. While it is important to oversee the packing of their checked luggage to ensure all the essentials are packed, give them a bit more freedom when packing their carry-on. Assign each child a small backpack (easy to handle when walking through an airport!) and explain that they are allowed to pack whatever they would like in their backpack. However, clarify that they only get that much room. That way, you control the size of their carry-on (the smaller, the better!) but give them the responsibility of choosing what they would like to bring. Most children travel and sleep with some sort of blanket or stuffed animal. Make sure that this is packed and included in their carry-on to avoid any major meltdown at the airport or final destination.
Usually it doesn’t make sense to pack a high chair, crib, and any other bulker items. In most cases, a stroller is sufficient enough. Furthermore, most hotels will supply a crib or pack-n-play, although call ahead of time and double check! A stroller is useful for quickly getting children from point A to point B. Furthermore, it can double as a seat when at a restaurant. This is especially useful when restaurants have outdoor seating. If you don’t want to use a stroller at a restaurant, there are small, fabric, foldable high chairs that make a good alternative. Furthermore, a booster seat is much smaller and serves the same purpose. Make sure to properly label all of your bulker items, such as your stroller, just as you would any other luggage item. If possible, bring a travel case or large garbage bags to put your stroller in for the flight.
While most of these suggestions are geared more towards flying, there is a bit more flexibility when driving. However, regardless of your mode of transportation, it is always best to travel as light as possible!