Packing is an art that not many of us are able to perform with effortless grace. And if packing for yourself is at least remotely feasible, packing for your kids (as well as your husband, which often tends to be the case!) is a whole other story. I’m sure that most of you have experienced your share of panic-stricken moments, checking haphazardly – already halfway to the airport – for passports, spare contact lenses, phone chargers, over-100ml perfume bottles, and so on.
When it comes to travelling with kids, first-time young parents may get somewhat overwhelmed with the seemingly never-ending list of “essentials” that steal all the suitcase space.
Pacifiers, swaddle blankets, toys, and a whole wardrobe of clothes and accessories to ensure your little ones are safe and sounds (and stylish!) in every situation – the list goes on. Even vacation pros can still struggle from time to time, as the airport requirements grow stricter and the demands become higher.
So, to make your next family trip a little easier, we asked our two littlehipstar mums, Ceyda and Nele, about their fail-proof packing strategies, their thoughts on travelling today, and what they love about holidays with the kids.
What does travelling with kids mean to you? How has it changed?
Ceyda: “Well, first of all, I have to pack for 3 now. Plus my husband. Although I’m hoping to rid him of that habit. Of course, packing for the kids comes first, but not before I make a detailed to-pack list for all of us to cross off the items as I go along. I also try to book flights so there’s guaranteed nap time – in fact, my eldest son Ali thinks planes are essentially for sleeping…”
Nele: “Same for me, I now pack for me, my daughter and my husband. And I now think twice if I reeaally need to bring my high-heels.”
Has your to-pack list changed since you’ve become a mother? Is your suitcase now filled with things you never had to worry about before?
Ceyda: “Actually, not really. I was always very relaxed about the whole thing, and still am. As long as I have my list!”
Nele: “Well, I swapped my heels for Birkenstocks…and I now take even more pairs of sunglasses. Since my style is more laid-back now, I upgrade my outfits with sunglasses for that extra edge.”
What do you like best about travelling with kids?
Nele: “Good question! It’s definitely more fun – kids are very spontaneous, so with Samira it’s never boring! Plus when travelling together, I don’t have to feel sad and miss her like when I have to go on trips by myself. I also want my girl to enjoy travel itself – discover new places, meet new people, broaden her horizons…”
Ceyda: “Travelling with kids is always full of surprises. My 3-year-old LOVES it. He’s always in a good mood and that instantly makes everything that much more fun! My baby son is still very small so he’s sleeping most of the time. Generally, travelling with my kids is very organized and fast-paced, so everything runs pretty smoothly. And I’m not the one to shy away from extra service when needed.”
Any personal tips on destinations, hotels, or words of advice for our readers?
Nele: “There are plenty of kids-friendly hotels everywhere. It’s just important to check all the facts before you book. A playground is always a big plus. And if it’s a spa hotel, it’s best to find out ahead if there are specials for kids.
Ceyda: “ I tend to try and keep it as simple as possible. I always make sure that the hotel fits my needs – connecting rooms are a must, baby cot, too. Kids-friendly service makes a huge difference, that’s for sure. In terms of destinations, we try to pick places that are convenient and fun for the kids, so places with aquariums, zoos, the beach and the mountains are ranking high on our list.”
But regardless of the destination or the season, there are some things that you simply can’t do without when packing for kids. With the help from Ceyda and Nele, we have compiled the ultimate checklist for you to reference and get inspired by, featuring ten must-haves that you need to have in your suitcase.
The littlehipstar Top 10 Travel-Checklist
- First aid kit, filled with such necessities as
- Saline nose spray
- Antiseptic spray
- Nail scissors
- Entertainment assortment – picture books, toys, iPad…
- Spare clothes and extra shoes in hand luggage (you never know!)
- Snacks for the road
- A pacifier or favorite baby blankie (for immediate soothing)
- Warm clothes (it can get very chilly even in the summer. Also on airplanes!)
- Hats – be it panamas or beanies
- Sunglasses (not only for style but also for UVA/B protection)
- Foldable buggy
We’d love to learn about your packing secrets, as well as your favorite holiday spots, too, so be sure to share your tips with us in the comments sections below!