One of our favorite things to do is travel and today I want to share some packing tips for families that I have learned along the way. Traveling as a family of 6 has taught me a thing or two when it comes to packing. We have traveled to a few European countries where the cars are much smaller than they are here in the US and I needed to downsize our packing quite a bit along the way. You can check out our travel gear here in this post. The first step is creating a packing list. I made this printable checklist a few years ago that you can check out. After I have my list created, I start with packing the kids. I use one duffel backpack and one small suitcase for all of their items. I lay out 4 rows, one for each child. This is a great way to see that you are not missing anything for anyone. Depending on the weather of our destination, this could vary. For Costa Rica, we need minimal layers and thinner clothing (which is a huge bonus for the light packing). You can see the way I lay these rows out below.
After I lay out all the rows, I make note of the items that I need to add. Some of these items may be in the laundry or missing. I add them in throughout the week (PS. I always start packing one week beforehand so that it’s a pleasant, slow process). Next I put all the clothing into cubes. I have the kids name on the back of them so that they know which ones belong to them. They each have two.
Here you can see that all three of the bigger kids have their cubes in the duffel backpack (Tom Bihn doesn’t make this one anymore and it’s a huge bummer because we LOVE them). All of the baby’s items and some miscellaneous kids items will go into the small suitcase. I still need to add diapers, baby monitor, toiletries, some thin paper books to read to them, and some other items I am probably missing.
When it comes to packing for us, we use a large suitcase. I layer any bags I take on the bottom. For this trip I have a thin beach bag and my hiking backpack. Next I put shoes in bags (so they don’t touch the clothes) – usually two pairs each. Then I use packing cubes for the rest of our clothes. It becomes really easy to find items when you have packing cubes for everything!