Traveling with Children? Make a list!

We have been traveling quite a bit lately, whether it be just for two nights or a week, but it has given me a couple different opportunities to really get a feel for what it is like packing for not only myself but also our son. Let’s just say that each time I have forgotten something. I’ll blame it on my mom brain, which is cluttered with everyday information that I better not forget.

I recently took our son up to DC for four nights and five days. Granted the first night was at my parent’s house, but it still counts because I had to pack everything and take it with since we were leaving straight from their house the next morning. Our trip to DC was much easier to prepare for since we were going to a friends house whose daughter is three days older than Walker, so they had an abundance of age-appropriate toys. I got away with only packing two cups, since I could wash them each night, two outfits per day and the basics like shoes, socks, PJs, etc. I brought toys and snacks for the car but beyond that, everything else was pretty basic. I do bring his stuffed animals and blanket because he doesn’t like sleeping without them.

Last summer wasn’t quite as easy when it came to my packing endeavors. We had rented a house at Topsail Island for the week with my parents. That trip required a bit more planning since traveling with an eight-month-old requires so much more stuff than traveling with a twenty-three-month-old. You need all the bottles, brushes, baby spoons, snack cups, changes of clothes, diapers, bibs, wipes, pack-and-play, formula/breastmilk, high chair/booster seat, baby food, baby snacks, blankets, and all the toys and various apparatuses to entertain baby throughout your trip. Basically, anything you can think of that your child needs to survive, bring it.

My best advice for packing for any trip, whether big or small, is to make a list. I love lists. Lists help you survive. At least they help me survive from day to day. It also feels so good to cross something off your list once it is finished. So satisfying! Unfortunately, I didn’t make a list for our most recent trip and ended up forgetting our son’s sound machine. Lesson learned. Mental note: make all the lists from now on.  You can check out my vacation list from last summer and see the abundance of stuff I brought. This list changed a few times before I printed it off. I made it a couple months in advance and added things as I thought of them. Then, once we got closer, I modified the list to take off some items and only include the things I knew I absolutely needed to bring. As you can see, it is still pretty extensive. My categories might be a little funky but it was how I found best to organize it for my brain. We filled the entire suburban front to back, top to bottom with all of our stuff. We looked like the Griswald’s. However, I didn’t forget anything which I count as a win!

When I start my trip packing, I grab my list and work through it, top to bottom. I lay out all the items in an organized fashion and put a check mark next to it on the list. Then, once I actually pack the item into a bag I cross it off completely. When we have a big trip, I make lists for myself and my husband as well. It probably secretly drives him nuts but he won’t be upset when he doesn’t forget his brown dress belt!

We have a trip to Newnan, GA for a family wedding coming up soon and then we are headed to Disney for a week for our son’s second birthday, so my list will be getting updated for both of those trips. Just the thought of packing for a week at Disney is giving me anxiety. Send wine! I will definitely share my Disney packing list with once I have it set, although I am fairly confident that experience will warrant its own individual blog post.

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