When someone says they never check luggage, that they always only travel with a carry-on, I’m a bit suspicious. They always talk about how freeing it is to just hop on the plane without a care in the world, and just hop off and start their trip. But how is it possible? What about the liquid restrictions – do you have to buy new toiletries at every destination? Since we’ve began traveling with our daughter (and now, our son), my husband has laughed at the celebrity-sized pile of luggage and gear that accompanies us. But I’ve never forgotten something important, we’ve never had to rush to find a medicine because we needed medicine, and we’ve always been able begin our holiday immediately, without a trip to the market for essential needs.
* Divide all your furniture into all your bags, don’t have one bag per person. This way, if a bag does get lost, one person isn’t left with nothing upon arrival. This tip is especially useful when traveling with a baby, so the bag that’s gone missing isn’t the one with ALL the diapers, or formula, or food…
* Roll, instead of fold, your clothes. Everything gets a little less wrinkled and you can fit more in as well.
* Let your kids pack for themselves – at least their carry-ons. You’ll have a lot less complaining during the journey if you’ve let them choose their own books and games. Do a quick scan to make sure most of it is travel appropriate, and be sure to remind them that THEY’LL be carrying it! My 3-year-old loves to pack her travel case, and we’ve had no complaints about ignored “necessities”!
* No matter your destination or the time of year in which you’re traveling, always pack a swimsuit and a sweater. Most hotels have pools, and most airplanes are chilly.
* Always bring along a small bottle of laundry detergent. If you find you’re running short on underwear or T-shirts, a quick wash in the bathroom sink can get you through. It can also help to prevent stains from setting if you can’t do your laundry immediately.
Make sure you don’t forget anything important by following a packing list, and take comfort in the fact that if your bags were full of diapers and food, they’ll be that much lighter on the way home!
Corinne McDermott is the founder of Have Baby Will Travel: Your Online Guide for Travel with Babies, Toddlers, and Small Children. Mother of two, she’s appeared on Canada’s top-rated speak and morning shows delivering tips on traveling with little ones, and her writing’s been featured in Canadian Family magazine and the Huffington Post.
About Social Toddler: Social Toddler™ provides local event and activity listings, parenting advice from industry experts, and a social networking platform where parents can find playgroups, plan playdates and meet other moms and dads in their area.