I’ve struggled with creating a good post about packing tips because I feel like I pack differently depending on where we are going. There was no “this is how to pack” I could come up with. I do feel like we travel a lot for all different lengths of time to all different types of places and very rarely come home with things we didn’t wear or run out of clothes while we are away (knock on wood). So after a lot of thought I finally figured out how to explain how I pack with a simple packing guide.
I am a visual person so I had to sketch it out…. then I realized that the sketch made more sense than me trying to explain it… so I turned the sketch into a printable guide. You can click here to download and print it for free. I hope you come back over and over again and use it for all different types of trips.
Simple Packing Guide for Kids
When trying to figure out how to explain how I pack I realized a lot depends on whether or not there is a washer. I originally wrote washer & dryer but if you travel to Europe (and many other places in the world) it’s just a washer. This is important to note because a big part of how I’ll pack for this summer is making sure I bring quick drying clothes and clothes that look ok sans dryer (say goodbye to your Hanna Andersson unders kids… it’s time for the paper thin version from Target!).
If there’s a washer and dryer it’s much easier to pack for kids and not bring a ton. When we are flying somewhere I really try to make sure there will be a washer. The amount we can pack knowing we can do laundry for 7 people vs needing to bring clothes for an entire week for 7 is a BIG difference. I prefer carry on only so I try to pack light.
What do we pack in? If we’re not flying I only use these totes from Land’s End in the XLarge size.
If we’re flying and just going to one location The 3 oldest wheel these: Expandable Spinner. I’ve had them for years and even for the inexpensive price they really hold up (plus there are fun colors!). I can usually add clothes for the other 2 in their siblings bags + mine.
If we are going to be bouncing around a lot (like Europe) I am a big fan of backpacks for the kids. It worked out really well when we went to Italy a few years ago. This time around the boys will use the girls old backpacks and I got the girls bigger ones. I will link to them once I try them out and make sure they actually fit all of their clothes!
Regardless of what their suitcase/backpack/ tote is, I always have them pack a small backpack of their “stuff”. I listed it out in the guide but this bag is all theirs to pack. I like to make them accountable for packing something and I just jot down the list for them to follow. This also saves me from the questions like “did you bring my goggles?!”. They are responsible for those. They also know they will be carrying this bag themselves the whole time whether it’s on a plane or at their feet in the car. They know not to over pack it!
This simple packing guide is for summer trips or spring break/winter trips to warm places. At some point I’ll do one for the winter. Although I find winter trips can be a lot trickier to pack by a “guide” depending on where you are going. You should see how many bags we need to go skiing.
I’ll share more as I attempt to pack for our 5 week trip in only carry ons… we’ll see how it goes. If you want to see how I packed for a month last time, check out this post.
I hope printing out this simple packing guide will help you out this summer. Let me know what you think and if you use it!