packing

How to Pack a Natural Medicine and Toiletry Kit for Family Travel: This is what we bring in our natural medicine & toiletry kit when we travel as a family. While backpacking with kids, we've found the key is to combine packing light while still preparing for the unexpected.

How to Pack a Natural Medicine and Toiletry Kit for Family Travel

At long last, we come to the final details of our packing — what’s in our toiletry and medicine bags.

I’ve already shown you what we pack for babies & toddlers and for children. But even though our kids carry all their own clothing, shoes, toys, school books, etc. Ryan and I are the ones who carry all the other miscellaneous items for the rest of the family

Of course, we’ve already got to carry all our own clothing, shoes and personal items, plus a few extra items for baby. Which means our toiletry and medicine bags need to stay as light as possible, while still taking into account they’re for seven people.

In this post I’ll show you what’s in the following four bags:

  • Our medicine kit
  • Our toiletry bag
  • My personal makeup bag
  • My purse (which goes on all outings, planes, etc. with us)

I’ve laid out every single item in each of these bags, with numbers that correspond to a list of what it is and what we use it for.

One little caveat before I show you what’s inside:

I’m definitely on the crunchy side and have very strong preferences about the personal care products we use, as well as how we treat sickness and injuries. As a result, I probably carry more than I might otherwise, because it’s harder for me to get the particular items I want, especially for our medicine kit.

I’m a “just in case” person who always wants to be prepared for every scenario (this makes it HARD to become a light packer, but it goes to show if I can do it, anyone can). We’ve also got very young children with us, and so I pack with more of a better-safe-than-sorry mentality when it comes to them.

To get around this, I basically re-package everything and try to make it as compact as possible. I store different kinds of pills and capsules together (I write a key for myself on the bottle or lid in black sharpie), I put powders and capsules in ziploc baggies, and use teeny tiny essential oil vials. I find every possible way to save space. This lets me get away with a really varied medicine kit in a relatively small bag.

What we pack in our travel medicine kit:

How to Pack a Natural Medicine and Toiletry Kit for Family Travel: This is what we bring in our natural medicine & toiletry kit when we travel as a family. While backpacking with kids, we've found the key is to combine packing light while still preparing for the unexpected.

  1. Herbal tinctures – We use this set of three herbal tinctures for malaria prevention, and if needed, to begin treatment until we can get medical help. There is one for prevention, initial treatment, and then follow-up treatment. We used these on our first big trip when we were in Africa and still have enough left for this trip. We’ve already begun taking one bottle of the prevention formula before we leave, since we’ll be heading almost immediately to the jungle.
  2. Activated charcoal – for stomach upsets, diarrhea, food poisoning, spider or other bug bites, etc.
  3. AfterSun Balm (Badger)
  4. Essential Oils – Plant Therapy KidSafe Tummy All Better, Terra Shield (bug repellent blend), and small travel size vials of frankincense, peppermint, a homemade citrus blend, eucalyptus, headache blend, On Guard, melaleauca (tea tree), and geranium bourbon (for ticks and other bugs).
  5. Powdered vitamin C – immune boost, or to do a parasite flush (as directed by my naturopath)
  6. Bentonite clay – cuts and scrapes, bug bites, stomach troubles, diarrhea, skin rashes or irritations, and a facial masque for mommy if she’s lucky.
  7. Zinc lozenges – for colds or sore throats
  8. Betaine HCL capsules – part of a protocol I’ve been doing with my naturopath to heal some gut issues – I take them before eating something that may be hard for me to digest
  9. Various bandaids
  10. One large non-stick gauze pad
  11. Emergen-C electrolyte drink packages – one of the main things I wished I’d had on our big trip was these electrolyte packages. I could make my own rehydration drink with ingredients from the store (salt, lemon, honey, mixed with water) but this is much more convenient, especially when someone gets sick on a travel day.
  12. Silver gel – we use this instead of antibiotic ointment (like polysporin). It works amazingly well, as silver is a natural antibiotic.
  13. After-Bug Balm Itch Relief stick (Badger)
  14. Thermometer and tweezers
  15. Temperature-stable probiotics (Bio Kult) – to help feel normal again and repopulate good gut bacteria after tummy upsets
  16. Children’s Advil – we’re of the mind that it’s better to let fevers run their course naturally, but we’ve also been in situations (while traveling) where a child had a really high fever and was getting dehydrated and I wished I’d had something like this as an emergency fallback. So now it makes the cut.

The blue bag is an Eagle Creek Pack-it-Sac in medium.

I’ll also note that you can buy many of the ingredients you need for natural remedies almost anywhere — onions, garlic, raw honey, ginger, lemons, etc, not to mention far more than this if you luck out and come across a health food or vitamin store.

What’s in my purse:

This is the everyday purse I carry to go shopping, when we go sight seeing, etc. It’s a travel safe bag, meant to be protective against theft.

 

How to Pack a Natural Medicine and Toiletry Kit for Family Travel: This is what we bring in our natural medicine & toiletry kit when we travel as a family. While backpacking with kids, we've found the key is to combine packing light while still preparing for the unexpected.

  1. Sunglasses
  2. Spray sanitizer (for hands, surfaces, etc.) – I bought this one at Whole Foods but it’s sort of like this
  3. Lip balm
  4. Visine dry eye drops (traveling on planes really dries out my contact lenses)
  5. Emergency snacks for a grumpy baby. 🙂
  6. Travel hair brush (this opens up and the brush part flips out – I’ve never used one before but I love it!)
  7. Ginger capsules for motion sickness, but this also contains some pain relievers and activated charcoal – I put them all in the same small container to save space.
  8. My mini first aid kit – herbal salve, mini essential oil rollers (one has a headache remedy, the other is a pain reliever), mini vial of lavender oil, motion sickness essential oil blend (put a drop behind each ear – it doesn’t take it away but it does help prevent/take the edge off), Emergen-C packets, cough drops, bandaids.

What’s in our family toiletry kit:

How to Pack a Natural Medicine and Toiletry Kit for Family Travel: This is what we bring in our natural medicine & toiletry kit when we travel as a family. While backpacking with kids, we've found the key is to combine packing light while still preparing for the unexpected.

  1. Clear Care contact solution – I’ve been using this brand for years and it’s what my very sensitive eyes prefer, so I lug full-size bottles of it when we travel.
  2. Deodorant (mine)
  3. Deodorant (Ryan)
  4. Face lotion (mine)
  5. Toothbrushes (all but mine)
  6. Razors and extra blades
  7. Comb
  8. Badger Anti-Bug Sunscreen (Badger makes my favorite all-natural sunscreen – this is our first time trying the anti-bug version)
  9. Shampoo
  10. Conditioner
  11. Liquid castile soap – we use this instead of bringing a bar of soap. It’s also lathers up well to use as shaving cream, and can be used as dish soap or do house cleaning in a pinch.
  12. Facial cleanser (mine)
  13. Contact case (mine)
  14. Nail clippers and Q-tips
  15. Toothpaste
  16. Bug spray (Badger)

The black bag we use is no longer available, but it’s a pretty standard toiletry bag with a hook for hanging it up in small bathroom spaces.

Though we may one day when the kids are bigger, we don’t currently travel carry-on only. We usually check at least Ryan’s big bag (it’s over the size limit, for sure) and sometimes mine, and then bring our day packs on the plane.

Since we check his bag, we can travel with larger amounts of liquids, so long as he’s the one who keeps our toiletry bag. I keep the medicine bag instead, since it has much less liquid and could pass through security if needed.

What’s in my makeup bag:

 

How to Pack a Natural Medicine and Toiletry Kit for Family Travel: This is what we bring in our natural medicine & toiletry kit when we travel as a family. While backpacking with kids, we've found the key is to combine packing light while still preparing for the unexpected.

  1. Makeup – 4 eye shadow, 2 lip balm (one shiny), colored lip gloss, liquid foundation, 1 eye shadow brush
  2. Earrings – Just a few pairs that go with most outfits, but I’ll pick up more as souvenirs. They’re one of my favorite things to buy when we travel because they’re memorable and cheap, but so compact.
  3. Various hair elastics, clips, bobby pins
  4. Extra contact lenses (3 month supply)
  5. Non-toxic nail polish – I always keep my nails painted in sandal-wearing weather and it can be tricky to find non-toxic polish in other places.
  6. Another fold-up hair brush (this way I’ve got one in my makeup bag for mornings, but also one in my daypack for transit days)
  7. Diva Cup – I’m a recent adopter (mostly in preparation for this trip) but man oh man, why did I not try sooner? I’m a total convert. Having previously experienced the joys of getting my cycle on the road (and in developing countries no less), I cannot even tell you what a game changer this is. I also picked up some small alcohol wipe packets and stashed them in my purse and daypack (they’re super cheap at any pharmacy), so I have a way to disinfect the cup if I’m stuck in an area where I can’t access clean running water.
  8. My toothbrush (I like to keep it away from the minions, er, children – Ryan does the same) and tweezers
  9. My personal supplements – Deep Immune (a mix of herbs, mostly adaptogens, that my naturopath recommended to boost my immune function which has been low due to gut issues and stress), plus grass-fed organ complex capsules (basically a superfood complex – read more here).

Phew! You have now seen ALL the ins and outs of what we’re bringing to Central America for three months this spring.

And this is essentially what we’d pack for nearly any length of trip, because it’s just about right for what we can comfortably carry without feeling overloaded with stuff.

The good news is that even those with strong preferences can still usually find what you need on the road. I found it to be true over and over again on our year-long trip that I could get anything I really needed, so long as I stayed flexible, maintained a sense of humor and used a little ingenuity.

That’s what we bring in our natural medicine and toiletry kit for family travel! Any questions or comments? Just let me know!

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A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Moms & Dads: In this post we show and tell our very detailed "travel light" backpacking checklist for moms and dads (because it's different than with kids in the mix).

A “Travel Light” Backpacking Checklist for Moms & Dads

So you wanna see the inside of our bags? That’s what this post is all about – a light backpacking checklist to show you exactly what a mom and dad (as opposed to just a single couple) bring while traveling with kids.

This is our third time backpacking for an extended period of time and so we’re getting a little better, but I think we’ve also gotten less strict.

On our first Big Trip we were newbie backpackers and keen to follow all the exact recommended guidelines we’d read about – bring only one pair of shoes, no jeans (or one at very most), 2-3 bottoms maximum (and definitely zip-off pants), etc.

Though we still do our best to travel light these days, we’ve not quite so militant and we’ve discovered it’s nice to allow ourselves little indulgences, even if it means a slightly fuller pack. For example:

  • Ryan wants two pairs of jeans. I tried to talk him down to one and his bottom line was since they’re his only pants (and he really doesn’t like travel pants), he’d like two to switch between, even if they’re bulky. End of story. Edited: Once he did a final pack of his bag, he decided to ditch the extra pair. 
  • I allowed myself three pairs of shoes. On our first trip, I had my Keens and thin flip flops only. This time I added a pair of cute sandals, because I got tired of feeling a little on the frumpy/sporty side when we weren’t doing something active.
  • I could probably ditch my black skort and be fine, but I really like the idea of using it as board shorts or something waterproof I can wear at the beach when I don’t want to wear swim bottoms. Same with two pairs of shorts – I could live with just one.
  • I’m ridiculous when it comes to a travel medicine kit. I’m very naturally-minded and knowledgable about home remedies, and bringing a good variety of them with me makes me feel better about 3 months in developing countries with kids, where we’ll be doing a whole lot of outdoor activities. I packed it as carefully and compactly as I could but still… it’s large.
  • We’re bringing our favorite new coffee (mushroom coffee – have you heard of it? We love it!). We decided to splurge and get a really large supply to last us most of the trip. Overkill? Totally. And we’re not 100% sure if we can fit it all (of course, we’ll use it up as we go along, so our loads will lighten). But sometimes you just want to bring things you enjoy.

Aside from those examples, we DO like to keep it light. When you’re trying to keep track of five children and their packs (including a baby in a stroller) packing light really is the only way to go.

Our goal is that when its required of us to haul all our stuff from Point A to Point B, we can literally thrown on one backpack per person, hold some little people’s hands and push a stroller, and voila. We’re portable.

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Moms & Dads: In this post we show and tell our very detailed "travel light" backpacking checklist for moms and dads (because it's different than with kids in the mix).

The backpacks we use

You’ve already seen what we pack for our kids and the backpacks we’ve chosen for them here:

A “Travel Light” Backpacking Checklist for Children 

A “Travel Light” Backpacking Checklist for Babies & Toddlers

As for us, I carry the Osprey Meridian 22″ 60 L pack with a detachable daypack. Ryan carries the same thing, but his is the 28″ 75 L version (the daypacks are the same). Mine is technically carry on size (with the daypack off), although Ryan’s is large enough to need to be checked.

Both are wheeled convertible backpacks, meaning they have a retractable handle and wheels and can be pulled like a suitcase, but they also have backpack straps that you can unzip and pull out when you need to wear it instead of pull it. The daypacks snap right onto the front of the pack, so the whole thing becomes a single unit. It’s a clever bag!

So let me walk you through exactly what’s in each of our bags for our upcoming 3 month backpacking trip in Central America.

A travel light backpacking checklist for moms & dads:

What’s in Stephanie’s pack… 

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Moms & Dads: In this post we show and tell our very detailed "travel light" backpacking checklist for moms and dads (because it's different than with kids in the mix).

Starting at the top left and working my way clockwise:

  1. Our travel medicine kit (it’s just a waterproof packing bag filled up with stuff I chose)
  2. Black packing cube – my tops and bathing suit
  3. 3 pairs of shoes
  4. Money “belt” (goes around my neck – I rarely use it but I’ll wear it for things like long bus rides)
  5. Undergarments
  6. Jacket and sweater (note: I’ve since figured out how to compress my sweater more and fit it into the packing cube with my tops – hurray!)
  7. Turquoise packing cube – my bottoms
  8. Purple travel towels
  9. Scrubba
  10. Baby blanket
  11. Pink wet bag
  12. Red make-up bag

*Don’t worry, there are more details about all these items below. I just wanted to give you an overview. 

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Moms & Dads: In this post we show and tell our very detailed "travel light" backpacking checklist for moms and dads (because it's different than with kids in the mix).

Dress:

  • Dark gray knee-length dress (MEC) – It’s worth noting that I can’t nurse in this dress, and if I wasn’t down to nursing only in the morning and at night, I’d have chosen something I could nurse in. This is a travel dress, in a quick-dry fabric, and I love that it’s casual enough to wear for everything (including hiking or the beach) but the color makes it classy enough for dressing up if needed.

Bottoms:

  • Black maxi skirt (Reitmans) – I opted for a maxi skirt instead of a shorter one because my dress is already knee-length, and women dress quite conservatively in certain parts of Central America, so I thought I’d be more comfortable with this and it’s pretty cool and airy in hot weather.
  • Linen shorts (Athleta)
  • Black sport capris  (Athleta) – these are a perfect everyday bottom for almost any activity.
  • Blue/white batik ankle pants (Athleta) – These were a surprising purchase for me and together with the linen shorts, they’re replacing my convertible travel pants (pants that turn into shorts). We’ll see if I’m glad I went this route or not, but these are made with very light, strong, moisture-wicking fabric, and yet they look cute and classy. These pants plus the shorts fold up to about the same size as my convertible pants, so I felt like it was a fair switch.
  • Dark blue skinny jeans – my most lightweight pair for faster drying (Reitmans, again – clearly, I’ve officially become a middle-aged mom)). Edit: Since writing this (literally, before I even published it) I started questioning this decision and I’m currently leaning towards bringing modest jean shorts instead – I have enough longer items for when I need to be modest in more traditional towns/cities so again, the modesty issue. But we’re hitting mostly hot weather and I think I’ll genuinely wear my shorts more than my jeans. EDIT AGAIN: I ditched both the jeans AND the jean shorts. Instead, I’ll save the space for buying a modest sun dress on the road and I’ll take my chances on being chilly a few times, and will have to just wear my one pair of ankle-length pants whenever the bugs get bad. This had been bugging me for weeks, but I actually feel great about this new decision. See a longer explanation below in the comments. 
  • Black sports skort (I got this on clearance somewhere last summer) – I’ll use these like board shorts for the beach and for exercising. Edit: I found a pair of black sport shorts that pack up a bit smaller and that I prefer to the skort, because they’re comfier to use as sleeping shorts as well. Yay!

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Moms & Dads: In this post we show and tell our very detailed "travel light" backpacking checklist for moms and dads (because it's different than with kids in the mix).

Tops:

  • 1 long-sleeve button up shirt (Eddie Bauer – mine looks similar to this but in more of a light-blue, almost-chambray sort of color) – this is light enough to use for mosquito protection in hot weather, or I can roll up the sleeves and wear it unbuttoned, like a cardigan or beach cover.
  • 3 short sleeved shirts (this, this and this)
  • 2 sleeveless tops (one black – Eddie Bauer clearance from last summer, one purple – sold out)

  A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Moms & Dads: In this post we show and tell our very detailed "travel light" backpacking checklist for moms and dads (because it's different than with kids in the mix).

Outerwear:

  • Dark purple yoga jacket (Lulu Lemon four years ago) – I bought this for our original round-the-world trip and it still looks amazing! It’s discontinued but somewhat similar to this. It’s warm and classier than most yoga jackets. EDIT: I found a new yoga jacket on clearance that folds up smaller (the main downfall of this purple one) but still feels warm and cozy, so I’ve swapped it. Same basic function, but less packing space = awesome. 
  • Black rain jacket (MEC) – Lightweight and folds up small. I chose black because it looks classy enough for Europe or any big city, but it’s rugged enough for hiking in the jungle.

Footwear:

  • Keen’s Newport H2 sandals (Amazon) – I wore these on our big world trip and they’re still going strong (although this may be their last trip). I use them for all athletic activities – hiking, running, ruin climbing, etc.
  • Chambray & leather sandals (TOMS – discontinued) – I bought these last summer for a trip to Italy and I adore them. They’re so comfortable and just dressy enough for when I don’t want to wear Keen’s or flip flops.
  • Flip flops – I bought these four years ago while traveling in Israel, at a night market. They’re Havaianas and still holding up. I like that they’re thin, so they pack well.

Other:

  • 2 layering tanks – one white (fitted, thin straps), one coral (less fitted, thick straps)
  • 1 dorky summer hat – I bought this somewhere on our world trip when I was desperate and have kept it because I don’t have any other foldable summer hats. If I find something more stylish, I’ll replace it. If not, at least I’ll be cool in one way, if not the other.
  • 6 underwear – mostly ExOfficio and two pairs from MEC 
  • 2 socks – one SmartWool (REI – but mine are gray), one cheap cotton
  • 2 regular bras (nude & black), 1 sports bra (white)
  • Tankini swimsuit (Costco)
  • A thin scarf – for shoulder coverage in churches, to dress up an outfit, as a light shawl in the evenings, etc.

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Moms & Dads: In this post we show and tell our very detailed "travel light" backpacking checklist for moms and dads (because it's different than with kids in the mix).

And because I know women care about this sort of thing, here’s a look at the clothes and some of the outfits they make.

Most tops can go with most bottoms, so I really do have a lot of options! (On a side note, I joked with Ryan that I was going to make him try on all his travel clothes so I could take photos of his outfits and he’s such a good sport that he was like “Well, ok” until he realized I was kidding. Do most men actually care about their “outfits”? I’m voting no.)

Other items in my big bag:

  • Baby blanket – Just a large, light blanket, like a swaddling blanket but big enough for a toddler
  • Our medicine kit
  • Wet bag with drawstring – for dirty laundry or wet bathing suits
  • Two small travel towels (Amazon)
  • Scrubba (Amazon) – super amazing, foldable bag for washing clothes on the road. This seriously saves my hands when I have to do a lot of hand washing. Plus it does a better job.
  • Eyeglasses
  • Make-up bag (also has hair elastics, extra contact lenses, small bag of earrings and a couple necklaces, a couple supplements I take daily, etc. Basically just my personal stuff.)
  • Coffee and tea. I like my beverages.

What’s in my daypack:

  • Kindle (Amazon)
  • Pencil case for homeschool (pencils, erasers, pens, a sharpener)
  • Homeschool books/blank paper – The blank paper is because we’ve found the kids often want plain paper for drawing and creating. We buy a large package of paper when we stop somewhere for a few weeks, then I carry a small amount in my daypack once we’re more actively on the road again. This time I’m trying to keep all our our schooling supplies to my Kindle, a pencil case, the iPad/laptops, as well as four duotang folders. I made one per big kid by ripping out the relevant pages of their math, language arts, spelling, etc. The three oldest will carry their own as well as a trip journal (where they’ll do daily journaling and writing/drawing assignments), and I’ll carry the 5 year old’s since his backpack isn’t large enough to fit it along with his clothes.
  • MacBook Pro 13 inch laptop
  • Diapers and wipes for Oliver (he’s 20 months old)
  • Trip details mini Moleskine notebook – this is where I write all our important details for flights, accomodations, addresses & phone numbers, important phrases in another language, etc. I learned to do this after having a hotel’s name and address stored on my email… and my laptop had died during our flight… and I couldn’t get WiFi anyways to retrieve it from my email… and it was 11:30pm in Buenos Aires and we were driving around lost in a taxi. Now I write it all down and keep it with me at all times.
  • Travel purse – I’ll pull this out when I just need a small bag for going out. It’s a Pacsafe CitySafe 50 Shoulder Bag. The idea is that it’s slash-proof, lockable, and RFIDsafe (to prevent card scanning through your purse). I like it in theory, but the strap is uncomfortable. For now, I’m using it until I eventually get something better. Within this purse I keep:
    • sunglasses
    • wallet/cash/cards/passport (when it’s not locked in a safe somewhere)
    • lip balm and eye drops
    • mini first-aid kit (a couple essential oils, band-aids, herbal salve, motion sickness meds, electrolyte powder, etc.)
    • iPhone 
  • Photocopies of important documents (passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, travel insurance info – Ryan will also keep a copy of all these)
  • Foldable plastic baby bib 
  • Reusable shopping bag 
  • Bose earphones (Amazon)

What’s in Ryan’s pack…

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Moms & Dads: In this post we show and tell our very detailed "travel light" backpacking checklist for moms and dads (because it's different than with kids in the mix).

Top left, going clockwise:

  1. Family toiletry kit (the entire family shares this bag) – Ryan carries this since it has a couple containers larger than the 3 oz. carry on size and his bag is too large for carry on.
  2. Shirts
  3. Supplements (B vitamins and magnesium spray in an old CleanWell bottle)
  4. Contact lenses
  5. Shoes
  6. Jackets
  7. Socks/underwear
  8. Pants and shorts
  9. KidCo Peapod Plus portable baby bed
  10. Missing from photo… more of that mushroom coffee, LOL!
  11. Also missing: Boba Air Baby Carrier (it came in the mail the day after we took photos)

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Moms & Dads: In this post we show and tell our very detailed "travel light" backpacking checklist for moms and dads (because it's different than with kids in the mix).

Bottoms:

  • 2 pairs dark blue jeans – Edit: he took one pair out, so now it’s just one pair of jeans. 
  • 1 swim shorts 
  • 2 casual shorts (MEC) – one cotton, one quick-dry
  • 1 jean man-pri’s (I lovingly bug him by calling these his version of capris, but they’re basically extra long jean shorts)

Tops:

  • 6 tee shirts -most are some sort of athletic or moisture-wicking fabric – Ryan loves him some LuluLemon tees and he’s got at least one from MEC as well. Edit: when doing a final pack, he removed one, so he’s down to 5. 
  • 1 short-sleeved polo shirt – I wanted him to bring one shirt with a collar in case we run into a situation where we’re invited somewhere that a tee shirt just wouldn’t be appropriate
  • 1 sleeveless shirt (LuLuLemon, I think) – moisture-wicking, good for running or exercising
  • 1 long sleeve layering shirt (LuluLemon – moisture-wicking)
  • 1 long sleeve lightweight pull-over sweater (LuluLemon – are you seeing a trend? This is Ryan’s favorite brand for everyday. He hardly bought any of this specifically for traveling. I think it’s discontinued but it’s this style.)

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Moms & Dads: In this post we show and tell our very detailed "travel light" backpacking checklist for moms and dads (because it's different than with kids in the mix).

Outerwear:

  • Casual zip-up windbreaker (H&M) – This is more stylish and comfy than it is travel-savvy. He just likes wearing it.
  • Black shell jacket (REI – Arcteryx – similar to this but I think his is discontinued) – Lightweight and folds up small. It’s more of a shell than a rain jacket, but it technically serves both purposes. Edit: When doing a final pack, he removed this to save space and kept only the windbreaker. Personally, I’d have done it the other way around, and kept the coat with the hood. But he cares less about getting his head wet, so he’s happy with his decision. 

Footwear:

  • Merrell Moab Waterproof Hiking Shoe (Amazon) Note: He’s decided not to bring these and just bring his Skechers. He really doesn’t love these shoes (he has finicky arches and doesn’t like many shoes) and these are clunky and he figures realistically, he’ll hardly use them. If he truly needs another pair, he’ll buy some while we’re there. And he hates sandals, so there’s that.
  • Skechers Go Walk 3 Charge Walking Shoe (Amazon) – Ryan wears these shoes day in and day out, including indoors while walking on his treadmill desk. He wears them so much I think he’s on pair number four. He just keeps buying them again, so I guess that he means he likes them.

Other:

  • 5 underwear (Ex Officio)
  • 10 socks (cotton ankle socks, H&M) – the man likes his socks. At one point during our year of traveling, we were going through our bag and he counted (and I kid you not) almost 20 pairs he had accumulated!

Other items in Ryan’s big bag:

  • PeaPod Plus portable baby bed (Amazon) – This is going on the bottom of Ryan’s bag. It’s a little bulkier than we were hoping but can be squished down a bit and only adds 3.5 lbs.
  • Our family toiletry bag
  • Boba Air Baby Carrier (Amazon)
  • Supplements – B vitamins, magnesium, etc.
  • Extra boxes of contact lenses 

What’s in Ryan’s daypack:

  • Kindle (Amazon)
  • MacBook Pro 13 inch laptop (but lucky Ryan has a new one that’s way thinner than my old one)
  • iPad Pro and pencil – he uses the app Duet and connects it with a cord to his laptop as a portable second monitor
  • Packing cube with cords, international plug adapters, etc. Basically everything for charging our various gadgets other than our large laptop charging cord.
  • Diapers for Oliver
  • Sunglasses
  • wallet/cash/cards/passport (when it’s not locked in a safe somewhere)
  • iPhone 
  • Photocopies of important documents (passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, travel insurance info – Ryan will also keep a copy of all these)
  • Laptop charging cord 
  • Bose noise reduction earphones (Amazon)
  • Eyeglasses
  • Productivity journal (Intelligent Design)

One item that’s missing from these photos are travel locks. We always lock our bags with these TSA-approved travel locks.

It’s funny how this list actually feels long to me when I write it out, even though it’s really a small amount of stuff. One of our favorite things about traveling is how light we feel living out of just backpacks, and how each time we return we wonder why we need so much stuff.

Got questions about backpacking with kids, or capsules wardrobes, or choosing what to bring? Leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Babies & Toddlers: When we say our family follows the "one bag" rule, that includes babies and toddlers. Here's a list (and photos) of what we pack for our youngest travelers.

A “Travel Light” Backpacking Checklist for Babies & Toddlers

When we say our family follows the “one bag” rule, that includes babies and toddlers. Packing light is a necessity for us no matter what age our kids are.

I know, I know — with kids it can feel like you literally need to pack the kitchen sink to make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected, not to mention make transitions smooth and bedtime better and just keep your sanity in general.

The truth is you can get by with far less than you think you need. Less than all the packing checklists on the parenting websites tell you bring. Less than you’ll be very tempted to pack.

Why you can trust me on this whole “packing light” thing…

We really have run the gamut when it comes to traveling with babies and toddlers.

Kepler was only 11 months when we left for our one year, around-the-world trip and Johanna was just three. A year after we returned from that trip, we went back on the road when Kepler was two and a half and I was pregnant.

Since then we’ve taken Oliver on a domestic flight at two weeks old and done extensive road tripping when he was two months. All in all, we’ve done the crawling, nursing, napping baby thing and the whiny, slow-walking, mess-making toddler thing, not to mention the outfit-changing, tree-climbing, knee-hole-ripping big kid thing.

All while traveling. With one backpack per kid. It really is possible!

A “Travel Light” Backpacking Checklist for Babies & Toddlers

Back when we were first preparing to travel, I searched for good advice on specifically what to pack for kids and I didn’t find much.

Sure, there are plenty of websites and articles that teach you what to bring for adults, but a whole lot less when it comes to backpacking or traveling light with babies and small children.

My goal in sharing the finer details is to give you what I wish I’d had. Someone willing to open their bags and show me the contents. Here we go!

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Babies & Toddlers: When we say our family follows the "one bag" rule, that includes babies and toddlers. Here's a list (and photos) of what we pack for our youngest travelers.

What’s in my 5 year old’s backpack

1 pair zip-off pants (= pants + shorts)

1 pair light sweat pants (for cold days and double as pajama bottoms)

1 rain jacket

1 light fleece hoodie

1 long sleeve shirt

5 short sleeve shirts (1 button up, 3 tees, 1 rash guard)

3 shorts (1 doubles as swim trunks)

1 hat (actually, this time I’ve got two because I know how easily little kid hats get lost and in a hot, sunny climate, I don’t want to be without one)

Keen sandals

5 pairs underwear

2 socks – these can be worn under Keens if we either hit a really chilly day (not likely, but it’s always possible) OR if we’re hiking and the mosquitoes are bad

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Babies & Toddlers: When we say our family follows the "one bag" rule, that includes babies and toddlers. Here's a list (and photos) of what we pack for our youngest travelers.

**Notice that everything generally matches. It’s all varying shades of navy, brighter blue, red and gray, plus neutral khaki-colored shorts. The idea is to make sure all the tops can be worn with all the bottoms. If you have maybe one top that doesn’t match one bottom, that’s probably ok, but more mis-matches than that and you might get frustrated when half their clothes are dirty and suddenly you can’t pull together a proper outfit.

***How I would alter this for multi-climate travel – I actually wouldn’t change much if we’d be encountering spring/fall weather as well. I might swap one tee for an extra long sleeve and bring a couple extra socks. If we’d be in chillier climates longer I’d consider adding running shoes, although we’ve found Keens with socks can transition very easily between changing climates. I might replace the light sweats with jeans and add in one pair of really light pajama pants for layering. But this is very similar to how we packed for around the world, in which we hit all the seasons. When we were in cold climates we layered up really well, and purchased inexpensive hats, gloves and scarves (and better shoes once when we hit cold weather for a 6 week stretch) and then we ditched all the extras when we moved on from that climate. Of course, packing for extended travel in a mostly cold climate would look quite different, but that will have to wait for another post.

Optional: 

  • If his bag has room and isn’t getting to heavy, I may add an extra t-shirt to put in rotation as a pajama shirt/extra play shirt
  • I could swap out jeans for the light sweat pants, and I probably would for a bigger kid and let them bring pajama pants/shorts. But I’m trying to keep his bag lighter because he’s young and he really likes cozy pants, so I think he’ll be happier with these and they fulfill two purposes.
  • Flip flops – we may pick up a cheap pair along the way

Other things we’ll bring for Kepler:

  1. A stuffed friend (like a Beanie Boo) or possibly a handful of the smaller stuffed keychain Beanie Boos (he is obsessed with these toys and always sleeps with one or nine), and maybe a few small animal figurines.
  2. A small zip-up bag with lego (no bigger than a quart sized ziploc bag)
  3. A small notebook and pencil case with pencils and crayons

 

It all has to fit into the front zip compartments of his backpack and this is about the limit of what it will hold comfortably. I’m not a huge fan of sticking items into the mesh pockets on the sides, because I know from experience they can get lost that way.

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Babies & Toddlers: When we say our family follows the "one bag" rule, that includes babies and toddlers. Here's a list (and photos) of what we pack for our youngest travelers.

What’s in my 20 month old’s backpack

1 pair rain splash pants (these are a little warmer than the cotton pants)

1 pair light cotton pants (I intentionally chose these because they have elastic ankles to help keep bugs out)

1 pair of two-piece light pajamas

1 light fleece zip-up sweater

1 rain jacket

2 onesies (double as tee shirts or pajamas on hot nights)

1 rash guard

3 tee shirts

1 long sleeve shirt

4 shorts (one is swim trunks)

1 Flip cloth diaper cover (to use for swimming under his shorts)

1 pair closed-toe sandals

1 pair leather Robeez (slip on shoes with elastic ankles)

2 hats (same reason as above – and one hat is more covering, specifically for at the beach)

2 pairs socks

A few notes on what I chose: 

  • He got 4 shorts instead of 3 because there’s no such thing as zip-off pants for babies. That said, if it feels like overkill, I’ll get rid of one pair as we go (I just find places I can donate used clothing, just like I would back home)
  • I’m tempted to bring an extra onesie because they’re so handy, but his pack is already getting full and I can probably buy one on the road if needed
  • And again, I coordinated all of the colors – he’s got gray, navy, brighter blue, white and a touch of green and orange. There is one black tee shirt in there that doesn’t look good with the one pair of navy shorts, but everything else matches so I think we’re good. And if I’m desperate, we’ll mix navy and black and be cool like that. 🙂

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Babies & Toddlers: When we say our family follows the "one bag" rule, that includes babies and toddlers. Here's a list (and photos) of what we pack for our youngest travelers.

Other things we’ll bring for Oliver:

  1. A stuffed friend or baby doll of his choosing
  2. A small zip-up bag with animal figurines, his current toy of choice.
  3. One glass bottle for nap/night. (We have this one)
  4. A portable baby bed – we chose the Peapod Plus and it will go in the bottom of Ryan’s backpack.
  5. Possibly an Ergo baby carrier (we’re just making sure we can fit it, because it has to go in one of our adult bags which are already carrying a lot, but carriers are amazing for when we go for walks or hikes). We did bring the Ergo on our year long trip when we had a younger baby and used it a lot until he got closer to 2 years near the end of our trip, which is why I’m a bit hesitant about it. Oliver will be almost 2 by the time we get home. But if it fits, it’ll come. EDIT: I did some more research, because the Ergo just really wasn’t going to fit. A wonderful reader suggested the Ergo Stowaway, which folds up much smaller. From there, I went on a rabbit trail and ultimately found the even lighter and more compact Boba Air which is what we’ve chosen to use.
  6. A sturdy lightweight umbrella stroller – I never, ever travel without a stroller for a child under 3. They make life a million times easier. We like the Chicco Capri stroller a lot (we’re on our second one, after our first was stolen while traveling – big bummer).
  7. One large lightweight blanket (like a swaddling blanket) – we’ll use this whenever a hotel or rental house doesn’t have extra sheets or blankets or for when we’re on the plane or bus. I’ll keep it in my bag.
  8. Disposable diapers, purchased in small amounts as we go along. I may try to potty train him once we arrive in the warmer weather, but we’ll see. He’s still young.
  9. A plastic bib that folds up super small (I think it’s a old version of this inexpensive Bumkins bib)

A "Travel Light" Backpacking Checklist for Babies & Toddlers: When we say our family follows the "one bag" rule, that includes babies and toddlers. Here's a list (and photos) of what we pack for our youngest travelers.

Who’s carrying Oliver’s things?

He is, sort of. We’ve got a very small, toddler-sized backpack for him (it’s a 12 L REI Sprig – now called the Tarn). He can wear it so long as I pack it a little light. When I tried putting all his gear in, he was pretty wobbly and did a turtle-on-its-back move.

All the “extras” (bed, bottle, blanket, stroller, etc.) will be carried by either Ryan or I. Oliver’s backpack will contain a lightened version of the wardrobe listed above. The extra items will go either in one of our backpacks, or possibly in one of our two oldest children’s packs, depending on who can take it best.

But realistically, Oliver will hardly wear his pack (at least until he walks more steadily – he’s competent but still a tad wobbly at times). Mostly his pack will be slung over the stroller handle or over my backpack’s handle (I have a convertible pack with wheels and retractable pull handle).

So why still bring a pack for him? Well, mine is just large enough that most airlines will probably make me check it, so I like to be able to bring his on as a carry-on for clothing changes as needed. I also like the separation of having each person’s things contained to one bag. And my new bag is a bit smaller than last time we travelled, so I can’t carry his clothes like I did on our round-the-world trip.

Plus, I’m a fan of training even small children to carry their own gear for short periods of time, so long as you’re not asking them to carry something that’s too much for their body size/ability.

So that’s what how we pack light for babies and toddlers! Up next… big kids!

Central America Trip Planning Update #3: As we prepare for our three month trip to Central America, I share my process of buying gear for a family trip and the rationale behind my purchases.

Central America Trip Planning Update #3 (buying gear for a family trip)

Buying gear for a family trip can be both fun and maddening.

Fun because it’s exciting to think how real your trip is becoming and how you’ll use these items in exotic places, and frankly because shopping and choosing shiny new items has a pleasant, anticipatory feeling.

Maddening because have you looked at the price of high quality outdoor and travel gear lately? Or the number of options there are to choose from? When you’re shopping for a family, your must-buy list can run long, the options are mind-boggling, and the cost adds up quickly.

But purchasing gear including luggage, clothing, footwear, and other travel necessities is a big part of the preparations and needs to happen sooner than later.

Because we’ve already traveled significantly, we’re fortunate to own a lot of our gear already. Here’s what we had going into this trip:

  • Backpacks for five (possibly six – more on this below) of our seven family members
  • Packing cubes (for organizing within our bags)
  • Laundry bags (ours are a little smaller than these ones)
  • A family toiletry bag
  • Both a large and smaller bag that I use for my medicine kit depending on where we’re going and how much we need to bring (our large one is no longer available to purchase, but it’s similar to this and this)
  • Rugged sandals, pretty sandals, and sturdy flip flops for myself
  • Rain jackets for four family members
  • Travel size toiletry squeeze bottles
  • Travel size water purifier
  • as well as plenty of summer clothing for various children in various sizes

Here’s the gear I still needed to buy as I started shopping:

  • Rugged sandals for all five children and everyday shoes for Ryan
  • Lightweight rain jackets for myself and two kids
  • Bathing suits and shorts for several kids
  • Convertible zip-off pants for four kids
  • Portable baby bed (this is still up for discussion)
  • Travel quick-dry towel
  • A few summer clothing items for Ryan and I
  • Travel underwear for us adults
  • Medicine kit refills (herbs, essential oils, salve, charcoal, etc.)
  • Backpack for myself and Johanna

Personally, I love to hear the details of WHAT other travelers purchase and WHY they purchase it.

So I thought I’d share more specifically what I’ve been buying, where I’m getting it from, and why I made these decisions:

Central America Trip Planning Update #3: As we prepare for our three month trip to Central America, I share my process of buying gear for a family trip and the rationale behind my purchases.

Rugged sandals for all five children

This item was frustrating because the top quality ones like Keens, StrideRite, Merrells, etc. all cost at least $40 or up, unless you can find them on a great sale or in good used condition in the size/color you want. Particularly for us in Canada, they cost even more than this (more like $65 CAD) and snagging a deal is very rare.

The other reason it was frustrating is that we own a whole bunch of Keens that we’ve purchased new in the past or that I’ve scored at used stores, but when I brought them all out to try on the kids? Not a single pair fit any of the right children. Womp womp. I had practically every size other than the ones I actually needed.

I managed to find a pair of used Keens for Kepler, plus a pair of decent other-brand closed toe sandals for Oliver. But for the three big kids (one of whom actually wears ladies sizes now), this is where I ultimately bought their sandals.

Our decision to go with cheaper, non-name brand sandals was really determined by how fast the kids grow out of them (as evidenced by our pile of 8 pairs of unusable sandals sitting in our storage room) and the reality that what these sandals really needed to do was get us through 3 months. That’s it. By this summer, the kids feet could all have grown anyways, so if we get the full length of our trip and they’re still holding up, we’ll feel great about choosing the less expensive option.

Central America Trip Planning Update #3: As we prepare for our three month trip to Central America, I share my process of buying gear for a family trip and the rationale behind my purchases.

Convertible zip-off pants for four kids 

I know, not everyone’s a fan. In fact, I’ve read some travel forums or articles where people derisively share what a stupid purchase these pants are. We’re not going to win any fashion awards, but in my opinion, these pants are absolutely worth buying.

We took a pair for every family member on our one-year, round-the-world trip and I was so glad. These are very small and lightweight, dry quickly, and give each person a pair of both pants and shorts. They’re just the right weight for situations when you’re in a hot climate or you’ll be doing something physically strenuous but you want full-leg protection from the brush or from insects. If we were out all day and thought the weather might shift, we could start the kids in shorts and put their zip-on legs into our daypack (or vice versa, by starting them in pants and taking off the legs if they get hot).

Even Ryan and I wore them. I obviously forgo them when I’m in a beautiful European city and will throw on jeans or a skirt instead. But in so many places, they’re incredibly convenient.

I have a somewhat-stylish pair from Prana in gray, and the shorts are a bermuda short. These were perfect since even modest shorts can be culturally inappropriate in many places and these come almost to my knee. I’m bringing them again on this trip and I’m making sure that all our kids have a pair as well (except the 18 mth old – you can’t usually find them in sizes smaller than a 3 or 4).

Central America Trip Planning Update #3: As we prepare for our three month trip to Central America, I share my process of buying gear for a family trip and the rationale behind my purchases.

Portable baby bed

I haven’t actually purchased this yet, but I’ve been researching it for weeks. Last time we traveled extensively with a one year old baby, night times were a hassle. We didn’t bring any sort of portable baby bed and at least half the time during our travels couldn’t access one. It’s easy to think, as someone who’s traveled in North America, that you can just get one from the hotel or house rental but in so many places, it simply isn’t so.

Because it made nighttime difficult and also my concern for our particularly curious and kamikaze 19 month old, I’ve feeling torn between purchasing something knowing it will be both expensive and another thing for us to lug around, or trying to spend the next five weeks training him to sleep on a mattress on the floor. To be honest, I’m leaning towards the baby bed.

These are the three I’m looking at. If you have experience with any of these, I’d love to know your thoughts!

  • Phil and Ted’s
  • Baby Bjorn
  • Peapod

Central America Trip Planning Update #3: As we prepare for our three month trip to Central America, I share my process of buying gear for a family trip and the rationale behind my purchases.

Travel quick-dry towel

We’ve never used one of these before, but here’s my rationale… particularly when in warmer climates (especially when beaches are involved) there are ample opportunities for swimming, and yet when you’re traveling you don’t always have easy access to beach towels.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter and it’s hot enough that we just swim, dry off in the sun, then throw clothes back on over our suits. But sometimes it gets chilly or a child really wants a towel or we avoid swimming altogether because we have no way to dry off. I found a towel set that comes with one massive beach-sized towel and then a smaller towel (slightly smaller than a child-sized bath towel), and both are quite thin and quick drying.

I’m not sure if I’ll regret it (and end up ditching it somewhere along the way) or be thrilled I brought it. Time will tell!

Central America Trip Planning Update #3: As we prepare for our three month trip to Central America, I share my process of buying gear for a family trip and the rationale behind my purchases.

Travel underwear for us adults

While I stick with plain old, inexpensive cotton underwear for the kids, we do splurge on the pricey skivvies for ourselves. Our favorite brand is Ex Officio. It’s what we took on our big world trip. We each had four pairs and that was enough (though this time I’m bringing five).

What I love so much is they’re incredibly comfortable, stay pretty fresh even when you’re stuck wearing them during 36 hour travel marathons, and can be easily hand washed in a sink and dried overnight (but usually faster). This time I’m adding a couple MEC brand pairs to my own stash because I got them on clearance, so we’ll see how I like them.

Central America Trip Planning Update #3: As we prepare for our three month trip to Central America, I share my process of buying gear for a family trip and the rationale behind my purchases.

*Taken at 10pm on my iPhone while comparing backpacks. This is the new Osprey Meridian. Yes, it sticks out pretty far. But… wheels. I’m still torn.*

Backpack for myself and Johanna

Both of these backpacks have caused some stress, to be honest. On our last two trips, I traveled with an Osprey Farpoint 70 L. It’s a fantastic bag. I don’t have any issues with it. But my detchable day backpack was starting to show a lot of wear and tear (I use it a TON as sort of a diaper/homeschool/work bag).

That was only part of the reason, though. I did figure out I could mis-match my bag and use Ryan’s better-condition black day pack zipped onto my still-fine khaki large backpack. Dorky, yes, but perfectly workable. The bigger reason I wanted to upgrade, though, was that during out three month Europe trip, Ryan upgraded to an Opsrey Meridian Wheeled Backpack 75L. Did you catch that? Wheeled. Be still my heart.

He chose it because I was pregnant at the time and he thought on days when my back was sore, he could wear my backpack and pull his and make it easier for us to get around (isn’t he thoughtful?). And it was a fabulous bag. I started coveting the wheeled aspect of his backpack, which can go between functioning like a suitcase and can also be thrown on as a backpack when needed. It also seemed practical since I could throw a child’s backpack over its handle and pull it all together those times when someone was tired and having a hard time.

So I researched it and bought myself a 60L Osprey Meridian. It’s 10 litres smaller than my last pack and the structure for the retractable handle takes a bit of space as well. But, it’s a wider and deeper bag, rather than long and narrower like the Farpoint. This makes it less comfortable to wear as a backpack (it throws off my center of balance more and I lean further forward to compensate) plus it has no hip strap (big minus). However, despite it’s small size, I feel like the shape actually makes it easier to pack and it can accomodate almost as much as my 70 L pack.

The verdict? I’m still deciding, test packing both bags and taking turns wearing them around in the evenings, with the tags still on my new Meridian. At the moment, I’m leaning towards keeping it, because I do love how it packs up, I love how it pulls (wheels!!!), and I think that being forced to pack lighter is good for me. I’ll let you know what I decide!

Central America Trip Planning Update #3: As we prepare for our three month trip to Central America, I share my process of buying gear for a family trip and the rationale behind my purchases.

As for Johanna, she’s our 7 year old daughter and she’s really at an in-between place when it comes to backpacks. For reasons that elude me, the backpack industry seems to have decided that high quality children’s packs should jump from 18 L right up to 30-35 L, with zero options in between.

An 18 L is just too small for her age, and yet when I had her try her older sibling’s 35 L packs, it was clear this could result in a full-on meltdown if she had to carry it any distance on a day when it was too hot, she was hungry or thirsty, she was too tired, or it was the wrong phase of the moon (in other words, almost any time).

After literally weeks of frustrated searching, I did not come up with any highly reviewed bags in the 24-28 L range that I was looking for (I hardly found any at all). I came close to choosing the Deuter Fox 30 (it’s a 30 + 4 L pack), but finally chose the slightly cheaper but very similar MEC Escapade Youth Backpack (32 L). I still think it’s too big, so we’re going to pack it lightly and make sure the straps are very carefully adjusted to be as comfortable for her as possible.

Note to aspiring entrepreneurs: Please design me a 25 L rugged children’s travel backpack and I will forever sing your praises and send people in your direction.

Note to backpack manufacturers: You stink. I blame all emotional melt-downs during this trip solely on you. Please make in-between sized backpacks for in-between sized kids.

Other details we’re working on:

  • Getting our house ready to list on Airbnb (update! Finished this a couple days ago!)
  • Getting the kids ahead on some of their homeschool subjects to take pressure off while we’re traveling
  • Upgrading some gadgets (Ryan was due for a new laptop, and mine needs a new case, plus both my phone and laptop need servicing)
  • Final appointments with our naturopath, dentist, etc.
  • Buying things like contacts (bought!), medicine kit supplies, etc.
  • Laying out everyone’s exact wardrobes and pre-packing backpacks

Phew!! There you have it. An epic look into the process of buying gear for a family trip.

In my next update, I’ll start sharing detailed photos of what we’re actually packing for kids, and then another post about what the adults will bring.

Family World Travel for Less: Four Ways Packing Light Can Save You Money: In this video I’ll tell you the ONE thing we always do when it comes to packing, four ways packing light can save you money, and show you the bags we use.

Family World Travel for Less: Four Ways Packing Light Can Save You Money

Now that we’ve covered flights pretty thoroughly and reminisced over some of our favorite, frugal travel moments, it’s time to tackle packing light.

Perhaps most importantly for the purpose of this series, it’s time to talk about why packing light makes it onto my list of 31 ways to travel the world as a family for less. 

Since I’ve actually been wanting to create a video series about trip packing for a number of months, I used this topic as my impetus to go ahead and begin, so today’s post is actually a video.

Family World Travel for Less: Four Ways Packing Light Can Save You Money: In this video I’ll tell you the ONE thing we always do when it comes to packing, four ways packing light can save you money, and show you the bags we use.

*Psst… you can’t click on this image – watch the video HERE.*

When we travel, we have a family packing rule that serves us well. In my video, I’ll tell you all about:

  • the ONE thing we always do when it comes to packing
  • the reasoning behind our packing strategy
  • four ways packing light can save you money
  • a little show-and-tell of the specific bags we use for each family member (fun! I love talking travel gear.)

In order to keep this packing video series all together in one place, I’m hosting them all on a single page, starting with this first one.

You can watch my video about packing light and how it saves us money HERE

And just for fun, here’s a little inside look at what happens we’re in the process of packing and preparing for a big trip:

The chaos that currently is our guest room (aka our trip gear dump/storage room)

Somehow, all this chaos translates into neat, compact and mostly orderly backpacks (that then get trashed by our kids approximately once a week, but that’s besides the point).

But in the end, this is what we actually travelled with, for six people, for one entire year:

(These are our backpacks plus that one black suitcase you see got added on for souvenirs a couple months before we went home… and it was a pain, to be honest, though it was nice to bring a few things home in the end. I’m still a little torn whether it was worth disrupting our usual backpack-carrying rhythm for or not.)

Family World Travel for Less: Four Ways Packing Light Can Save You Money: In this video I’ll tell you the ONE thing we always do when it comes to packing, four ways packing light can save you money, and show you the bags we use.

Does your family have a similar packing rule? (If you’re not sure, then I guess you’ll have to watch the video… :).

Family World Travel for Less: Four Ways Packing Light Can Save You Money: In this video I’ll tell you the ONE thing we always do when it comes to packing, four ways packing light can save you money, and show you the bags we use.

This post is part of the series Family World Travel for Less: