Traveling light for families sounds like a mission impossible. There’s just so much stuff to pack with kids! Imagine an almost potty-proof toddler who needs extra undies and pants for those ‘accidents’, diapers for nights or maybe a safety under sheet for those hotel beds. Not to mention his toys, books and plush animals. Add a preteen book wolf who read a 200-page book in a couple of days, likes snorkeling and loves his iPad. Just like his parents who still have to decide whether to unplug themselves on holiday or keep on the blogging habit and bring the laptop.
What to bring on a 3 week round trip? We thought we packed light, but still ended up with unused stuff and stuff we would like to have had with us. Want to learn from my mistakes? Check it out:
What you should leave behind
Your less than favorite shorts
You may find me shabby, but I ended up wearing 1 pair of shorts. You know, those that fit comfortably AND look good on you. Those extra pairs you packed for at the beach, at a dressy occasion or for doing yoga… I’ll tell you, it’s a surplus. Besides, shorts don’t get dirty during travel. Not that dirty, anyway. Right?
Sporty tank tops
I thought it was a really good idea to pack my sporty dry-fit tank tops. Lightweight, fashionable, quick drying, what’s not to like? Bare shoulders, is what’s not to like. I only bought racerback tops and in a mosquito and bug infested climate, that’s just not a good idea. Those back shoulders are also a real pain to get sun burn on, especially when you’re wearing a back pack.
Heaps of toys
It may sounds scary, but your kids will be fine with just some of their toys. They will lose it, they will break it, they will forget it. They will be thrilled to buy some cheap ass toy from the souvenir shop as replacement. And don’t underestimate the fun of throwing rocks or shells into the water. Or running after the local wildlife.
What you shouldn’t forget
Yes, you could rent one from the rental company. But you have to wait and see what they have in storage. We had bad luck it was a shabby booster seat, which is completely unsafe and uncomfortable for toddlers, for a rental fee you can buy a mid-price toddler seat for. So buy one back home and check it as odd-sized luggage. If you get yourself a second-hand one, you won’t mind the tough love it will receive at the airport.
No matter the season, in the tropics you can always count on at least one rain shower. With rain drops the size as golf balls. You will get soaked if you don’t bring a thin rain coat. An umbrella could work too. Those flimsy emergency ponchos? Only for a short while.
Extra set of swim wear
Due to the humid climate, things dry slooooowly in the tropics. I don’t know about you, but I just hate getting into a wet bikini. Bring two pair and alternate. Also a great idea when a wave wipes you out and takes your swim shorts. And that’s all that I’m going to say about that.
It takes some resetting when your whole family is used to tablets and smartphones, but holidays are a great opportunity to reinstall this good old fashioned ritual. It’s a great diversion in planes, trains and if your stomach can stand it, cars too. I love a great story to read on porches, in hotel rooms or at the beach. It’s our holiday tradition, to be honest. This year though, we considered bringing Hector Malot’s ‘Nobody’s boy‘ a traveling light faux-pas and that was a mistake. So bring your Kindle, stack your iBooks with ebooks and read aloud. Your kids will love it.
What are your packing must-haves when your traveling with your family? And with what can you do without?
xoxo – Irene