Here are the 3 questions to ask yourself when you are packing your family for a trip:
1. What you are doing, where you are going, how are you travelling, and for how long?
Your packing list is going to change drastically depending on what you plan to do and where you will end up. You pack differently for your best friends wedding versus a ski trip versus a weekend at the lake. The same applies for little ones. I just spent 2 months driving coast to coast on a Canadian rock-and-roll-road-trip with my band and my baby. We saw temperature highs and lows, snow, rain and sun. For us layers were key! We kept our load light by bringing combinations that could go from cool to warm. The big drives meant that comfort was paramount. If you are going to be going to a wedding, event, or a fancy city you might want to pack nicer clothes, but for our trip we just need comfy play clothes. Some extras that we brought for Henry that we might leave behind on a different kind of trip were 1. swim diaper (for motel pools!), 2. snow suit (for the snowy mountain passes) 3. sound silencing head phones (for the shows). We also didn’t need to get on planes with baggage restrictions or carry or things very far. We went minimal because we are minimalists at heart but we defiantly got away with some casual over packing that wouldn’t fly if we had to fly!
2. How often are you going to do laundry?
Since we’re cloth diapering we knew we would need to plan on doing laundry 2 times a week anyways. This meant I could under pack and get away with it because I knew I would be washing regularly. If you are unsure of how much laundry you will do, or know you won’t be doing any, make sure you pack enough socks and undies to see you through. Also, bring your own soap! It’s hard enough to find laundry in some situations, let alone do laundry with ‘good’ detergent.
3. What sets your child apart from the pack?
It’s important to think about who your kid is and what special items they personally might need. Packing lists are meant to inspire you towards a goal that fits with your unique set of circumstances, and with kids of various ages and experiences there is much room for adjustment. I like to begin by thinking about what items of clothing are going to get dirty the fastest? what is their day-to-day like? is there anything they can’t live without? For instance, if your child is just learning to use the toilet during your travels you might need to bring extra pants and undies and even a potty. If your child religiously uses a pacifier you might want to pack a few incase one gets lost or damaged. For us we thought about how Henry is crawling around (a.k.a. lots of dirty knees on his pants) and teaching himself to eat food with a spoon and drink from a cup (aka lots of dirty shirts), and realized we need to pack lots of outfits to account for all the mess potential.
Here is what we packed for Henry:
1. pants ( 5)
2. long-sleeved shirts (5)
3. short-sleeved shirts (4)
4. PJ’s (2)
5. plenty of socks !
6. 2 sweaters and an outer layer
7. shoes (we love our MyMayu play boots)
8. accessories and extras — bathing suit, sun hat, winter hat, gloves, snow suit, bow tie etc.
*For Henry we kept the theme and colour story simple. Neutrals with reds, blues and yellows. And only stripes for pattern. Having these ‘rules’ made it easy to not over pack and to know which items to edit out. It also means that everything we packed turns easily into an outfit.
*2 months is a long time. Especially when you are crossing between seasons, time zones, and sizes. We purposely didn’t pack warm-weather clothes for Henry because we weren’t sure how big he would end up or when spring would hit. We ended up giving away some of his 9-12 months winter gear and swapping in some new 12-18 month summer staples like a sun hat, shorts and sleeveless romper. Don’t forget to leave room in your suit case for souvenirs.
*instead of a stroller we brought our ergo and a sling to transport Henry when we were out an about. He learned to walk on this trip !