Family Packing Essentials: Free Printable

By freshlyplanted - 8:53 AM

Packing Essentials for Busy Families | Freshly Planted

Once upon a time, each summer found us living life on a different continent. This went on for about six years, including almost two years of living overseas, and we became pretty comfortable with the jet-setting lifestyle. One of the perks of which became packing in a hurry. For instance, when you oversleep your alarm at a Bangkok hostel and your airport taxi is waiting for you. Oops! Luckily, we made the flight and didn't forget anything (I even grabbed & packed the pair of earring I had set on the nightstand, much to my surprise). All this traveling meant the ability to pack for a month of back-packing with very little thought at all. Fast-forward three kids, and things- such as what I ate for dinner last night, or when I last showered- have become a little more hazy. As I packed for Christmas, I realized I felt defeated by our family suitcases. It took so much time to remember, again, how much to pack for each- and I still ended up forgetting something important. I think it was the sound machine, but I'm a bit hazy (see above). So, I've been determined, as we begin planning a few trips this spring & summer, to finally get this packing situation under control.

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Essential Packing Lists | Freshly Planted
One of the hardest things about packing is deciding how many to pack of each item. For example, what if I only pack one shirt per day, and that gets covered with mud first thing in the morning? (True story.) So I've settled on packing 1.5 shirts for each one of my kids. That means they'll have an extra shirt over two days, which is a good ratio for us. I'm doing the same with pants & underpants for my toddler & preschooler since blow-outs and bathroom misses are always more likely if I'm not prepared. Everything else is one per day. To save space, we also only pack for half the week and plan a laundry day into our trip. The potential bother is worth the extra weight to us- especially if we're running through an airport. 

Essential Packing Lists | Freshly Planted
A few more words of packing advice:
  • Take a good pair of shoes. Always. 
  • Don't pack more than you can run through an airport with. 
  • If you'll be cooking, especially for international travel, consider packing your own measuring cups and spoons. There's nothing worse than needing them, and not being able to find any. 
  • Simplify your technology: The more technology you have, the more you have to lose- and break. Take it if you need it, but consider low-tech options (travel sketch-books, journals, kids' maze books) for the rest. 
  • Leave room for souvenirs. We used to have two suitcases that fit perfectly inside each other, which meant we had an extra suitcase for treasures on the way home!
  • Have each willing child carry a backpack with their own entertainment and nourishment. This empowers them, and helps share the load. Currently we love this Dot-to-Dot and this Walk in the Woods coloring book, as well as these extremely strong beeswax crayons.  
  • Never forget your sense of humor! 
Some extras we never leave home without:
  • Our sound machine, as well as this white noise lamb for Esther. It's portable, which means it can help block out sounds- like enthusiastic siblings- when we're traveling. 
  • We don't use a lot of pain medicine, but I always make sure to pack some if we're traveling. There's nothing worse than needing it at 3 a.m when everything's closed. 
  • I have friends with sensitive skin, whose children break out with different kinds of sunscreen. If that's your case, I would always pack it (in a ziploc within another ziploc if you're flying) to make sure you have it. I've been surprised what's hard to find from one place to another. 
  • An extra pair of shoes, whether that's flip-flops or crocs, just in case the first pair get drenched, muddy, or you lose one in the lake (Another true story.) 
I created a couple Printables to help with my planning, so I'm sharing them with you. I might laminate mine, or stick it into a page protector for adjusting as needed- and adding any souvenirs we buy!

Essential Packing Lists | Freshly Planted
Click for Free Printables!

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