You might have heard about the “decluttering queen,” Marie Kondo. Or perhaps the phrase “Does this bring me joy?” rings a bell. If you are still clueless and is currently sitting in a pile of old laundry in your bed, maybe it’s time you Google her. Okay, if you’re still too lazy to search her, Marie Kondo is known for her KonMari method. This method aims to help provide solutions for hoarding habits.
Now, when it comes to traveling, have you ever thought of applying this method when you pack your “essentials?” For all you know, are your essentials really “essential?” A great place to start is by making a travel list. What is included in this list? All of the things that you can use, whether it’s for a long drive, island vacation, camping, or a country road trip. This way, you can just modify the packing list depending on your trip (e.g., add tents for camping, beach umbrellas for vacation, etc.)
But when you have a baby, what should be included in your must-haves? Typically, your usual list is composed of a spare change of clothes, snacks, toys, his/her car seat, stroller for when you go to your destination or a combination of them as told in this source. Travel systems are called travel systems for a reason anyway.
To help you in traveling tidy with kids, we have created a list of items that will make any trip easier and more enjoyable. But we’re going to let you in on a little secret, when going through the list and you’re tempted to add more, channel your inner Marie Kondo and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?”
Traveling with Kids the Tidy Way: Only Bring the Essentials
Note that we haven’t included self-explanatory items like your passport (if needed), some tools for quick car repairs, swiss knife, flashlight, lighter, etc. As we have mentioned earlier, you can always modify this list depending on your destination.
· Car seat
We have to put car seat first because this is inarguably important when it comes to traveling with kids. And as we have mentioned earlier, if you have a baby, car seats come hand in hand with strollers. You have a choice if you want to purchase a travel system so that the seat is a guaranteed fit for the stroller or you can buy the two separately. Another nice tip is to look for a seat that is FAA-approved in case you decide to do airline travel with your little one.
You can also consider car seats with organizers such as extra pockets and cup holders so you can minimize the clutter inside the car. If you happen to have a smaller vehicle, but you have more than one kid, we hate to break it to you, but you have no excuse, and you have to give them each their own car seat. Don’t worry though, because there are car seats that you can install 3 across in small vehicles.
· First-aid kit and sickness bags
You can’t be too confident with your child and go “Eh, he/she will not be sick, last time we went to this place he/she didn’t get sick.” Your first aid kit can include antiseptics, rubbing alcohol, bandages, gauze, cold compress, and gloves.
You can even add some pain, motion sickness, and anti-diarrhea medication. Remember that not every ride, be it on an airplane, car, or boat is going to be the same. Whatever your destination is, bring your first-aid kid and sickness bags just in case.
· Snacks and drinks
If you’re traveling with a baby, you can opt to pumping in advance and bringing some warming bottles (you can find units that plug on the cigarette lighter socket in the car.) Or if you’re not driving, you can find travel-friendly breast pumps that are lightweight and discrete.
For slightly older kids, avoid bringing sweet snacks. Trust us; sugar rush is not something you’d want. You should also choose snacks and drinks that aren’t nausea-inducing. For drinks, water is your best choice. You can purchase insulated water bottles to avoid risking tummy aches.
If you have a lot of kids traveling with you, be sure to bring enough food and drinks to prevent unnecessary fights. And lastly, avoid anything that might lead to multiple restroom breaks or the-restroom-is-too-far-I-can’t-hold-it-anymore accidents.
Speaking of restroom breaks, you can talk with your children about your scheduled stops. And to maximize these stops, you can also use this time to let everyone stretch for a while or buy other necessities that they may have forgotten.
Only pack what is necessary, we repeat, only pack what is necessary! If you’re going on a 3-day vacation, you don’t need to bring clothes that are enough to start a garage sale. For children, some extra clothing, diapers, wipes, and undies are enough. For adults, think practicality and less model on the runway.
You should also bring what’s appropriate for your destination. For example, flip flops for the beach and hiking shoes for the wilderness. It is even better if you and your children are ready with whatever weather is ahead. What we mean by this is to bring both a tank top and a sweater, sunscreen, and insect repellant. Some other miscellaneous things that you can also bring includes power banks and trash bags.
· Toys and activities
There are kids who can last the whole travel time and are already content with just sleeping the hours, but let’s face it, that’s rare. You can bring some toys and activity books to keep your child/children from throwing tantrums. However, we must emphasize the word “some.”
We know that as much as possible, it is better for children if their time on gadgets is minimized. So, in order to experience the benefit of fewer things to bring in exchange for a tablet without causing harm to your kids, just schedule their screen time. You can even search for some car games that you can do, such as 21 questions, or I Spy with My Little Eye to keep everybody in the car engaged.
But did you know that less footprint is not the only benefit you’ll get with cutting on unnecessary toys? This also means that the risk of bringing something that can projectile in case of a crash is also lessened.