Can you travel light with kids?

My biggest problem when we go away is taking too much stuff! There’s nothing worse than being loaded down with rucksacks, bags, coats, and the dolly who can NOT be left at home… I get hot, irritable and wonder why I wasn’t more selective about what we packed.  So over time I’ve become a bit ruthless about what we take. Here’s my top tips:

  • There are laundries everywhere, so we only pack a few days’ worth of clothes, and never duplicate outfits . This is much easier said than done, especially with teenage daughters…But there’s nothing worse than getting home to find that you haven’t worn half of what you packed but have been lugging it around for weeks!
  • Buy toiletries locally as these can be heavy and bulky.
  • I usually wear my heaviest footwear (walking shoes/boots) to travel in so I don’t have to carry them.
  • Think about the weather where you are going. Even if it rains, you may not need your heaviest winter coat. Maybe a light raincoat will do? Do your research.
  • It’s always nice to take a few books with you on a long trip and not everyone is into e-readers, but we’ve always found book swaps at hostels and guesthouses, or second hand book shops where you can pick up a book.  So you can save a bit of weight in your bags by maybe limiting yourself to 1 or 2 books.
  • Instead of packing loads of games and toys, we take a couple of packs of cards which will always fill a few hours (we are Go Fish champions now!), together with plain paper and pencils (don’t forget the sharpener), Top Trumps, Michelin I-Spy books, and of course we always make sure we have apps and films on our tablets and phones to entertain the kids.
  • Even the small ones can carry a small rucksack! Even if it’s just their own snacks, water bottle and entertainment it will take a little weight out of your bags.
  • Check what the kids have packed. Maybe have a family meeting to discuss the merits of taking hair straighteners/board games/the X-Box on your back packing adventure….
  • Just accept that you WILL have to bring that dolly/rabbit/bear along with you. Yes you will end up carrying it a lot of the time, but having their favourite cuddly toy with them when they are in a strange new country will help your small children to feel safe and sleep better.


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