Traveling Light (Even With Children)

We are big fans of traveling light. It's so freeing to be someplace new and not have to be weighed down by a lot of stuff. For example, when we took a three week trip to Italy and Portugal a few summers ago we travels with a duffel bag and backpack And Last year we took 6 month old Helen on a four week trip to LA with only one carry-on!

Now that we have two little ones in tow, or philosophy is still the same. We pack the bare minimum and only what we think we will absolutely need.

Over the years, I've developed of few rules that I impose on myself when packing. I thought I'd share them with you and maybe help lighten your load the next time you take off.

1. Pack the Night Before. Not the day before, not the week before but right before you go to bed the night before your flight/trip. I find this avoids ruffling through piles and changing your mind a lot. With a small window of time before take-off you have to be decisive and this helps when you have to be cut-throat about removing unnecessary items.

2. Own Only Small Luggage. If you have a mammoth suitcase lying around, you are more likely to use it when everything doesn't fit in the small one. We recently bought a 25" Delsey Aero Hardside Suitcase for this upcoming trip. It's not a carry on, but a size smaller than the largest size they make. We decided to have one bag that holds everything for the four of us. We plan to check that bag and only carry small handbags onto the plane.

3. Lay Everything Out On the Bed. Each person gets a pile. I find this helps visualize the mass of stuff before it goes into the bag. Once I have what I think we will need, I go through each pile and remove one or two things. 

4. Pack Only Clothing You Really, Really Love. This is a big one. For years I would buy new clothing to take on trips only to discover that I didn't love how they looked on me when I got to my destination. Now I buy things well in advance and I make sure to only keep things I love. I wear them a lot before the trip and then only pack a few things I adore seeing myself in which I wear over and over again on the trip. I do the same for the children. 

5. Only Two Pairs of Shoes Per Person. This is so hard for women, but I stick to this rule as much as I can. A note on this rule, the two pairs include the pair you wear so really you are only packing one pair each. I generally go for flats when traveling, or a wedge heel for comfort. 

6. Pack Only Toiletries You Can NOT Buy When You Get There. This is also a hard one, but being weighed down by a lot of bottles and jars is not a good way to go. I make a point to stop at a pharmacy or grocery store the moment I arrive at my location. I pick up the essentials when I get there which saved me having to lug them around. I especially love this when traveling outside the USA. Other countries have an entirely new range of products to try and experiment with. I love that! So, what about diapers? I bring only enough for the day we are traveling. I buy more diapers upon arrival.

7. Children Are Adaptable. I remind myself of this when I'm packing. I find that often I'm the one who needs the security of having something my child is used to. The fear that our routine will not be the same as it is at home is silly because by nature it's all different anyway. I embrace this attitude and just leave everything at home.

I hope you enjoyed getting a peak at my thought process on packing. I'm off to pack right now as we are about to embark on a three week long vacation that includes two stops!!!

I'll be posting less than usual here, but follow along on Instagram where I'll be sharing daily updates on our adventure.

Happy traveling!