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Packing for the holidays

7 tips for traveling with kids

by Jessica Litman

Who is traveling for the holidays?

Since my extended family lives out of state, my husband and I travel frequently with our kids during the holiday season. After the many hours spent together traveling, it's safe to say I learned a thing or two about packing effectively! Plus, I'm a professional organizer, so packing is my jam. With the holidays quickly approaching, I thought it would be helpful to partner with The Container Store to combine their products with my expert tips to tell you everything you need to know about packing for and traveling with kids.

Tip 1: Make A List

The first thing I do before any trip is make packing lists for each member of my family. I love using Pack This! Classic Checklist for each family member. With pre-made packing checklists, I cross off unnecessary items for that family member and add missing items. For example, I add blankets for both my kids but cross off chewing gum and sleeping pills because they don't need those things.

Tip 2: Packing Cubes Are Your Best Friend

 Once my list is created, it's time to start packing. I start with my clothes, and planning my outfits ahead of time. Next, I lay out my outfits and try to stick to one color tone for all my outfits. Doing so prevents over-packing because I'm only packing matching shoes and accessories that go with whatever outfits I plan to wear to wear.

 After my outfits are selected, it's time to actually pack them. I recommend Eagle Creek packing cubes. I typically separate my clothes from my socks and undergarments in pack them in two separate cubes. If I have a nice dress or my husband's dressy pants I use a trash bag and roll them up tight to make sure I get all the air out of the bag to prevent any wrinkles.

For kids, I pack all their clothing in a few cubes. This helps them because they can easily find outfits. If we are driving, I like to pack all pants together and all tops together. All their underwear and socks go in a different packing cube. When we get to our destination, I unpack their clothes and put them drawers. Then, I put their dirty clothes back in the cubes so we never lose a pair of socks or underwear!

Tip 3: Shoe Packing Tricks

I suggest packing by color type. This way, I only select shoes that go with each outfit I'm packing. I typically store my shoes in the zippered part of my suitcase. For my kids, I pack their shoes in wet bags. This keeps their shoe choices to a minimum. Plus, if the kids get their shoes wet before we leave, I don't have to worry about packing wet shoes with our clothes!

Tip 4: Travel Bottles For All

Each family member gets their own liquids bag with silicone travel bottle labels. This helps me plan the right amount of toiletry items. For road trips, I try to condense the amount of liquids I pack. For example, my husband and I share shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, while my kids will share shampoo and body wash. Additionally, I pack those liquids in a wet bag for road trips because I won't have to worry about liquids spilling in your suitcases.

Tip 5: Contain Your Accessories

I always keep my accessories separate from my make up. I store my makeup in a makeup tote, which makes my makeup easy to find.  I always bring a ton of hair accessories for my daughter because she loses them so quickly. I also bring my own accessories like bracelets and earrings and I stick them all together in a small travel bag to keep them contained.

I also love using the baggallini Curling & Flat Iron Cover. The last thing I do before I leave for a trip is usually my hair. By having a bag for my flat iron, I don't have to wait for it to cool down. Instead, I can pack it and hop on the plane.

Tip 6: Keep Those Devices Charged

 When we travel with the entire family, there's an overwhelming number of cords for all our devices. I love using a tech accessory organizer to hold all the cords. I wrap the cords up and tie them together using a Nite Ize Cordable 3" GearTie. It's super convenient to pack all the cords together so we can easily find them while we are traveling.

For my headphones, I use a BlueLounge Cableyoyo Earbud Organizer. I wrap the earbuds around the holder so I can easily use them on the plane. You can also use that organizer for some of your smaller your cords by simply wrapping them around the ring and storing them in the tech accessory organizer to keep things tidy.

Tip 7: Entertain The Kids

Sometimes, kids get restless on longer trips. Packing activities they can do instead of just watch will help keep them entertained for a longer period of time. I store all my kids' fun games and coloring supplies in a Walter & Ray TAB Plus Messenger Bag & Seatback Organizer.  Not only does it have a large storage capacity, it also hangs on the back of the seat in front of you, making it easily accessible for everyone.

I always bring playing cards in Iris Clear Photo & Craft Cases with Hinged Lids. They keep the cards together so you never have to worry about the cardboard box breaking, or losing any cards. The photo cases can also be used to store markers and colored pencils, too.

Now, you know all my tricks for packing for and traveling with kids! If you'd like to see more of my expert advice, head to my blog or follow me on Instagram. Safe travels!!