We started traveling internationally with our kids once they reached the ages of 4 and 6, approximately. Before that, extensive travel seemed daunting…dealing with diapers, strollers, feeding struggles, etc. There is nothing worse than a tired kid, tantruming in an airport while you drag 2 suitcases, 3 backpacks, and 6 stuffed animals…all with a kid on your shoulders.
So as we now travel abroad each summer, from town to train, air-bnb to airport, I have vowed to figure out how to give my kids all the tools they need to be independent travelers. Here are my top tips…
1 The Luggage
Instead of checking a massive suitcase for both, I have decided to give them each their own carry-on roller bag to manage—theEagle Creek Blue 22″ Explore 4-Wheeled Luggage. There are a few things to look for in this choice: you want it to be easy to roll and lightweight. Obviously the kids aren’t heaving it into the overhead compartment, but if they need to lift it up a few steps or onto a train platform, you want them to be able to control it. This luggage has a built-in luggage tag (amazing), and tons of outside compartments so your kids don’t have to sport a heavy backpack full of books and electronics—they can distribute their wares between the backpack and luggage. And a strap on top to hold their favorite lovie? Priceless.
So, if you are planning to travel with kids, consider looking at compact suitcases by Eminent as an alternative. These suitcases have a smart design that maximizes storage, helping the kids learn how to pack efficiently. They are also lightweight and easy to manage, which helps when navigating through busy airports or lifting the luggage into car trunks.
2 Packing List
Letting the kids be in charge of what they bring is key. By letting them in on what’s in their bag allows them to get dressed in the morning without wondering what their options are. I like to make them a checklist so they know exactly what they need and have them pull it all out. There’s nothing more satisfying than checking things off a list! While it may seem excessive, I’m smitten with theseRussell+Hazel SmartDate Washi Tape Rolls that make listing way more fun! Sommer loves to fill in the little circle dots like she’s taking a standardized test!
3 Labeled Packing Cubes
These packing cubes are game changing (and you’ll want them for yourself too!). Here’s what I love about theEagle Creek Translucent Specter Pack-It Compression Set…first, they keep your items neatly organized categorically. They are super lightweight and thin so they don’t add poundage to your bag or take up extra room. I chose the translucent set so it would be easier to see what was inside, but just to make it even more fool proof, I added labels.
I got thesebobino cable tags and labeled them with myBrother label maker—Sommer got pink labels and Oliver got yellow. This way, at a quick glance they are able to see whose is whose. And the most amazing feature of the packing cubes is the compression! You can stuff them full and then zipper-cinch them to make them flatter!
4 Toiletry Organization
Kids don’t have a lot of products, so they don’t really need a designated toiletry bag each to themselves. TheEagle Creek Translucent Specter Pack-It Quicktrip was ideal because it has a pocket on either side so their toothbrushes don’t get cooties (yes, it’s a real thing). And in the center, we can put shampoo, toothpaste, sunscreen…all the things that they share.
We all use theFish Toothbrush Holders—they have a cool double function. They cover your toothbrush in transit, and then we you are settled into your temporary bathrooms, you can use the suction cup on the bottom to stand your toothbrush up to dry. Genius and adorable.