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5 tips for traveling with kids...

Ruby and Coco / Oh Joy

When we first traveled with Ruby as a baby, we had (no joke) 6-8 pieces of luggage that included a mix of travel crib, car seat, multiple suitcases, and more. Bob looked like a crazy person carrying way too much luggage while I carried a diaper bag plus our baby. Now as a family of 4, we take one suitcase that gets checked, one diaper bag that I carry, one kids backpack that Ruby carries, and one adult backpack that Bob carries for a week's worth of travel and that's it.

I know everyone has their suggestions for how they travel and some go more into detail on various aspects of travel (since there are so many!), but these are my go-to "in general" 5 simple and easy tips for traveling with kids...

1. Pack everything in one suitcase. If you make a goal of fitting your whole family's clothing into one suitcase, you'll fit everything into one suitcase (unless of course you have a family of eight in which case you might need two suitcases). What that means is we limit clothing to: two pairs of shoes per person (one pair gets worn), mix and match clothing and/or wash clothes mid-way through the trip if that's an option, and don't bring anything you can get at your final destination (see #2).

2. Rent/borrow what you can there (car seats, strollers, travel crib). Unless you are going to a city or country that doesn't have these items, borrow whatever you can to cut down on having to bring them yourself. We went from bringing all of the above and carrying what felt like 86 pieces of baggage to now renting car seats at the car rental place and using a stroller or travel crib that is offered at a house rental or hotel. That cuts out four pieces of luggage!

3. Order/buy things when you get there (groceries, diapers, anything you need in bulk). If you're traveling to anywhere in the US or a major city abroad, chances are they have most of your necessities there. If I'm traveling in the US and we're staying at a house rental (which I highly prefer over hotels with kids), the night before we arrive, I usually order groceries and any basics we need through something like Instacart. I set the delivery for after the kids go to bed on our first night and then by the morning, we have all our pantry staples as well as diapers/wipes, etc. And it saved space in my suitcase from having to fill it with diapers.

4. Plan one thing everyday but let the rest of the day be decided as you go. I always get recommendations ahead of time for anything I think we'd be interested in. The night before each day on vacation, Bob and I chat about a couple things we want to do, see what else is nearby, and then we focus on one main activity. I keep a couple of other things in the back of my head that are nearby if we have extra time. But with kids, we've learned not to map out the whole day because sometimes there's extra wiggle room that's nice to have and freedom to let the day take you where it will.

5. Break your rules (a little). If you're on the more strict side with schedules like I am, this is the one time it's okay for bedtime to be a little later or to let the kids watch an iPad out at dinner because you just want to have a peaceful meal at a nice restaurant. Cut yourself some slack and let the kids get to break your normal rules a little, too! It's a vacation!

What are your go-to tips?

{Photo by Bob Cho}

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