Packing for Family Travel (AKA How a Family of 5 Packed For 17 Days in Greece in 2 Carry-On’s)

The internet is full of packing lists, just Google the subject. Every blogger, celebrity, internet hack, and astronaut has published an article like “How to Pack for 79 Days in a Rucksack” or “What I Took to the Moon in One Carry-On”. So why am I writing another one? It’s because people keep asking for it and I aim to give the people what they want.

Luggage

We take two carry-on roller bags, one per adult, to keep our baggage fees down and because it is all we need. We have tried taking three and having our eight year old pull one, but we found we just don’t need that much stuff. We also generally take public transportation a lot so we need to maintain our mobility.

Backpacks/Baby Carriers

Hood up with baby napping while we tour the Peloponesse.
We both own a  Twingaroo Twin Baby Carrier. It not only allows parents to carry one child, or twins, comfortably but also has built in storage and can be our day bags as well. (Note: See the cool iron-on AC/DC patch on mine so we can tell them apart.) We use them during the flight for iPads, camera’s, a few diapers etc. Our oldest son also takes a very small backpack with his iPad, a book or two, a plush toy, and perhaps a couple other small items of his choice.

What Clothes to Take

For flights, I wear jeans, walking shoes, a polo or similar, a scarf, a cap, and a sweater or fleece. For planning purposes, we generally stay in an apartment or AirBnB with laundry facilities within a week. I pack the following:

1*Pair of Extra Trousers

7*Pairs of Socks (Note: or enough to have clean ones everyday so we can skip laundry)

7*Pairs of Underwear (see socks note)

3-4*Short Sleeved Shirts or Polo’s

1*Rain Jacket

1*Extra Pair of Shoes

2*Pairs of Shorts (If travelling to an appropriate climate)

1*Swimsuit if required

1*Pair of Sleep Shorts

My wife and oldest son take very similar amounts of clothing for a week or longer. The eight year old will usually have one extra pair of jeans just in case he gets into a dirt fight at the local playground. Our toddlers get one shirt, trousers, socks, and undies for everyday that we will be without laundry up to seven days.

How to Pack

My stuff rolled and packed.
Now with my son’s clothes included and a stuffed dino.
We roll everything and it is easy. In fact, I am terrible at it and I don’t even take that much time, I just do it as quickly as possible so I can get back to binge watching Breaking Bad on Netflix. I share a suitcase with the boy and my wife shares with the twins.

Toiletries

Soap, shampoo, creams etc.
We use the coloured squeeze tubes from Amazon pictured above for shampoo, liquid soap, etc. Those coupled with travel sized toothbrushes and toothpaste and we are pretty much good to go. Contact lens cases are great for face creams etc. Sometimes, we even throw in a couple perfume and cologne samples if we feel like being a little classy. Everything liquid goes in one clear bag, in a backpack for ease of passing security.

What Not To Take

If you are travelling with kids in diapers, buy diapers once you arrive at your destination. Same goes for snacks and other foods. Take only enough snacks and diapers to last until you can get to a store for more, with a few emergency ones just in case. Also, don’t take too many toys. Kids will always choose the tissue box or plastic cups in the hotel over the toys you carefully selected to take.

The Rundown

My last piece of advice is to pack for the best case scenario. If something goes wrong, like your kid projectile vomits all over your rental car in Austria soaking everyone’s extra clothes in vomit (Note: this actually happened to us.), time to hit H&M for a few basics to get you through. You can always pickup things along the way if the need arises.

Questions? Hit me up in the comments section below!

Happy and safe travels!

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Krista says:

    This will be great for us when we are packing for Italy in the fall, we are aiming to just take carry on luggage, which we’ve never done before. Do you find that your clothes (shirts especially) come out with a lot of wrinkles? If yes, do you iron at your destination or just wear it as is?

    Liked by 1 person

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