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20 Helpful and Clever Travel Hacks for Parents

mom and toddler traveling

So you want to travel with your kids? That’s great!

But along with the excitement of going somewhere new or further away from home, there can be anxiety too. Especially when you’re planning and researching all the packing hacks for more than just you.

Questions can run through your head like, “What can I absolutely NOT forget? Do I need to buy anything new?”

Deciding to travel with kids is absolutely doable, but it involves some positive thinking and LOTS of planning. If you’re looking for some helpful family travel hacks for your next adventure, check out these 20 ideas.

Plan Ahead and Pack Smart for Family Travel

Before you do anything, plan all you can (maybe an obvious travel hack). Set a date on your calendar a few weeks before your trip and allow yourself time to audit what you have and what you need to purchase. If you like to order online from Amazon or other retailers, give yourself plenty of time to have things shipped to your door before your trip.

kibou diaper bag with changing pad, moist wipe compartment, and space for all your toddler's needs

Pack light

Traveling with kids can be overwhelming, so it's essential to pack light. Keep it simple. Our Kibou bag is the perfect minimal diaper bag for your little one and transitions nicely for your toddler's go-to items too. You can pack all the essentials in our bag from diapers, an extra onesie, wipes, keys, credit cards, and passports. Not to mention, there’s room for snacks and a changing pad at your disposal when you’re on the go.

For your luggage, pack clothes you can wear more than once and stay in the same color scheme to eliminate over-packing.

Look into packing cubes

Packing cubes are great for keeping items organized and separate. They also are a pretty popular packing hack these days. Packing cubes can make it easier to find what you need in a hurry, especially traveling with kids.

You can even color-code the different cubes for every member of your family, and add labels to the outside so it’s easy to find that extra underwear in emergencies.

Consider traveling at night 

If you have little ones, traveling at night can make a long trip seem bearable. The upside to night travel is they can snooze away while you get to where you’re going (whether it’s by car or by plane.) Simply put them in their pj’s, provide a warm blanket, and get them cozy to fall asleep to the sound of miles disappearing behind you.

Most Creative Family Travel Hacks

Provide snacks in an organizer

Snacks are a given while traveling with kids. But putting them in a snack organizer is the travel hack you didn’t realize you needed. 

By packing an assortment in a bento box or finding a craft organizer at your local crafting store, you can give your kids an assortment of 4-7 things to choose from all in one place. Just choose items that don’t need refrigeration (melted chocolate is no fun). 

little girl holding purple pony toy

Pack quiet toys

When you travel with kids, packing toys is important. But you may want to pick the quiet and simple ones while you’re moving from place to place. If you’ll be around others on a long journey, you’ll appreciate less noise and so will they.

Choosing more simple toys also means worrying less about losing pieces and dealing with a sad kiddo as a result. No one wants to be that parent on their hands and knees trying to find the last Lego piece. Am I right?

Purchase a headphone splitter

If you have limited devices or want to pack less, a headphone splitter is great so both the kids (or you too) can watch the same movie at the same time. 

Having fewer devices on your trip also helps with staying focused on packing only what you need. Not to mention, fewer devices mean not needing to remember to charge them. Talk about helping your mental load while traveling with kids.

Bring a baby carrier

If you have an infant or toddler, you will want to bring along your baby carrier so you can be hands-free as much as possible. This allows you to grab luggage and check in easier too. 

It’s also very helpful when trying to navigate through crowded spaces. This is where the carrier versus the stroller can win out when you need to move quickly and weave in and out of large groups in a hurry.

kibou diaper bag with bou boo bag kit

Remember the first-aid kit

If you’re a parent, you know having a first-aid kit on hand is essential for those boo-boo moments. Kids can get hurt anywhere and traveling is no different (maybe even more likely).

It’s a good idea to remember the band-aids, alcohol wipes, and itch-relief creams. Our bou-boo bag has these items and more fitting neatly in your Kibou. Having some of these essentials on-hand helps when maybe there’s no store in sight to make a purchase.

Pack antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer in travel sizes

Whether it’s liquid form or wipes, buy these items in bulk and store them in the car, in your travel bag, and pack extra in your luggage. 

You never know when or where you’re going to need to wash your hands with no soap and water in sight. Having hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes in different locations with you ensures that you never go without them.

Download travel apps to your phone

As a part of the planning process, look into adding travel apps like Google Maps, to your phone ahead of time. These apps can help you navigate to your destination when you’re in a hurry. 

Also, another travel hack is to pack a portable charger. You don’t want your phone to die on you in the middle of trying to get to your destination with little kids that are hungry and tired.

two toddler girls swimming in pool wearing sunglasses

Look for family-friendly amenities 

When booking accommodations, try seeking out a swimming pool, kids' club, or nearby playgrounds for your family to enjoy. 

It’s a given as a mom that my kids love places where there’s a pool. Planning your trip where there are fun and (sometimes free) family-friendly amenities, can also be helpful for your travel budget too.

Book accommodations with a kitchen

If you're traveling with young kids, it's often more convenient to have access to a kitchen to prepare meals and snacks. Kids are hungry all the time, and going out to eat may not be efficient or budget-friendly. 

Look for accommodations that include a kitchen or kitchenette when booking your stay.

Use ice bucket liners for more than just ice

If you’re staying in a hotel, use the ice bucket liners to store those dirty diapers so you’re not smelling them all night long. It’s better than throwing them in the bathroom trash and getting a constant whiff during your stay. Ask the hotel for extras too if you’re staying for a few nights.

Consider multiple uses for the coffee maker

Depending on your accommodations, most of the time you have a coffee pot right in your room. In addition to hot coffee for you, use the hot water for making ramen and oatmeal when your kids want a late or early morning snack. The hot water is also great for warming up baby bottles too.

Include chip clips in your luggage

No, it’s not to keep your chip bags closed while you’re on vacation (although you can). Chip clips are also great for keeping room curtains closed when you want your kids to sleep in the next day. Nothing’s worse than trying to get some rest in a new place, and your toddler is up and ready to go at 5:30 a.m. because the daylight is shining in.

Pack Ziploc bags

Having Ziploc bags on hand is essential for a few reasons. For one, It’s great for packing individual outfits when your toddler has a spill and needs a quick change. It also doubles for storing soiled clothes too (which is a great travel hack when there is no washer or dryer in sight).

If someone is unexpectedly feeling sick it also serves as a handy vomit bag when you need it most. Not to mention, if you’re on the beach, you can use a Ziploc bag to keep your phone safe from any water damage or sand.

Pack a roll of painter’s tape

Especially if you have crawling toddlers, painter’s tape is a great travel hack for baby-proofing. 

Use it to keep the toilet lid closed and cover up any open electrical sockets. If your toddler is into playing with cars, it can be handy for creating impromptu race car tracks to keep them entertained in the hotel room or where you have wide-open space.

mom with kibou kissing toddler girl's hand on the sidewalk while traveling

Best Travel Hack Every Parent Should Know

Give yourself plenty of time

If you’re a parent, you know traveling with kids is unpredictable. You never know when someone is going to be cranky, fall asleep, or have a tantrum. 

Especially with kids, it's best to give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Travel in general can cause delays, and adding kids’ needs on top of that can extend the time you need to get to where you want to go. Always plan for more time than you think.

Find 15 minutes on your trip for yourself

And perhaps one of the best travel hacks of all, find small windows of time for yourself. If you’re traveling with a partner, find 15-20 minute windows on vacation where you can recharge alone. 

For example, have your partner take the kids to breakfast so you can get some added time to get ready. Stay behind with one child in the room while they nap and read on the balcony.

Return the favor for the other adult with you too. Find these small windows of time, and give yourself a moment to mentally and physically relax.

Traveling with kids can be a really wonderful experience. But it can feel overwhelming too. With the right amount of planning and keeping these family travel hacks in mind, you can make it a more enjoyable experience.



If you’re looking for convenient and minimal travel bags, shop our different Kibou bags and accessories. They are an excellent travel hack, and other parents think so too.

You don’t have to take our word for it…

“Perfect bag for travel! I love how compact this bag is, while still having enough room to fit everything a travelling mom needs. Quality is great and the changing pad is an awesome feature! - Natasha Y.”

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