Minimalist Packing: How to Travel Light, Even with Your Little Ones – Big Kids

Planning a family vacation this summer with your big kid? Think back to when you were traveling with an infant or toddler and you’ll feel the sweet relief that you can take your next road trip or flight with much less fuss (visit parts I and II of this Minimalist Packing series to relive those memories).

You’ll still need to pack a few extra things when traveling with big kids, but it’s much less involved than previous years with bottles, diapers, and averting tantrums.

This minimalist packing guide focuses on the essentials to get your family to your destination with only the things you need. Less stuff = less stress! Read more to see what gear you’ll need.

Minimalist packing big kid

What to Pack - Your Kibou

Pro Tip Reminder: Your Kibou doesn’t count as a carry-on AND it’s the perfect size to travel down the aisle and into the miniscule airplane bathroom. Keep the most essential of items by your side hands-free whether you’re on the move or sitting in your seat.

  • Wipes
  • Snacks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Phone
  • Credit cards
  • Driver’s license or passport*
  • Keys
  • Sunglasses
  • Headphones/earbuds

*Remove the changing pad and the back pocket is a perfect safe spot for passports

    What To Pack – Your Bag Within Reach

    Now that you have a big kid, you may decide to let him/her bring their own bag with their entertainment items. That means you can pack just a few items for them in your own bag, leaving more space for your stuff in your Kibou, tote bag or backpack! Big kids have more patience than toddlers, but they’re still small and having little surprises like a new book or small toy can go a long way.

    • Snacks
    • Water bottle
    • 1 new toy
    • Wet Wipes
    • Small first aid kit
    • Phone charger
    • Optional: Your phone with their favorite video downloaded
    • Optional: let them bring their own bag with headphones, tablet, books

    Recommendation: We're obsessed with Common Sense Media for recs and reviews of age-appropriate apps and shows for your kiddos!

    What To Pack - Stowed Carry On

    You may opt to skip the extra bag this time around as your big kid doesn’t require as much as a baby or a toddler. However, if you’re traveling a long distance it helps to pack a few extra essentials. All little kids are prone to accidental messes and boredom while sitting in one place!

    • Extra change of clothes/layers for if it’s cold
    • Extra snacks
    • More toys and books new and old
    • Tylenol/Motrin or other medication
    • Bag for soiled clothes/other messy things
    • Kids' sunglasses 

    What To Pack – Checked-Baggage

    You’ll notice more repeats from parts I and II of this Minimalist Packing series, but the lists do keep shrinking as the children’s ages progress! In your big kid’s suitcase you just need the same things that you’d pack for yourself, with maybe a couple more fun additions.

    • Enough clothing and shoes for the duration of your stay (if you’ll be doing laundry, this can be less)
    • Dirty clothes bag (if you’re unable to wash)
    • Travel-size toiletries (i.e. shampoo/body wash and lotion)
    • Sunscreen
    • Seasonal Necessities (like swimming vests)
    • Optional: board games or puzzles

    Making Memories with Your Big Kid

    We all know that as kids get older, traveling gets easier. Traveling with big kids makes it a little easier to enjoy the precious moments of your family vacation. With less things you have to bring, the more relaxed you are and the more fun you can have together. We also hope that using these travel hacks will shorten and simplify your trip preparation time!

    Click below to read more about packing for:

    Baby

    Toddler

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