Getting Kids Packing for Travel!

Ways of getting kids packing for family travel, from our guest blogger Dayna at Lemon Lime Adventures.

It’s that time of year again. School is letting out, the kids are home, and the weather is perking up. What better time than now to plan a family vacation. But everyone knows that planning a family vacation can be easier said than done. From finding the perfect destination to planning for what to pack, preparing for travel with kids can be downright exhausting. If only you had a way of getting kids packing their own bag for family trips, right? I am excited to share some tips that not only we use in our home, but that real moms have tried and tested over time to make preparing for travel a little less stressful.

Over at Lemon Lime Adventures today, I am sharing our Free Printable | Kids Packing List that you won’t want to miss!

Getting Kids Packing for Family Travel

Just last week we went on our first trip of the year to visit family. I was reminded that it can be quite the trick to get everyone and everything organized. Whether you have 1 kid or 10, I have found one of the most stress-reducing tips I can share for getting kids packing for travel, so they will WANT to help you, too! People sometimes can’t believe that I have my kids pack their own bags for every trip. It’s a tradition we started as early as they could walk. I have found that since giving my children ownership and responsibility over their own packing, prepping for any trip has become a much smoother {and saner} experience for everyone.

Below you will find 7 sure-fire ways to get kids excited about packing for travel! Let’s get packing!

Kid Friendly Luggage | One of my kids’ favorite parts of packing for any trip is that we head down to the basement and get out their travel luggage. They know these bags only come out for special trips, and the emotions connected to them are always positive. Giving each child their own luggage, provides them with a sense of ownership and pride, making them more likely to be eager to fill it to the brim with their favorite trip necessities.

Start early | Packing the night before any trip can be stressful on both you and your kids. Make sure you leave plenty of time to enjoy the packing process. Packing for your family trip can be just as fun as the actual travel, if you can get your kids excited about packing. In our house we do a little each day for 3 days. We start with the essentials, such as clothing and toiletries and move towards their favorite travel games and books.

Something New | A sure fire way to ensure my kids will be excited about packing, and entertained on a long car drive or airplane ride, is to give them something they haven’t seen before to add to their suitcase. Adding in a new activity, travel game, or reading book can be the key in a successful trip. The key is that this is something new to them or something that they haven’t been using everyday for the last few months. Maybe it’s something in your toy rotation, something special you picked up from Melissa & Doug, or something you borrowed from a friend. Whatever it is, it will be fresh!

Something Old | Don’t forget to have your kids pack their special something. Maybe its a book that always keeps them engaged, maybe its a favorite blanket, maybe its even their favorite stuffed animal. What ever the case, letting your kids pack their special something will get them excited about bringing along their “little comfort” from home.

Make It Fun | I know, I know… how can packing be fun. For kids it really can be. Try making the packing a look and find game. Cut your lists into individual cards and have the kids “find” items one at a time until all of the items on your list have been found. In my house, my boys love to turn packing into a Relay Race. They get their lists, the suitcases, and then they are off! Who can pack their bag (with everything they need) the fastest.

Special Jobs | Divide and conquer. Children love to be in charge and they love to have special jobs. Packing for a trip is no exception. Try giving each member of your family a special job like sock gatherer, snack retriever, or stuffy patrol. They will love the silly names and the fun of packing. You can even print off little badges, and let the children wear them as you pack. To give everyone a chance at the fun, you can rotate jobs and give everyone a chance at being in charge of the stuffed animals.

Lists | Lists make everything more concrete and visible for your child. Think about how, as adults, even we use lists on a daily basis. Depending on the age of your child, you will want to vary how your list is made. For younger children under preschool, you might want to include pictures. Making a kid-friendly list they can follow will get kids excited for the trip to come and help them feel more organized and prepared. You can find a printable packet of kid-friendly packing lists by clicking on the button below.

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Related Traveling with Kids Resources

Road Trip Drawing Prompts | Picklebums

18 Homemade Printable Car Games for Kids | Buggy and Buddy

Top Movies for Family Travel | Let’s Lasso the Moon

Featured Travel Materials from Melissa & Doug

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Getting Kids Packing for Family Travel


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Dayna is a National Board Certified teacher with over 12 years of experience in the primary classroom. She recently began homeschooling her 3 children against her will. She writes at Lemon Lime Adventures, where she writes about the trials, successes and errors of their life, life living as a blended family, and dealing with a son with Sensory Processing Disorder. You can find Dayna rockin’ it over on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and G+!

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  1. […] The key to preparing for any trip with children is to get them excited and involved in the process. Today, I am over at Melissa and Doug sharing 7 Must Read Tips to Get Your Kids Excited about Travel. […]