Packing with a Toddler

I am not a traveler. Even from a minimalist perspective traveling with little ones requires more stuff than I like.
What I have discovered is that the adults in this household (i.e. David and myself) are worse at determining what is necessary than the baby. If it were up to her a pack of diapers and her stuffed animal friends would be sufficient. When we traveled to Cape May, NJ in June, I was quite proud of the small load we took. In fact, no seats were folded down and you could still see out the back window. People this is progress! 

The trick was that we were only gone for 4 full days. We will soon be heading out to Michigan for a big family reunion, several friend reunions, and good quality time with David's parents and brother. We have much to look forward to, but first there is the packing.

I thought it might be fun to show you what we're taking. And let's be honest, if I'm telling you I'll be more likely to pack less, right?

Duration of trip--Ten days.

Challenge-- Not over packing while still being sensible.


  • Kids clothes are small which is probably why it's easy to over-pack. When Bit was born a sweet friend of my parents gave us this extra-large tote bag. I use it as her "suitcase". She has 6 sets of outfits including jeans and a long-sleeved cardi, and one set of pajamas. Two packs of diapers and two set of wipes (one regular container and one travel pack for my purse) are also packed in the bag.
  • Using a laundry basket to pack our clothes, means I have a built in way of handling laundry when I do it mid-trip. I divide the basket in half and place each of our clothes on one side. The top of the basket must be flat to allow for stacking other things on top in the car. We'll each take six outfits including a pair of jeans. I also try to pack my clothes so that any top can be worn with any bottom allowing for lots of combinations. We'll also be packing running clothes as we'll have ample opportunity to exercise in new places.

Toiletries-- A couple Christmases ago, my in-laws gave me this awesome toiletry bag. I love it because I keep it packed year round with travel size deodorant, shampoo, bar soap, advil, q-tips, shaving cream, and toothpaste. I also have permanently packed a sweet little bag of organic baby bath goodies that my sister-in-law gave us when Tabitha was born. When it comes to packing all I have to do is add toothbrushes, brush, curling iron, and razor the morning we leave and I'm done!

Entertainment-- Here is where it gets overly tricky. David is a fast reader. Very fast. Even with reading 500 page books he can complete two easily within ten days. So we'll be taking an entertainment basket for us and bag for Tabitha with the following:

  • 3 books for David, 1 book for me
  • Several CDs, DVDs, and books for Tabitha (thank you public library!)
  • A knitting project that is so mindless all I need is the yarn. :-)
  • One small box of board games
Miscellaneous-- Since we'll be spending time on Lake Michigan (sand) and at Camp Michindoh (sand & woods) we'll be taking two small bags of groceries and two beach bags. One is an IKEA blue bag that houses our beach blanket and T's pail and shovel. The second, is another L.L. Bean nylon bag that holds our swimming towels and suits. We'll also be hauling out the baby monitor so we don't have to camp outside her door. Oh and a stroller or maybe two-- depending.

That is still a lot of stuff. I wonder how much I'll ditch in the loading process? 

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