How to Pack Light For a Weekend Trip with Two Toddlers

We do a lot of weekend trips. My family isn’t here in Cincinnati any more, so there are a lot of weekends you’ll catch us jumping in the car and driving for a visit. Don’t get me wrong, I love that our kids can handle this type of travel. Visiting my family has set us up to have two toddlers who travel well, opening up the world to more adventures for our family of four. With all of our overnights and weekend trips to visit, I have gotten packing us all up down to a science. So, here is how I pack light for a weekend trip with my two toddlers.

Make a List

I make a mental list of how long we will be there. For weekend trips it is typically Saturday and Sunday, with a few Friday’s thrown in now and again. I write down any special outfits we will need, like if there is a special event we are going for.

I always have our travel toiletry bags packed and ready to go. Yes, we travel that much. It’s usually right after the list that I double check all of this to make sure I have all of the toothbrushes, deodorant, and hair accessories. Since we are normally visiting my family, I don’t typically bring things like shampoo and conditioner, but I always have a travel size set at the ready. I bought this refillable travel set years ago and still use it today.

Lay Out Each Outfit

Once I am ready to start packing, I lay everything out on our bed. I do this by day, filling in each day’s column for each member of our household.

This picture is from our week long trip to Norris this summer. Check my column 😀

I am a triple checker. I don’t know if this is a mom thing, but I always feel like I am forgetting something. Laying it all out let’s me SEE that I haven’t forgotten anything and that we have enough outfits for the entirety of the stay. This also helps me to check one, two, three times. Ben will watch me hit each pile for each person two or three times. “Saturday, Sunday for the ride home, pajamas, extra. Okay, I think it can go in the bag now.”

Putting it all out like this has one more benefit, it helps me NOT overpack. As I lay things out I see how much space everything is going to take up and this has really helped me narrow down my own outfits. I often find myself asking myself, “Kayla, are you really going to wear this dress when you’re sitting at the pool? No, didn’t think so.”

Always Bring an “Extra” for the Kids

I always have an “extra” pile setup on my bed. For the kids this is necessary, especially if you don’t want to or can’t do laundry while you are away. It is just easier to have an extra pair of clothes on hand just in case. Heck, pack an extra for you! I have always brought extra undies for myself, basically since I started my period in the eighth grade. I also always pack two to three extra pair of undies for the kids.

When we have flown, I am always sure to keep the extra outfit in my personal item so that I can easily access.

When we road trip, I also have an “extra” outfit for each kid in a bag in the car. This bag actually is in my car at all times (and that is a little toddler mom hack I 100% recommend!)

Bring a Laundry Bag

My dad is a pilot, he flies all around the world and has a stock pile of laundry bags that he gets from hotel cleaners. I cannot recommend this enough. Get yourself a laundry bag. Keep it in your suitcases so that it is always ready to go. This is a new thing for me this year and I am so serious, get one. I found this little set on Amazon, its a set of two bags that zip up small and it’s only $12.99 (as of me writing this post)

Two reasons this is awesome:

  1. It helps keep your area clean while you are on the vacation. No more dirty clothes touching clean clothes or strewn all over the floor
  2. It is so easy to squish the whole bag back into luggage. Then when you get home, dump it all into the washer and you’re 80% done unpacking

Game. Changer.

Seriously, Bring Only What You NEED

There is something about going away that always makes me want to dress nicer than normal Kayla dresses. So I want to bring three options for each day. Don’t lie to yourself. You are going to wear the same t-shirt and leggings on your trip that you wear at home. Pack for the reality of your trip, not the dream version.

That’s truthfully it. The hardest part is always packing only what you need but it gets easier every time! I was able to pack me and the two kids for a four day trip to New York in a small carry-on size luggage (this included swim suits AND swim vests for each of them!). Packing light makes a world of a difference for both flying and driving. Freeing up trunk space is always nice, especially if your furry friend tags along!

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