Packing Organization Tips for Family Travel

May 6, 2016

  (Escape Canvas bag, Steamline luggage (use code IHOD10 for 10% off), Vintage suitcase, Market Tote, Nena and Co Tote)

Today I find it quite humorous that we pack the same amount now for a weekend away with four children than when we did with one. I am sure it was because I didn’t know what to expect and if there is room in the car, I WILL fill it. 😉  As we have grown as a family, I have learned a few tricks here and there that have helped tremendously for being prepared for the “just in case” scenarios without overdoing it as well as realize the freedom in minimal packing! I tried to snap the process to break it down. I’m always up for hearing additional packing organization tips for family travel.

kids suitcase

One Large Suitcase
I usually let them bring their own little skipHop suitcases, because they love the exhilarating independence! However, if it is just a weekend, I pack the three kiddos in one large suitcase. Which includes:

  • Bathing Suits
  • Pajamas & underwear
  • Two outfits (and maybe four for the the potty training child)
  • One pair of shoes (and they wear the second pair in the car!)
  • If there’s room, a favorite doll or blanket, otherwise, they carry into the car. (Surprising them with these sweet handmade dolls from AlimRose)

traveling with kids
Immediate Reach Bucket
I have started to put a bucket behind the passenger seat or driver’s seat filled with those things I usually use in the car ride:

    • Snacks
    • Water bottles
    • Diapers (and for this trip, swim diapers)
    • Baby teethers and toys
    • Reading material in case I happen to get ten minutes of silence! (Can’t wait to dive into this book.)

baby bag unpacked


Separate Bag for Baby
The baby of the family usually requires the most gear! I have pared it down over time though to things I actually use on a trip, and find it easier to keep them in a separate easy access tote bag altogether.

  • Mini Baggu Zip pouch filled with diaper balm, thermometer, roller bottle of essential oils for flu symptoms and one for relaxing sleepytime, portable diaper trash bag dispenser, etc.
  • Swim Trunks and sun hat
  • Baby Blanket and his favorite stuffed elephant and rattle.
  • Two outfits per day (they always end up with a blowout)
  • two pair of sandals (pictured above are from Donsje and Old Navy)
  • pajamas

Most items from Old Navy, cactus bloomers from Little Adi and Co.

beach bag to go

Beach Bag to Go
Beach bags require very little actual necessities, but I am sure we will be tacking on buckets, floats, beach tent, and flip flops without a match.

  • Sunscreen and Aloe (Thank you for all the recs on facebook! A few I am trying that have safe ingredients and aren’t too pasty: Badger (for the baby), Goddess Garden (for the kids), and Alba (for Gabe and I).
  • Linen baby wrap to carry around Rocco.
  • Sunglasses
  • Straw Hats
  • Water bottles and reading material


Towel and Play Mat Bag
I throw all the beach towels and leather beach mat into one bag! I also carry large plastic bags for any wet suits or towels for after the beach or pool. (The ESCAPE bag is from here.)

One suitcase rule
If its just a weekend away, I try my hardest to fit everything into one suitcase…what always gets me is the shoes. (I come from a long line of shoe hoarders.) However, what helps is thinking through versatile pieces that mix and match, so I usually can fit in four outfit options with minimal pieces. I sort everything else in small bags. Jewelry in one, makeup in one, and skin and hair products in another. I also wear an outfit in the car I can re-use there. Sources: Sun hats,  fringe tote, Steamline luggage (10% off with code IHOD10), water resistant make up bag)

Equipment Bag
We bring our camera, goPro, and any other chargers in one bag as well safe and sound away from swinging legs;)

The kids also each pack their own little bag of books and coloring pages for the car along with their pillow. As for Gabe…he is notorious for fitting everything into a backpack. So stubbornly that he will even hand carry a shoe that may not quite fit.


weekend away


So what would be your number one travel tip for packing effectively??
Here are a few other posts in case you missed:
5 Quick Tips for making travel affordable
15 Best Travel Apps

We will be sharing some of our Rosemary Beach adventures on snapchat (user name: annaliesemeyer) and instagram if you want to see the place! It’s a beauty. Although, I’ll be mainly leaving the phone aside for some serious wave riding and sand castle building with my babes;) Have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!

Leave a Comment

  • Roll the kids outfits! I put undies, bottoms and a top and roll it all together. Saves a ton of space and nothing is too wrinkled.

  • Jolee Hughes

    What size Gathre mat do you have?? Trying to decide between the maxi and midi!

    • I have the maxi! We use it on a weekly basis for a tablecloth, beach mat, picnic mat, etc. One of those things we just keep in the trunk of the car:)

  • Allana

    I love this post! I’m traveling to S.CA (alone!) with my 9 month old baby next week, and have no idea how/what to pack. We will also be doing a beach trip 🙂 While I am so excited, all this packing business (for myself, and baby) is one of my least favorite things, so this is very helpful. I’ve also been researching baby sunblocks for the last couple weeks, and decided to go with Badger too! Enjoy your trip!

    • Oh my gosh I hope it went well1 Traveling alone can be so intimidating! Badger has been fantastic! I love that it has calendula in the ingredients:)

  • These are great tips! I like how you try to hit minimalism while still being prepared for emergencies. We don’t have any kids outside of the womb yet (just the little guy in my belly), but when my husband and I pack for trips, I usually lay out everything that I think we need to bring on the bed, and then go through it a second time to weed out items that may not be as necessary as I originally thought. I hope that you have a wonderful trip!

  • I love all of your pretty luggage!! I keep a few of my old shoeboxes in the attic and fill one or two up with as many heels/flats as possible to keep those shoes safe in airline transit. 😉 Boxes get beat up, but the shoes surely make it!

    • aw thanks Jessica! Found one of them at a yard sale! Score! Hey shoeboxes do the trick!

      • Please don’t tell me that the leather one is the one you found at a yard sale…. LOL! Just lovely! Even if you did, could you share the brand? We’re in the process of picking out nice luggage pieces for the family. Thanks! Love all the pieces.

  • I take snacks and medication in separate ziplock bags. It helps to be able to reach in for things and pull them out separately and then you have little baggies left over for rubbish or dirty diapers, etc.

    I am also a shoe hoarder and cannot travel with less than three pairs for me and at least two for my daugther.

  • Anja Skrba

    Hope you guys enjoying 😀

  • Ana! Firstly, congratulations to your family for your tiny surprise <3 Second, my family and I are taking a trip to the beach for the very first time and ao now I'm scouring bloggers for their travel/beach tips. That Eascape bag is killing me- so cute. But most importantly (sarcasm) I am looking for a straw sun hat! Thanks Ana!

    • Aw thank you my dear! Aren’t those hats fun?! I wasnt about to spend $200 plus on a Eugenia Kim hat so I loved the price tag of the Gigi Pip ones that are just as fab!

      • I am commenting to make you know of the terrific discovery my coi28n&#us17;s princess developed visiting your web page. She even learned lots of pieces, most notably what it is like to have an amazing coaching heart to have many more very easily grasp certain multifaceted topics. You really surpassed people’s desires. I appreciate you for giving those priceless, trusted, explanatory and unique thoughts on that topic to Jane.

  • I’m very intrigued by that Gathre mat. Could you tell us a little more about it? Does sand and grass brush off easily? Does it stain terribly with foods and drinks? (obviously it will some because it’s leather but that could just add to it’s look in my mind)

    • Hi Alisa! I can’t tell you how much we use this mat! It’s so easy to keep in the trunk of the car and pull out whenever we picnic, beach ,etc. The lighter colors will stain some, but I have been able to keep it fairly clean with simple spray wash. Go for the darker color for lower-maintenance. 🙂

  • […] mother 4. Meeting Little Flower 5. Dining room makeover reveal 6. Three dutch braid hairstyles 7. Packing organization tips for family travel 8. Indoor + Outdoor plant guide 9. Closing time: committing to the right home 10. Three […]

  • Nice reading this one, I myself try to become a champion in “luggage-with-kids-oh-my”, mainly because we don’t have a car (not necessary in Paris) and take the train or plane usually.
    My tips:
    – never more than 2 bags (my husband is carrying both since I have the stroller to move with). +1 handbag in the stroller with important valuable stuff and baby food/diapers etc.
    – Kids: 1 backpack for the 4 of them, containing their doll, some books/game and food for the trip.
    – in the bags, separate each kid’s clothes in dedicated bag, just to make it easier to find and tidy.
    – usually: 3 outfits for 1 week will work (considering the washing machine is available on-site of course); and ideally 1 pair of shoes only , sometimes 2 in case of rainy weather.
    Et Voilà!

  • I have noticed you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn extra bucks every month because you’ve got hi quality content.
    If you want to know how to make extra bucks, search for: Mertiso’s tips best adsense alternative

  • […] In Honor of Design has a few ideas on different bags for those “just in case” scenarios that always seem to happen when you travel with children. […]

Copyright © 2024 In Honor Of Design powered by chloédigital