A post exclusively about packing!
We have tried a lot of variants when packing, and I have found that different kinds of trips call for different compositions when packing. Also, the child’s age and activity level will dictate a lot of what you will need or not. We tried to travel both with heaps of luggage
These are some things we have found:
Bringing a lot of clothes is almost never necessary. Most places have an easy and accessible way to wash clothes. We like to stay in rented houses or flats, and always chose one with a washing machine. Many popular tourist destinations, like Thailand, have really cheap laundry services at every street corner. Also, most hotels have a (slightly more expensive) laundry service that takes a really short time. When we went to Southeast Asia we only brought the bare minimum, like one pair of sandals, two pairs of shorts, a few t-shirts and a couple of training outfits. For Maya we brought a few more pieces, as she gets dirty a little easier than us, but she really didn’t need it, as she would often just wear a nappy or swimming trunks anyway.
We brought our Stokke Trailz stroller with us to Brazil when Maya was around 5 months and that felt very unnecessary. It’s a super nice piece of equipment, but we could just as easily have bought a small lightweight stroller that’s easier to travel with. Mainly because the Stokke Trailz needs to be packed into the huge PramPack to be sent on board the plane, and it’s super duper heavy. We later on got a travel pram called 4me Paris, which we got because it has an enormous hood that gives a lot of shade. For our next trip we’re getting a GB Pockit, which apparently is the world’s smallest or lightest stroller, weighing in at only 4,3 kilos. For several trips we haven’t even brought a stroller with us. See blog posts about our trips to Athens, Paris and Southeast Asia.
We carry Maya a lot and she is used to napping in a carrier, but even if we didn’t there are just too many situations where a stroller or carrying in arms is not practical. For instance, in many places the landscape just isn’t stroller friendly, and using one would be more tiring than not. One example is airports. While you can use a stroller at the airport, the security check is so much easier without one. I usually front carry in a full buckle that is easy to clip on and off, and keep my rucksack on my back. That way I have my arms free and can pick out stuff like passports and tickets when needed. Most airports will require you to take the carrier off when passing the metal detector, but as long as the carrier is easy, that’s not a problem. We have used an Angelpack, an Ergobaby original and a Lenny Lamb toddler.
When at the destination we have often used a carrier for sightseeing and day time napping. In very hot climates I prefer a ring sling or a short woven wrap in cotton or linen. In Southeast Asia I only brought a base sized wrap, but it worked fine as it was a cool cotton and linen blend.
Here are some of my favourite carrying moments in Paris, Thailand and Vietnam:
We absolutely prefer to travel with backpacks, and as lightly as possible. Here’s our packing list for going to a hot country with a 3-12 month old:
- 2 or 3 baby carriers (to alternate if one gets wet or beyond bearably dirty)
- 1 backpack for each adult with the bare necessities when it comes to clothing and toiletries (if I’m staying more than a few days a place I prefer to buy soap and shampoo at my destination and leave the rest there when I leave)
- 1 little rucksack for the baby’s stuff: nappies, wet wipes, napkins, a couple of toys, a change of clothes (often a t-shirt is enough), water bottle and a snack. This can be used on outings as well, so it’s good if it’s big enough for a towel or whatever you might need for that. For trips to the beach the hotel might offer a beach bag, so that is often not necessary.
I like newer models of backpacks that are made of material with some stretch/give to them, as this is more forgiving and allows for the more hasty packing that you might have to do when you have a needy baby. It’s also a plus if it has several compartments and can be opened in the front like a duffel bag when lain down. I’m very pleased with my Bergans Skarstind 40L, which I’ve had for about four years. You might think 40 litres is little, but I’d never need more than that.
I think that’ll be it for now. Let me know if you have any questions!