February 20, 2024

10 Travel Tips with Kids

Organizational Travel Tips – 10 Travel Tips with Kids

Do you love to travel but need some ideas on how to keep things organized for packing? These Organizational Travel Tips – 10 Travel Tips with Kids might help give you some inspiration to pack your bags like a pro.

My family is a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 kids). These organizational travel tips are great for parents with kids of all ages. When I was a child, I always loved to travel with my family on the fun vacations my parents planned. Then as a young single lady, I became more adventurous with longer vacations. And a few of those trips were backpacking around Europe for 6 weeks. So I know a thing or two about thoughtful planning when you need to limit what you bring. Now with a family of our own, we’ve had to get even more creative to keep ourselves organized during a trip. Packing is so much more work with kids!!! Here are 10 travel tips with kids, that might keep you more organized, so you can spend your time having fun.

Lightweight Backpacks and Waist-packs

I bought 3 lightweight backpacks (for carry-ons on the plane) in different colors for my kids and matching waist-packs. They carried their own backpack from place to place, but could wear the waist-pack across their shoulder for hiking with just a water bottle, a few snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen, or whatever they wanted to have on hand. As an avid photographer, I am not carrying everyone’s water bottle weight with my gear on a hike. Check out Eddie Bauer for their Stowaway packs. These waist-packs came in handy in the Badlands National Park.

2 boys sitting on a bench wearing waist packs in the Badlands in South Dakota which is one of 10 travel tips with kids
Enjoying the view near Door Trail in the Badlands National Park, South Dakota
10 travel tips with kids include wearing waist packs around the shoulder to carry water bottles while hiking in the Badlands National Park in South Dakota
Door Trail in the Badlands

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes. Need I say more? Roll all the clothes and organize the cubes in the way that makes the most sense to you. I recommend looking on Amazon for packing cubes that come in different colors and each child will have their own color set in different sizes. The ones with mesh tops are nice to easily see the contents inside. I’ve considered the options, and so far, I like to organize according to clothing type. All the socks and underwear together, all the shirts together…etc. Or you can organize by day with every item of clothing, and place a sticker for each day on the cube. This would work well for predictable climates, but not so much when traveling to places that range from freezing to hot all in one day. Hi Yellowstone. I’m looking at you.

10 Travel Tips with kids include packing cubes for a lady standing at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the sign in the park, and at Grand Prismatic Spring
In Yellowstone National Park, you need layers in June.

Waterproof Mesh Zipper Bags

Waterproof mesh zipper bags. I love these things! I bought a big bunch a few years ago and we use them for everything! It’s so convenient AND good for the environment when you aren’t cycling through one time use disposable plastic bags. And you already know I like color coded items, so each person has their own color. They come in various sizes. Check out Amazon for many options.

We used these to separate the kids backpack items they might want access to on the airplane. A small one has art supplies, like color pencils and markers. A large one has an activity book, reading books, and sketchbooks, and maybe a device such as a phone or iPad and charger. I also use these bags to organize literally all loose items we pack, such as medications and first aid items like band-aids. And bring some extra ones to store souvenirs like postcards and ticket stubs. I save these things for scrapbooking my vacation.

Shoe Bags

Shoe bags! I love them! If you are hiking and get mud in your treads, or your kids have stinky feet from sweating in sneakers all day, or you just don’t even want to think about what is on the bottom of your shoes when you pack them with your clean clothing, never fear, shoe bags are here!

I do try to pack as light as possible. Now with kids, this is difficult. So, depending on the vacation, it may vary, but the way we travel right now, we need 2 shoe bags each. We pack hiking shoes and flip flops and wear our regular sneakers on the plane. The hiking shoes and sneakers switch places throughout the trip. When I pack up my clothes, I feel way better about the options I have for placing the shoe bag since they protect my clothes from whatever is on my shoe soles.

Odor Balls for Shoes

Like I said before, closed shoes can turn up stinky, so when the hiking shoes come off, roll in a scented deodorizer and let it work its magic. Your family will thank you when you decide to take off your shoes during the next long car ride. 😉 We keep a pair for each person in the shoe bags. The shoes and deodorizers will sit overnight and during the day if you can wear your alternate shoes, or if you need the hiking shoes two days in a row, at least it won’t be as bad with the overnight refreshment.

One more thing about this item, I never mind packing things that don’t take up space. Even though they are already small, they are stored in your shoe, and the inside of the shoe is really just negative space that otherwise would remain empty. If your shoe isn’t a sweaty sneaker, you can use that negative space to pack extra socks to save space in your luggage.

Dirty Laundry Bag for Each Person

Yup! Each person needs their own for longer trips. It just keeps it more organized. And honestly, I like to have an extra small one for each person to place stinky socks, or clothing items that got food or mud all over them. If you plan to run a load of wash with more than one person’s clothing, without having to sort after, then mesh laundry bags are helpful. You can place each child’s mesh bag of dirty clothes in the wash together and also run them through the dryer. I like the vinyl ones for packing dirty clothes back into the suitcase, though. Here is one that I bought for my son.

Towel Distinctions

Have you ever stayed in a hotel with 5 identical white towels for 5 people, and one towel rack in the bathroom? And despite trying to remember who put what towel where, you weren’t sure if they were mixed up? This happened to our family of 5 several times, so I finally started packing hair ties in different colors. Once someone took a shower, their color elastic band was added on the corner of the towel. Each time they needed their towel, they knew which one was theirs.

color hair ties on towels to tell them apart
At the beach, my kids each chose their own hair tie color to keep track of towels

Cups for a family of 5 & Reusable water bottles

How about cups? We definitely pack a reusable dishwasher safe water bottle for each family member on every trip. But it isn’t hygienic to use the same one day after day without cleaning it. And sometimes after a long day hiking, exploring, or just being lazy on the beach, you don’t have the energy to hand wash 5 water bottles if your lodging doesn’t have access to a dishwasher, or you just don’t want to run a small dishwasher load. Well, over the years I’ve tried many things and each have their benefits. I will share all of my solutions, but my current favorite is reusable, dishwasher safe stackable 9oz cups in at least 5 different colors. And I pack 2 of each color. Each family member is assigned a color.

Reusable Water bottles

Then we have our water bottle to use all day while out exploring, and then while back at the hotel or vacation home, we use our color cup for drinks of water or juice. We try to use only one cup for the day, and then load the dishwasher (if we have one) at the end of the day and use the 2nd cup the following day. If the cups need to be hand washed, at least it buys us some time – I’m too busy exploring during the day to do dishes! If you are staying at a VRBO or place that provides cups and dishes, sure, you could use those, but often times I prefer to use our own because I know they are clean and I’m not wondering whose glass is whose as they are left about the table.

When walking around a place without your own reusable water bottles and refill stations, you can bring your color hair elastics along and each person can use their color on their water bottle neck. We did this at Disney World, when we ran out of water and needed to buy plastic water bottles. We had a stroller with several bottle waters and this was how we knew whose was whose.

Foldable Water Bottles

For extended vacations lasting a couple of weeks, I do like to have a foldable reusable water bottle for hiking. Once empty, it rolls up and doesn’t take up too much space in a backpack, nor does it weigh too much. See my pick here. Then if I was too tired at the end of the day, I had my regular water bottle clean and ready to go for the next day.

Travel First Aid kit

You can buy travel first aid kits online, and ready to go. But for my purposes, I had certain items in mind that I wanted to include and so I preferred to put together my own. I wanted something very small and basic. Here is the tiny one that I bought and that I take on short hiking trips or on day excursions. I just need band-aids in various sizes, Neosporin to go, alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer, and a few other items.

Small Collapsible Colander & Collapsible Bowl with Lid

My husband thought I was weird when I packed a small collapsible colander the first time, but then later he agreed it was a good idea. For my kind of vacation, we found it very useful. We love blueberries, strawberries, etc. and sometimes when you are staying a hotel, you just want to pick up some fruit at the grocery store and easily rinse it off. I use my mini 3 cup colander on every vacation. Then if make homemade trail mix or want to store fruit or any other snack, I like having the collapsible bowl as an option. Once empty, it flattens out and is out of the way. Both of these items are easy to pack because they flatten out. Sometimes I also bring re-usable/dishwasher safe plastic utensils, and you can find sets with containers.

Bon Voyage! Get organized using 10 travel tips with kids.

Bon Voyage! Now that you will be packing for your next trip with some new ideas, I hope these 10 travel tips with kids will keep your family more organized so that you can spend more time enjoying your travels! If you also enjoy photography, then check out this blog post about how to organize your travel photos.

Rebecca Leigh Photography

I am not affiliated with any of the products mentioned in this post. I just recommend things that I like.