HINT: LESS IS MORE
We are flying overnight to London this week and travelling with our 2 year old. Luckily, I travelled a lot in my previous job so I have fine tuned my minimalist packing abilities over the years. We have also travelled quite a bit with Alice in the past two years so have figured out the complexities of travelling with an extra human that takes more luggage than the both of us! If you haven't travelled with your toddler yet, this guide is an essential read!
We only bring two suitcases for check in, stroller for gate check and a backpack each!
Follow These 4 Guidelines
1. Stay In An Apartment
This is not a packing tip per se, but it saves you from bringing so many clothes. Why? It's all about the washing machine! Bring a little tupperware of 3 laundry detergent pods for easy transport plus the Buncha Farmers Stain Remover. Wash mid week and right before you leave so that all your clothing is already clean when you get home. I pack just enough for 5 days and re-wear.
Staying in an apartment also means that when your little one goes to sleep, you can be chilling in the living room or balcony with a glass of wine. Most apartments have pack n play's available for sleeping arrangements, check before you book.
We have booked our London apartment through Sonder-A Deconstructed Hotel. They have beautifully designed apartments in many major cities. They are located in cool neighbourhoods that will make you feel like you actually live in the city you are visiting instead of being a tourist. Watch my stories this week to discover our Sonder!
2. Packing. Two words: Capsule Wardrobe
Don't pack by outfit, pack by colour. Also, eliminate your need to pack the just in case items. Usually these items don't get used! These are things like raincoats, umbrellas, large warm sweaters. Pack layers and borrow and umbrella.
The key is also to wear layers for the flight. My daughter and I both wear our leggings, t-shirt, lightweight sweater, jacket, sneakers and one lightweight scarf that can double as a blanket.
Toddler Capsule Wardrobe: What I Packed
- 5 x T-Shirts (White Grid Tee, Black Stripe Tee, The Beatles Band Tee ( you always need a band tee in the mix ;-), Grey Lightweight Tank, Spots Tee
- 1 x Lightweight Sweater (hi Sweatshirt)
- 1 x Shorts (Sprinkle Bubble Shorts)
- 4 x Leggings/Pants (Dots Leggings, Black Culottes, Charcoal Harems, Black Grow-with-Me Harems)
- 1-2 x Dresses or Overalls- This is where you can add a little something different as it doesn't need to match everything. (Nude T-shirt Dress, Blue Paint Brush Romper)
- 1 x Jacket or Hoodie (Black hoodie)
- 1 x Bathing Suit + 2 swim diapers (This is only if you are planning to visit a splash pad or pool in the city)
- 1 x Sneakers
- 5 x Socks
- 1 x Sandals
- 1 x Cap
Mama's Capsule Wardrobe: What I Packed
- 5 x Tops (T-shirts, Tank Tops and Camisoles)
- 1 x Denim or Leather Jacket
- 1 x Lightweight scarf
- 1 x Lightweight Sweater
- 1 x Jeans
- 1 x Cropped Pants
- 1 x Leggings
- 1 x Shorts
- 1 x Dress
- 1 x Sandals
- 1 x Sneakers
- 1 x Bathing Suit
- 1 x Sunglasses
- 5 x Socks
- 5 x Underwear
- Toiletry bag-everything in mini size and a very limited amount of makeup. I love Clinique's 3 in 1 lip/blush/eyeshadow. Look out for things like this! Plus a few Adult and Kid's Advil, everything else can be bought at a Pharmacy in an emergency.
- Noise Machine
3. In Flight Carry On Essentials with a Toddler
Each one of us only bring on a backpack that we can each carry, no hassle with the suitcases that are only there to annoy you as you walk through the airport. Keep yourself hands free!
What's in Mama's carry on?
- We have the Kaos Black Diaper Bag as it is comfortable and fits everything we need.
- Diapers-this is the only thing I bring more of than I need. We almost ran out once and I was panicking! I say, bring two for the airport, one per hour of the flight plus 3 for the travel from the airport to your apartment. (You don't want to start rummaging through your suitcase when you land)
- Wipes-A LARGE pack. Use them for everything. Cleaning the tray tables, little hands and faces and of course little bums.
- Diaper garbage bags, bring a few for dirty diapers on the go and all the garbage that eventually accumulates throughout the day.
- A extra change of clothing for toddler in a cloth bag that can be used for the dirty clothing too. (Re-use the cloth bags you get when you buy something from us!)
- A very BRIGHT case for our passports and flight itinerary so I can always find it.
- Snacks, snacks, snacks! A spill proof container full of mixed nuts, gold fish, dried fruit. Every bite is a discovery! Fruit bars, granola bars. Do not pack bananas! They get gross and brown. Also, don't pack oranges, some places don't allow them in the country. Stick with good old packaged food, if you don't have them regularly like us, it is super exciting for them.
- A Bib
- Water bottle for Mommy and water bottle for toddler
- Neck pillow for overnight flights
What's in Toddlers Carry on?
- We have a matching Kaos Backpack for Alice to carry all her toys.
- Two our of cloth bags full of small toys such as few pieces of lego, finger puppets, cars, pieces of pipe-cleaner (can be made into rings, animals, sunglasses, whatever!) Pull one out when they get bored. Plus, our bags have a tic-tac-toe board, we use goldfish and raisins to play!
- My favourite airplane activity are window or gel stickers. I get at least an hour of fun with my toddler sticking them everywhere. Just make sure they are specifically made for windows and are removable! The flight attendants may look at you funny but let them know they are removable.
- Water colouring book
- i-Pad and Wireless headphones. Download all their favourite shows and games and books. Test them all out before you fly and make sure games don't need wifi.
- I only bring one bedtime book on the plane to signal that it's time to nap. Preferably a soft one that won't be too heavy. But do what you have to do to get the to sleep and if that's bringing that hard cover that you read every night, do it.
- Their favourite stuffed animal, blanket or dou-dou. Whatever they need to sleep. As this is our first overnight flight, I am crossing my fingers this is the only thing we really need to pull out on the flight!
4. Buy Diapers At Your Destination
I pack just enough diapers for the trip and the first day. Map your location and find the grocery store or pharmacy closest to you and buy a pack of diapers. This should last for the next 6 days plus the way home. Also, buy wipes. You can never have too many wipes with you. Then I keep one at the apartment and one i my bag at all times.