A few months ago we had to move up our vacation plans by 3 days, so I had one day to pack. A neighbor had a list they used whenever they need to go somewhere, and it was great to get my mind moving in the right direction. It has to be altered a little bit for road trips vs airplane trips but I don’t bring any more clothes even if we are staying longer. The only thing I will bring more of is winter clothes if we are traveling to snow country.
I would love to pack lighter- like Leo at Zen Habits– but I want to relax on vacation and not be worried about washing clothes every night. I also don’t like the idea of buying stuff I have at home. We usually stay with family and I will use the washer, but only once a week or after a few days.
The biggest fears I have when packing are “I hope I’m not forgetting anything” and “I hope I didn’t bring too much for X amount of days”. I bring about 5 days worth of clothes for me and my husband(I re-use pants and shorts) and a few more sets for the baby because he dirties stuff faster. Even if we are gone a month we don’t need any more than that. The baby is one now, so I don’t have to pack as much extra stuff like bottles and spit rags.
play pen(road trips only)
baby carrier backpack
stroller(If space, not necessary)
cloth high chair
heavy blanket (I carry this hung over the messenger bag when we were at the airport, so we can use it on the plane. I mean, so the baby can use it;)
headphones/splitter (for the two of us)
small first aid kit
gifts (I made some cloth high chairs for some of our families new babies the last few times we traveled.)
1 pj pants
1 pair sneakers(I wear flip flops to the airport)
toothbrush/toothpaste (for the baby too)
30 diapers (I buy these when we get there if needed)
When flying, our ride to the airport will take home the car seat and when we get to our destination our Aunt had plenty of baby stuff for us to use, all we needed this time was a play pen and car seat. For our road trips I bring my own play pen as well as a small stroller. The stroller isn’t necessary because I have the backpack, but in the car if I have the space I may as well use it!(Thanks again Aunt Cindy!)
In my picture you may see that I have a toy that isn’t so small- the stuffed animal hangs on a hook on my bag, so that we can try to convince my son to sleep in places that aren’t his own bed. My water bottle has a loop too and it hangs off of the same carabiner on my bag.
For a road trip I also bring more snacks and drinks in a cooler. I will even bring cold lunch stuff to save money on going out too much.