How to Travel Like a Minimalist (With Kids)

minimalist travel with family

Minimalist travel with kids is an oxymoron. How can those tiny bodies require so much stuff?

My husband and I are passionate about traveling. We always knew we wanted to share that love with our children. But I will be honest, our first post-baby traveling had us looking like Sherpas heading toward Everest.

Slowly we have started to figure some things out. I am here to tell you that it is possible to pack light when traveling with kids–as a matter of fact our family all shares one suitcase. I am going to share my five favorite packing tips and show you a video of exactly what we are packing for our upcoming family trip.

1. Find a Place to Stay that has Gear

Hotels are so 10 years ago. We exclusively stay in rented apartments and houses now that we have children. It’s important to have a separate bedroom to close the door and put the kids to bed early. We often get a one bedroom and all sleep together–but those quiet hours away from the kids in the evening are crucial. We love AirBnB and VRBO–but there’s a newcomer on the scene: Kid & Coe. Kid & Coe caters to families–that means you will find houses with high chairs, cribs, toys, play sets…the works. So you can leave that stuff at home.

2. No Pajamas

We don’t pack pajamas. Instead, we include comfortable sleep clothing. That means sweatpants and extra t-shirts. Because in a pinch for clean clothes, we can use those things out in public. My kid’s dinosaur PJs…not exactly suitable for a day on the town.

3. All-in-One soap

Who knew that one soap could do so many different things. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap can be used for body wash, shampoo, laundry, dishes, face wash…you name it. If it’s dirty, Dr. Bronner’s will do the trick. It’s even natural and safe enough for babies. Make the switch to just one general soap rather than a half dozen specialty soaps–it will quite literally take a load off.

4. Pack Half The Clothes

Since we always rent apartments and homes, it is possible to find access to a washer and dryer. Therefore I usually only pack half as many clothes as we need. If we are going to travel for 10 days, I pack 5 outfits. If we are going to travel 8 days, I pack 4 outfits. It means a lot of laundry, but hey–I’m used to that, right?

5. Pick a Color Scheme

When I pack clothes, all the tops and bottoms go together. I try not to get caught up in packing specific outfits because that limits the flexibility of the clothes. So for the whole trip I choose mostly clothes in the same color scheme–then we can mix and match on the fly.

What are your favorite ways to travel light with your family?

Want to see exactly what I am packing for our upcoming trip? [watch the video]


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Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.