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A Crash Course In Family Packing 101

Extra baggage comes with the territory of being a parent. As your family grows, your luggage set does, too.

No more cute little carry-on. Nope, that’s reserved for those rare moments when you travel solo. The rest of the time, that now impractical bag is shoved in the back of the closet, along with other “souvenirs.” You know, odds and ends from your life before kids.

There are clothes that you can’t wear anymore because of possible wardrobe malfunctions. Moms have to be ready for anything. Say you have to bend over to pick up something they dropped, or pick them up because they’re tired. You learn quickly after they tug at your top, to cover all bases — literally.

The keiki with their own rolling suitcases. Tannya Joaquin photo

The keiki with their own rolling suitcases. Tannya Joaquin photo

Don’t get me started on shoes. I have high heels that are in hibernation. I need to be ready to run after my son and daughter. These days, I’m much more likely to be out in slippers than stilettos.

There is an up side. Packing is easier. I’ve become a professional packer. For summer travel, I can squeeze all of my things into a small section of our “family” suitcase with room to spare.

The remaining space in our Da Kine Split Roller bag comfortably fits enough clothes, shoes, toiletries and books for a weeklong trip to visit family in Las Vegas. But that’s just the centerpiece of our suitcase set.

Now that my children are 3 and 6, a diaper bag is history. Instead, I like to travel with a backpack. This is hardly to win style points. It’s strategic. My hands are free.

I splurged on a Lululemon Cruiser Backpack to retain some degree of fashion sense while still being practical. The compartments are great for organization and easy access for boarding passes, IDs and necessities for the kids.

I don’t leave home without snacks, toys, and extra clothes — for them and me. You never know when they’ll spill milk all over you, or worse.

I also allow my son and daughter to pack their own roller bag. This serves two purposes. It buys me time to pack, and keeps them entertained at the airport. They’ve gotten a kick out of rolling their own suitcases since they could walk.

Their packing strategies are polar opposites. My son fills his with airplane toys, legos, markers and paper to draw with.

My daughter tries to pack everything but the kitchen sink. Seriously, she stuffed an entire Wet Ones container into her bag, along with a tiara, a box of tissues and enough candy to feed an army. It was comical because, shocker, she couldn’t fit it all into her tiny carry-on.

Undeterred, she grabbed two purses, a backpack and two plastic shopping bags and kept adding books, shoes, etc. I had to decide what made the cut in the car on the way to the airport.

Would you believe she also had dental floss, Chapstick and hand lotion? Thankfully she did, because I forgot them. My little bag lady to the rescue!