Packing Light with a Family

Posted on
January 12, 2017

As a family who travel regularly with 4 of our children, we often find that space is at a premium, so packing light is essential.
We have a seven seater car and with one of the seats up in the boot, you can imagine that squeezing in all the paraphernalia that comes with travelling with kids can be a challenge and we are often faced with a spot of car jenga.
In order to squeeze everyone and everything we need into the car we utilise every single bit of space we can find in the car.
Thankfully the kids are still in car seats, which although throws up some issues of their own, keeps their feet up off the floor so we tuck their Trunki and Jurni suitcases in the footwells and can even manage to squeeze in a Trunki toy box with some of their essentials if travelling in the UK.
Hubby and I share a large suitcase and Kian has his own smaller case which we add our towels to (if not provided) and Sebby’s pull-ups too.
Having their own suitcases gives the kids their own independence when we go away. The Trunki’s are brilliant as the kids can ride on them in the airport, they fit in the overhead lockers on a plane and I can comfortably fit a weeks worth of clothes in them. Coats are thrown in the back of the car so easily accessible if we stop off en-route.
Now, different ages have different needs. Travelling with a baby involves carting nappies, a buggy, travel cot and bedding. Sebby is newly potty trained so I always bung in an extra few pairs of pants and a couple of extra pairs of trousers just in case.
Eliza is notoriously messy so adding a small travel wash kit to your case is essential for getting out any stains so the item can be worn again, however, unless you’re going to a third world country or Outer-Mongolia it is important to remember that if you run into any problems, you can probably buy whatever you’re lacking on your trip.  It is better to have to make an unexpected visit to the shops rather than to carry everything you own preparing for every situation.
I normally take one outfit per day for the kids, with one extra “just in case”, especially for the little ones. We get away with two jumpers, one worn on our travels and one in the case. Rolling clothes rather than folding saves lots of room and helps prevent creasing.
For us adults, a daily t-shirt / top and underwear, a couple of pairs of jeans each and a jumper is normally suffice although we often add something smart if we know we will be going out for dinner whilst we are away.
There are other essentials I always carry too:

  • Well stocked first aid kit, containing extra’s including sachets of children’s paracetamol / ibruprofen, alka seltzer and paracetamol for the adults and insect spray.
  • Wash Kit with shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and body wash suitable for the whole family
  • Tech to keep the family amused on our travels (iPad for films and DS for gaming + Chargers)

Of course there are times when packing light doesn’t work quite so well……….we have to take two cars to Camp Bestival as there is no way we can fit our 8 man tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment etc as well as cases, 6 people and the trolleys in one car – this is with all the seats down!
Car Jenga
Do you find packing light a challenge?

  1. Reply


    January 13, 2017

    We’re terrible with filling up our car with everything we own! This year we’re going on train trip so we are really to have to restrict ourselves.

  2. Reply

    Zena's Suitcase

    January 13, 2017

    Packing light with kids is definitely a challenge, and it’s about finding all those little hacks. We swear by our trunki suitcases, they are great for fitting in small spaces

  3. Reply


    January 13, 2017

    I admire everyone that goes on holiday with children! I’ve always found it so hard to do. Packing light with kids seems like an imossible challenge; but having said that, when you have to, you usually find there are several things you just don’t need.

  4. Reply

    Welsh Cakes and Wellies

    January 13, 2017

    Like you I wouldn’t be without the Trunkis, they have been fab. Last year we got the trunki back pack / booster seat. They were brilliant, save so much the other side by not having to hire their booster seats, and the trunki ones are better made that the ones you tend to get away as they have the bit for the seatbelt to feed through. I thought we had it tough with 3 kids to pack for, but four! Wow 🙂

    • Reply


      January 14, 2017

      We have the boostapak too – a real lifesaver (I actually have 6 but the other two holiday without us now)

  5. Reply

    Chloe Ciliberto

    January 14, 2017

    Wow packing light with a large family is not easy. I struggle to pack light and I only have one child. Travelling to Europe for a month though really opened my eyes to the way I was packing. I definitely over packed and have firmly learnt my lesson for my next holiday. You can always buy things abroad! x

  6. Reply


    January 14, 2017

    I’m pretty good at packing light for myself but when we bring the girls anywhere, it’s definitely more problematic. Our issue is usually with our 21 year old’s make up supplies! She hasn’t yet mastered the art of honing down what she needs 🙂

  7. Reply

    Grant R

    January 15, 2017

    We’ve got a large car & a roof box and sometimes even that just isn’t enough. Somehow, though, we always just about manage. Love those trunkis!

  8. Reply

    Fashion and Style Police

    January 15, 2017

    Yes I do. I find it very difficult to pack light especially with the kids.

  9. Reply


    February 2, 2017

    I find this extremely difficult. I always want to bring everything. Just incase

Leave a Reply


Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog