Blog, Minimalism

Minimalist Traveling with Young Children: A Guide

People often think that minimalism is only for single folk, and there’s a perception that it would never work when you’ve got a family. However, the truth is that you can be a minimalist with kids.

In fact, many well known minimalists have families. Still, it is still supposed to be extremely difficult to continue on your minimalist journey when it comes to traveling. Travel with kids sounds like a nightmare to many of us.

Though, minimal travel is still possible if you’re looking to go on a family vacation or something a little longer. Here’s your minimalist travel packing list for going abroad with your kids.

Packing Lightly: Everything a Minimalist Packer with Kids Needs

Okay, now let’s look at all the items you need to consider packing for a family holiday. Remember that you need to pack lighter than you normally would, so extra clothes will have to be left at home.

First, you need to divide the personal items depending on who’s going to wear them. An example for a 5-day trip may be;

Mom: 3 skirts, 2 dresses, 3 tops, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of shoes. 5 changes of underwear, 5 pairs of socks, , any swimwear you may want. Make-up (typically mascara and eye-shadow), toothbrush, hairbrush.

Dad: 2 pairs of trousers, 1 pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, 5 t-shirts, 1 pair of shoes. 5 pairs of underwear, 5 pairs of socks, flip flops, swimming trunks. Toothbrush, razor for shaving.

Child: (5 y.o.) 3 skirts, 2 dresses, 3 tops, 2 vests, a pair of shoes. 5 pairs of underwear, 5 pairs of socks, swimwear. Coloring pencils, toothbrush.

Baby: 5 pairs of trousers, 5 baby tops, a vest, a bib. 5 pairs of pyjamas, 5 pairs of socks, diapers, swimwear. Drinking bottle or sippy cup, one cuddly toy, soft spoon and wet wipes.

Shared or buy on arrival: shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste.
Large klean kanteen drinking bottle (emptied when passing through airport security).

This is a very basic list that you can use to pack light when you’re going on holiday. It’s more than you would need if you were minimalist traveling alone, but it’s still perfectly do-able.

You can also use packing cubes to separate the clothes out into outfits, which can help when you need to pack clothes into tight areas.

Minimalist Packing Tips for Traveling Light with Kids

Pack solid color clothing. This is my best tip for traveling like a minimalist – always stick to monocolor clothes within the same color scheme. This ensures that your clothes will always match, without having to worry about stripes and trends.

Wash your clothes. If you have the opportunity to wash whilst you’re away, you can get away with packing much less. This equals less stress and less to carry in your luggage.

Babies are unpredictable. This means that you need to be sure to pack a little extra in case of emergencies. Making sure you pack an extra set of clothes to change the baby into is always a good idea.

Buy more instead of packing more. There are a lot of things that you may just have to buy when you get there. From diapers through to shampoo, you can always get some replacements if you run out.

Be strict. It’s natural instinct to take as much stuff with you as you can. But in order to travel light, you need to be strict with the things you’re taking. No dress shoes, no summer and winter jacket.

Don’t be afraid to ask: If you’re staying with friends or family, you can ask them to make sure they have the essentials there for you in advance.

Learn as you go: Very rarely do we get everything right the first time that we try it. As long as you have your passport and access to money, everything else can be bought if you leave it out of your suitcase on accident.

Most Common Questions about Traveling with Kids

Should you take food?

There’s usually no point in you taking food for yourself, as you can easily find food on the journey. But if you have young kids, it may be worth taking some food and a water bottle for them.

On long flights you’ll get food with your plane ticket, so there’s no need to worry. And if you do end up buying food, at least you know better for your next trip.

Should you let your kids bring toys?

Another commonly debated topic is whether you should let your kids bring toys with them on your trip.

This is space dependent, but if you’re packing light, you may not have a choice. It may be a good idea to let them bring one or two in the carry on bag or in their own backpacks, but more than this and it can become difficult to pack.

It’s obvious that traveling with kids makes the packing routine a little bit harder, but it’s still possible to include a stuffed animal or their favorite plush toy. So, stick to one or two toys, and remember that traveling light with kids gets easier the more you do it.

Is traveling with young kids worth it?

Although some avoid it, traveling with young kids can actually be worth it if you manage to keep them under control. It’s not easy, but once you have all of the equipment you need and you do it once, every time you go abroad after this gets a little bit easier.

What should you not forget when traveling with a toddler?

The main things that any toddler needs is diapers, a potty, their clothes (like a onesie or top) and some shoes. It can also be a good idea to pack a blanket with them too for the journey.


Overall, most airlines are actually pretty good at dealing with families and children. Packing isn’t as easy as it would be if you were going solo, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out.

Planning ahead for your whole trip can save you lots of money in the long term. Just be sure to make good used of your carry on luggage to maximize the amount of stuff you can bring with you – oh, and don’t forget to enjoy your trip!