Motherhood Travel

How to Pack for Kids Without Losing Your Mind

I am so so so excited to share that the fam and I will be heading to Great Wolf Lodge -Colorado Springs this weekend! It’s an indoor waterpark in Colorado Springs. I was actually invited to attend as a press trip; but more on that another time. I’ll probably be preparing for it all week, because if you have multiple children you know… that packing for kids probably takes as long as the whole trip does. I mean, there’s laundry, there’s toothbrushes, there’s a weak attempt at preparation for the inevitable crisis…there’s laundry. It’s enough to make a momma lose her mind.

I’ve pretty much been a momma to multiples for my entire adult life. So I’ve packed for very few trips sans kiddos. I could probably be a professional by now if I wasn’t such a damn hot mess all the time. 😉

Just kidding, I totally know what I’m doing. (Famous last words.)

How to Pack for Kids Without Losing Your Mind

But I have developed a system for when we travel that keeps me from completely blowing my lid. I am by no means an organization maven, I know my weaknesses mommas, but this definitely helps to combat my scatterbrained nature. And I hope that maybe it can help you too.

I try really hard not to “need a vacation from my vacation” or from prepping for my vacation. Amirite?!

Embrace the crazy. Let’s do this.

How to Pack for Kids Without Losing Your Mind

How to Pack for Kids Without Losing Your Mind

Prep Early.

I’m starting a week out. No joke. There’s always baskets of laundry to be done ’round these parts (I know I’m not the only one.) And I don’t want to be waiting around for something to dry on Friday night when we should be on the road. I have to get through all of the kid’s laundry anyway so that I don’t have to worry about school clothes when we get back on Sunday.

Great Wolf Lodge is an indoor water park so for us the weather isn’t a factor this time. But any other trip I keep an eye on the weather too. I don’t want to lug around 20 pounds of winter coats if we can get away with hoodies. Ya feel?

I’ll also be prepping myself early. I’ll paint my nails and straighten my hair before we leave. I’m like every other mom on the planet and wash my hair like never so it’ll be set for the whole weekend. I’m sure everyone knows this by now, but the gel polishes at the store are TOTALLY worth the extra couple bucks. I don’t even bother with non-gel polish anymore. Too much effort for it to just chip off the next day.

The Essie Gel Couture polish is my favorite, but the Sally Hansen kind is pretty good too and it’s a bit cheaper. You can usually get come on clearance at Target.

How to Pack for Kids Without Losing Your Mind

Bring Extras but Keep it Simple.

I have always had small children. So this point has always been especially relevant. We’ll likely be going back and forth from the hotel room to the water park, and good luck getting a cranky 3 year old to wear an ice cold still-kinda-wet bathing suit. Just bring a second one, and rotate. 😉 I pick my battles. I don’t prefer a cold bathing suit either. So I can’t really blame them.

I don’t feel the need to majorly stress myself over nonsense like accessories for my children (or myself really) on trips. I try to pick out clothes that all match each other so they can dress themselves instead of really specific outfits. Totally makes things easier for me.

As for the baby, he’s basically Blake Lively on a Tuesday and requires an outfit change after every meal, nap, major life event. Ya know. Good thing his clothes are tiny, or he’d need his own suitcase.

Whiiiiich brings me to my next point.


Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate! I’ve read some other mom’s tips and they suggest letting each child have their own bag for the trip. Whatever works for ya, but I disagree. I would rather have ONE suitcase with everybody’s stuff in it. Because you know what happens when my kids bring their own bag? Do you think I can count on a 5 and 7 year old to keep track of their own bag while they’re trembling with excitement in a hotel lobby? No. I end up carrying those bags. I end up carrying 5 bags.

No thank you. 

This momma tries to make her own life easy by consolidating as much as possible. One suitcase.

How to Pack for Kids Without Losing Your Mind

Let The Kids Help.

After all, it’s their trip too.

In an addendum to my last point; they can bring a backpack with some car activities or things that we need access to on the go. But ya know, only things that won’t cause a crisis if they go missing. Because they will… go missing. 😉

My kids get super excited about packing their own goodies in a little backpack. It gets them pumped for the trip and makes them more pleasant on a long car ride. Zoey is hardcore in that phase where anything that makes her feel like a big girl just makes her whole darn day.

How to Pack for Kids Without Losing Your Mind

Clean and Go.

Much like the laundry statement, there’s always something that can be “tidied up” (understatement of my life) in a house with 3 kiddos. I find that cleaning up a bit before I go makes packing easier, as I usually find some of the items I’m likely to be searching for later, in the process.

Also, coming home to a pile of dishes is no fun. They stink after sitting there all weekend. (So I’m told. I wouldn’t actually know… or anything. 😉 )

Chill Out.

This one is probably… no is definitely the most important. It’s vacation after all. It’s supposed to be easier than regular life, not stress you out even worse. So the 7 year old only brought one pair of socks. He’ll live. Or you can wash them in the sink and let them air dry over night. (OMG FLORIDA FRIENDS. DID YOU KNOW IT WAS POSSIBLE FOR THINGS TO AIR DRY IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTY?! ITS TRUE.)

Moms are masters of improvisation. You’ll work it out.

These tips will help you prep for vacation, but there is always enough to stress about if you’ve set your mind to stressing.

Do it like Elsa and let it go, girl.


Outfit details linked. Some of the things are old so I found similar items.


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  • So so awesome! Congrats girl! It’s a dream of mine to get invited to a PR trip. Great Wolf Lodge will be so fun! We have one here in The Poconos. So smart and sweet to have the kids help pack up!

  • These are great tips! I’m not a mom yet but I can imagine adding kids into the packing mix makes it even more difficult.

  • Nikki Said What

    “CHILL OUT”! The best tip by far. 🙂

  • Lyndsey Piccolino

    so true!! any tips are worth their weight in gold to me!! packing for kids is insanity!

  • Letting them help is such a good (+ cute) idea – have so much fun!!!

  • tabithablue

    Such good tips, especially letting them help, they’re always happier to use what’s packed that way!

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