Note from Wendy Perrin: One of the biggest, saddest obstacles to international travel with kids is the perception that you’ll need to haul around a ton of luggage. It’s a misperception, as Eric Stoen, the founder of Travel Babbo, shows us. Eric is a frequent international traveler whom I met when he won Condé Nast Traveler’s Dream Trip Photography Contest, and he uses many of the same strategies I use when packing for my own family.
This past summer we took a Disney Cruise from Venice to Barcelona and then, with suggestions from the kids (and a little research on TripAdvisor), kept adding on European destinations post-cruise. What started as two weeks in Europe turned into six weeks. Those six weeks included everything from a formal night on the cruise to operas in Salzburg to hiking and swimming, with temperatures ranging from the 90s in Turkey to the 50s in Austria at night. We were still able to pack everything for two adults and three kids (ages 4, 6, and 8) into just two suitcases and two carry-ons. Here are our packing suggestions—based on this trip and many others—and they work just as well for a one-week trip as for a longer vacation:
1. Use packing cubes. In our case, each adult gets two and each kid gets one. These allowed us each to pack enough clothes for four to five days each (which was sufficient, given that we would have laundry access at several points during the trip or could do laundry in hotel sinks and bathtubs when necessary). The cubes have the added benefit of neatly organizing our clothes, which comes in handy when we are in non-connecting hotel rooms and need to place each person’s things in the correct room.
We use large eBags Classic Packing Cubes from Amazon. We tried the smaller sizes and found they weren’t great for much.
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