Amy Tara Koch
January 24, 2014


Travel is exciting, yes. But, the packing process—especially for families—is stressful.  To do it efficiently takes time and focus. To avoid mass dumpage into the suitcase, I start packing two weeks before we leave. And, I challenge myself to halve what I “think” we need. 

I place a cardboard box next to the table and drop things in as I think of them: books, sunscreen, shampoo, and medicine. First, I pack the kids. I begin laying the clothes out by category on the dining room table: undies, PJs, tops, bottoms, dresses, hats, shoes. Then, I create a small grooming kit for each kid with brush, toothbrush, hair ties, and Band-Aids. A few days later, I revisit the mounds and remove what is not entirely necessary.

Space Packs are a genius way to stay organized. These zippered pouches allow me to compress clothing and keep garments organized by family member.

Full-sized grooming products hog precious space. Everything is scaled down to small containers and placed in labeled Ziploc bags. Another space-saver in the beauty department is to stockpile skincare/grooming samples from department stores and drugstores. They are ideal for travelling.

And, I always travel with an in-transit pharmacy that contains kids and adult Advil, kids and adult Pepto Bismol, Benadryl, cortisone cream, Band-Aids, Neosporin, Swim Ear drops, eye drops, and saline nasal spray—since kids always get sick or bash a body part during the course of the trip. Being caught without medicine creates a full-blown travel nightmare.

Finally, to avoid overweight bags on the way home, I always shove an empty lightweight duffel bag in the suitcase to transport treasures/souvenirs amassed during the trip.

Guest family blogger Amy Tara Koch is a style expert, author, journalist and travel aficionado. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. Check out her blog, Amy Tara Koch.

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