Independence: It’s a quality I aim to foster in my children, and there are three main reasons for that. Firstly, it’s good for them! Secondly, it’s good for me (especially with a large-ish family; I can’t physically micro-manage everyone). Thirdly, it means we can do more as a family. Adventures ahoy!
One of the ways I foster independence when we travel as a family is to pack a dedicated bag that each child is responsible for. I’ve done this since my kids were young, and my older children (11 and 13) pack their own bags independently now. Depending on where we’re going (and the ages/interests of the children), we fill the bags with different things. Below is an example of a bag belonging to my 9-year-old for an overseas flight to New Zealand.
My Kids Travel Backpack List – Overseas Travel
• Small backpack – I keep a dedicated day bag for each of my kids. This is not just for overseas travel, but also for day trips and other adventures.
• Empty drink bottle – water can’t be taken on the airplane, but there are a few spots in the plane to fill a drink bottle. This way, the children can have a drink whenever they need one.
• Jumper (or something warm) – it can get chilly in an airplane, especially after sitting for a while.
• Small toys – I always pop in a few small toys for the kids to play with. Matchbox cars, small dolls, ponies, travel games and mini stuffed toys are popular with my kids.
• Drawing items – try searching online for free colouring pages or printables that are available for many regions and countries.
• Spare clothes – a pair of undies, jersey shorts and a top will fit rolled up in a sandwich sized zip lock bag (so it takes up hardly any space).