This amazing, adventurous military life comes with some big perks – traveling the country, meeting some of my dearest friends, and personal growth. (If deployments don’t help you learn and grow, I’m not sure what will!) One of the big downfalls is that we are often very far away from our family. My parents currently live in Texas and my husband’s parents are in Virginia.
Despite the distance, we are very fortunate that most of our family at least live on the East Coast with us. We took the opportunity over a longer weekend to go visit my brother in New York City! (5 hours in the car each way.) I was so ready to get out of Fort Drum for a break in the monotony and see my little brother for the first time in months. But planning and packing for even a short weekend trip with kids often takes days of planning in our house.
So how did we pack the kids’ suitcases for this trip? The major things that ended up getting pack for our two sons included:
- A storage cube with miscellaneous toys for the car trip
- Snack bag
- Diaper backpack for trekking around the city
- Dual screen DVD player for the car
- One suitcase for me and my two sons (you read that right!)
The biggest items we had to plan for were the storage cube, backpack, and the suitcase. Here’s what worked for us.
Toy Storage Cube and Backpack
How cute is the little dog cube from Target? It’s a well-loved cube in our family, but it’s served us well! It fits directly in between both of our kids’ car seats and is within reach so they can both pull out toys independently during long drives! For this weekend trip, here’s what the boys had within reach in the car:
- Kid-friendly technology
- Go Fish game
- Individualized packs for each boy with crayons, paper, and stickers
- An assortment of small toys
The only thing the boys really used in the car were the toys. Mainly, they snacked and watched movies on our dual-screen DVD player. What was great about this cube is that we were easily able to transfer things like the technology, card game, and crayons and paper into our backpack/diaper bag for trekking around the city. EVERYTHING was used on this trip. If not in the car, while we were waiting to be served at restaurants. (Go Fish was our favorite non-technology option! It also provided for some great bonding with their uncle!)
This was the part of the packing that just made my heart go pitter patter, y’all. During my husband’s last deployment, he tried out travel storage cubes/bags. (They aren’t cube shaped, but they are referred to as “cubes”…weird…) He really loved them and suggested them to me specifically for this trip. We ordered two sets on Amazon and already want to buy at least one more. In one large suitcase, I was able to fit ALL of my clothing, both boys’ clothing, diapers, wipes, and accessories, as well as toiletries for all three of us. WHAT?!
Each one of the storage cubes has two zippered sections to provide the most bang for your buck. With our two boys, we could have either organized it by child, or organized it by day. We chose to organize it by day so that we would only have to pull out one cube each morning. Check out the breakdown of what I packed:
I have never been able to pack so lightly with kids before. The best part of these storage cubes? I could pull one out of the suitcase for the specific morning we needed it. No clothes strewn about the hotel room. I was also able to take that one small storage cube with extra clothing for the boys and put it directly into the diaper bag. Not only did it save space in my suitcase, but it also stayed organized in the diaper bag will all of our other toys, supplies, and snacks.
If you haven’t looked into travel storage cubes and love to travel, I highly recommend them! This isn’t a paid advertisement WHATSOEVER, I just truly found these to be useful! As we were running about NYC, it was wonderful to not worry about where everything was. “Grab and go” is definitely the name of the game when traveling with littles!
If you are interested in the storage cubes we used, you can find them here on Amazon!