Pre-baby I considered myself something of a master at packing light. I have recently been thinking about how I have adapted this for packing light for a city break with a baby. I dislike having to wait for luggage to be off-loaded from a plane. And as a budget traveller there is nothing worse than lugging huge bags to and from the airport / boat / train. A baby has huge potential to bring a house full of stuff with it on holiday. Is it possible to still pack light with a baby?
Tips for Packing Light for a City Break with a Baby
I thought I’d start with city breaks. In theory, it should be possible to pack light here, baby or not. You will only be away for a few days. In most cities you will be able to pick up any necessities that you did not have the space to carry. This means that you can be ruthless with your packing list. By thinking about a few questions, you can be smarter with your packing choices:
What is your method of transport?
Think about how you are travelling. If you are driving, then to a certain extent you do not need to worry about volume and weight. If you are flying, but planning on getting taxis to and from the airport and for getting around your destination, then again you do not need to worry too much. Although do think about the airport itself. Research how much walking around you will need to do inside the airport. Then consider how much you are prepared to carry. And whether a baby carrier or buggy will be most practical.
However, I am usually relying on public transport to get to my destination and to get around once there. This means that I want at most one small, light bag (per adult if there is more than one of you travelling). This just makes life so much more comfortable. Are you arriving early or leaving late? Does this mean you are going to be carrying your bag while sightseeing? Do you have time to traipse backwards and forwards to the left luggage? Think about all these questions when deciding on the size of bag to take.
What is your budget?
I have a tendency to want to take everything with me. Because I am on a budget and do not want to have to buy stuff when I get there. This means I have to think very hard about what is absolutely essential. First, I make a list. Then I gather all the stuff together. Then I edit until it will fit in as large a bag as I am prepared to carry.
I have found that baby essentials, such as changing stuff, spare clothes, drinking cups / bottles and small toys, are pretty much the same for a city break for a few days as they are for popping out for lunch. It is just a matter of fitting in a few clothes for yourself and off you go!
Of course, if you have a larger budget, this is super helpful. You can simply buy all sorts of bulky paraphenalia at your destination and dispose of it before you leave.
How old is your baby?
I found that the older my baby got, the less I fretted about having the right stuff with me. When she was young, I worried a lot. But relax; wherever you are going, people there have babies too! When she was tiny it should in fact have been very easy. Throw in some changing kit and some spare clothes and not much else is really needed. Even if you are bottle feeding, this does not have to be a space killer. Pick up a travel steriliser and some cold water sterilising tablets. If you want to be certain of having your usual formula, just remove it from the outer packaging to save space.
As she has got older, I find a range of small toys is useful to keep her entertained. I tend to go for 6 things. Hoping that they will keep her entertained for ten minutes. And then rotate each hour. But I do not worry so much about food and drink. Especially in cities, it is usually easy to pick up milk / drinking water. And you can readily find baby friendly snacks. A banana is a fail-safe staple here.
Where are you going?
I have been writing with traditional Western city break destinations in mind. Of course you may well be going somewhere more challenging. And this may well tempt you to load up with everything you could possible need. But before doing that, do some research online. Other people may well have been there before you with their baby. And if you are lucky, have written a helpful blog post.
And where are you staying when you get there? At my end of the budget range, I don’t tend to find accommodation has much in the way of baby equipment. Maybe a cot if I am lucky. But you can of course book a fancy family-friendly hotel that has all the equipment you could possibly need.
What is the weather going to be like?
This is a good thing to look up. No point in lugging coats around if you are not going to need them.
Have you got any more useful tips? Are there any essentials that you just cannot leave behind?