Packing for an international trip is daunting. Trying to pack for a three month backpacking trip to South America for a family of 5 is beyond overwhelming. But with some research and organization it can be done.
Initial checklist includes:
Passports-Make sure to get these months in advance because processing time is lengthy and always have a photocopy of documentation left within your email and another in your suitcase for emergencies.
Immunizations-Check with your doctor on what your family needs for the area's to travel to. Our youngest was too young for one of the immunizations to travel into the Peruvian jungle so we decided to skip that portion of our trip.
Visas-Some countries have visa requirements so find out what paperwork is required to complete before arriving and check the
Travel Advisorys- Research! Make sure the time of year isn't the flood season and such. Make sure that the Airbnb that your booked for a great deal isn't in a dangerous location for families.
Gear- Test run your packs and baby travel gear out before pulling them out in the middle of a big trip.
Book your first few nights at your initial destination at one location with the intent to let your family recover from jet lag.
Make a kids travel kit:
Make one for each kid to carry on the flight but don't let them play with it before you leave! Otherwise you can't utilize as much distraction time because the novelty will wear off. Find a fun container with a handle for each of them to carry or stow away in their pack. It makes it extra special to have that exciting box that's just for them.
#1 recommendation for toddler travel kits? Stickers. My daughter never got tired of peeling stickers off her arms. As long as I stuck them to her, she would peel them off and move them around.
Wikki Stix are great because of their versatility and the fact that my older boys liked them too.
Jewelry grab bags from the thrift store are cheap and make for fun dress up while flying. Amazon also has cheap jewelry sets that will work as well though they break pretty easy. It doesn't matter if stuff gets lost along the way because its just junk jewelry and imagine the fun of another kid finding an old bracelet or ring at the airport!
Car Grab bags from the thrift store. I love getting super cheap used toys from the thrift store as a new treat for air/car travel. Kids love things that roll and move.
Books & Color books-We like to read so I bring a couple books for my boys and age appropriate books for my youngest. I don't recommend letting toddlers draw on airplanes unless you are going to really focus on them not drawing on anything but the paper. Mine is quick and crafty about coloring on everything. M
For my boys, we had a zip-lock bag of Lego's. They love to build and show off their creation and a long flight is the perfect time to focus on this.
Snacks! Always have a variety of healthy snacks to pull out and enjoy. Don't pack foods full of sugar! It will not help them stay calm for the flight . Goldfish crackers, nuts, sliced veggies and fruit are good easy options.