Survival Guide to Traveling with Young Kids

We didn't have much experience traveling with our young kids prior to our current assignment in China. We did lots of reading in preparation, but we were unprepared for both how exhausting and rewarding it has been for us. Here are our survival gear tips for traveling halfway around the works with young kids:


Plan lots of activities for the trip - see our travel activities list for young kids for specifics of what we packed for our journey.

Packing Cubes - Overrated as space savers, the real value of these packing aids for us has been keeping our families' gear organized. Color coding cubes for each family member makes packing and unpacking much easier and finding what you need a snap. We loaded up on several kinds - we bought Ikea packing cubes for the low price point, and eBags Packing Cubes
have a few nice extras that made then a good value for us.
Superlighweight Stroller - we invested in a Cybex Ruby Stroller because it also fit our Graco infant car seat, but any super lightweight stroller should be fine. We often have to carry the stroller getting in and out of taxis, climbing stairs, etc so the light weight (< 12 lbs) has made transit more manageable.

Baby Carrier - We purchased an ERGO Baby Carrier on sale and use it heavily here. When running errands around town this makes moving much easier when not moving great distances.

Infant Travel High Chair - has been a surprisingly useful tool for us - it turns out we have needed this for just about every meal outside the big cities in China and it is easy/lightweight enough to carry around in our gear bag.
Buy stuff when you get there -- you can not anticipate or carry everything so make sure you pack to cover some initial time to get your bearings and then plan to buy what you need. Ikea has been a haven for us as we don't have the safety concerns with Ikea products and the prices are reasonable compared to imported American baby products elsewhere.
Plan breaks/rest along the way - I am a very goal driven person and when I travel I typically try to cram as much in as I can during our travel. I've learned that we actually get more done (and are a happier family) when we ensure we have breaks planned in our travels for the unexpected and to ensure our kids stay on a regular routine. Flights delays or unexpected deviations can wreck havoc on the best laid travel plans, but preparation is the key to make it the least painful as possible.

We debated heavily about taking a portable baby crib with us. In the end we decided against it and planned to get one over here in China. Once we moved into our apartment we purchased an Ikea crib. When we travel our baby has either stayed in a crib provide by the hotel or shared the bed with us.

Related in Temporary Assignment:

Wrapped China Assignment, Round 2 (Jan 01, 2014) Hanoi, Vietnam We just wrapped up our temporary assignment in China and arrived back in the US before the end of the year. Its amazing how time flies, it seems like just a few days ago that we began...

Packing Tips for Extended Family Travel (Oct 14, 2013) My young family is on the move - we are currently living in China on a 6 month work assignment. With the exorbitant cost to ship additional stuff to China we were incented to only bring what we could fit...

Frugal Family Passport Holder (Jul 13, 2013) As part of our planning for our international journey to China with our kids, I wanted to find a convenient way to keep the families passports organized. I can barely keep up with my own, but the best solution...

Comments (1)


I agree with the point about Ikea. It surely is a life saver, and they have such a large variety of products.

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