My parents were fortunate to retire young and move to Florida. I am even more fortunate to visit them and have done so four times in the four years they've been there. And every time I go I pack less stuff!
The first time we visited Audrey was two and we brought: one very large suitcase that we checked, two carry on's, and one personal item each. Since we had so much room I thought it would make sense to bring a lot of toys and books (kids get bored without lots of toys!), two outfits for each day (toddlers are messy!), and all the cloth diapers (I'll definitely want to spend time washing and drying diapers on my vacation!).
It turned out that grandma had a box of toys and books for her (plus we were so busy doing things we didn't have a lot of down time at their house), I needed to do laundry anyways so the extra clothes were unnecessary, and spending a week in disposable diapers would have saved time and stress (not to mention that a poopy cloth diaper is not fun to haul around all day at the beach).
Thankfully each trip I cut down on the amount of stuff we brought. My natural inclination is to over pack, especially when traveling with our young girls. This last trip was a spur of the moment decision because I found a really good deal on tickets. But we were flying on Spirit airlines, which only allows one personal item for free. Since I didn't really want to pay to bring stuff that I might not even use, I had to reconsider what I had packed in the past and only bring what was truly necessary.
Here's what we packed in our backpacks:
The girls clothes. Each girl had 3 outfits, pjs, swimsuit, sun hat, 3 pairs of underwear for Audrey, and enough diapers to last the travel day for Deidre. Grandma had diapers for us at her house but if we were going to a hotel I would still buy diapers at our destination instead of bringing them with.
My clothes: 3 outfits, pjs, swimsuit, sunhat, 3 pairs of underwear, and bra. Since we only packed 3 days worth of clothes I did laundry once. If we were at a hotel I would still plan on dong laundry even if that meant I had to hand wash our clothes.
Also pictured is my wallet and our vitamins, toothbrushes, comb, and a few hair ties. My mom provides shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, and sunscreen (we are low maintenance). If we were staying at a hotel I would use what is provided there or buy it. It's not worth the hassle bringing liquids through TSA when you're wrangling two kids by yourself!
Here's what we brought for entertainment on the plane (if Deidre was a bit older we could get away with a fraction of this stuff! But she has a typical attention span for a 17 month old). Our in flight entertainment included: kids magazine, 3 thin books, folding felt board and felt shapes, memory game, lacing animals, 2 coloring books, twistable crayons (great for travel!) and stickers, finger puppets, sunglasses, beaded necklaces, Audrey's tablet and headphones and charger, my headphones, and my book. (This is a GREAT book by the way! And every time Deidre sees it she says "BOO-BEE! BA-BEE!" 💓) Not pictured is my phone which I used to take this picture.
For travel outfits we wore layers. A necessity when traveling to Florida from Minnesota in an arctic spring (It was January 74th when we left and the day after we got back was the historic April blizzard - 22 inches of snow!) Wearing layers versus just a sweater allowed us to bring an "extra" t shirt to wear there. We wore thin pants, t shirts, sweatshirts without hoods, and this lovely socks and sandals combo!
Some other things that Grandma has for the girls are a high chair, car seats, and umbrella stroller. I would rent these things if they were truly necessary instead of bringing them on the plane. The only thing that I think would be truly necessary would be car seats unless we stayed in one place or relied on public transportation.
I've found a huge benefit of crunchy/attachment parenting is that we don't need a lot of the baby gear deemed necessary by mainstream culture. I exclusively nurse, negating any need for bottles, pumps, or formula. When my babies start eating solids they just eat real food so we don't have to worry about purees or puffs. Highchairs are convenient but your baby can also sit on your lap or stand up in a restaurant booth (Deidre's favorite). I bed share from birth so all I need is a bed larger than a twin, although that will do in a pinch. I do a lot of baby and toddler wearing, so while the small stroller is nice it's not a true necessity.
My advice when packing for a trip is to lay out all the stuff you're going to shove into the suitcase on your bed and then put half of it back. 😊 Think about what you truly need instead of what you think you need. You'll be happy to have less stuff to keep track of and haul around the airport. Less is more!