Traveling with kids books (and perhaps a pink unicorn or two)

September 20, 2012

Earlier this week, Whitney asked, "Do your books get to go on vacation?" Which was prompted by a conversation we had earlier where we wondered if we were the only people who also packed kids books as well as clothes and shoes and toiletries in our kids' suitcases when we went on vacation.

I always feel a bit silly packing books, but I've always done it. I'm a big stickler for routine--especially with kids and even more specifically with bedtime. Since our bedtime routine involves books, so we simply can't do without them--even for one night. 

Packing books makes for a pretty heavy suitcases--especially when you are not particularly good at editing clothing and you simply MUST also bring along all your favorite dolls and unicorns (not my idea, but I go with it because really, how can you say no to a pink unicorn?).

Here's how I keep things manageable when it comes to books in the suitcase. 

1. Designate a space for them and stick to it. 

I choose to use the netted portion of our suitcase for books. Once that space is filled, we're done. You could designate a separate tote bag or the left side of your suitcase, a side pocket, etc. I find its easy to get carried away with all the books (especially if you are letting your kids help pack--they love packing so much--I find mine will keep filling and filling unless I give them a limit). 

You could also use a number (Whitney does this) like telling them they can bring 10 books or 5 books each if you have several children. I have to say, I generally just go with the "you can bring as many as will fill the space" rather than choosing a specific number because I'm just not a number girl, but I can see how a set number could be very useful--especially when it comes time to pack for home and you are trying to figure out if you have everything. 

2. Pack the paperbacks. 

Generally, I prefer hardbacks (they are more durable, they sit up better on the bookshelf and they look better, too), but for traveling, it sure is great to lighten the load a bit with paperbacks. Plus, they are thinner, so you can fit MORE into your designated space. The above books are some of our go-to travel books (mostly because they are paperbacks and I find them very easy to slide into the suitcase.) 

Are you traveling with a baby? Paperbacks aren't an option in this stage, and board books are so bulky! I opted for some fun cloth books when my kids were in the baby stage. A few mini board books and then several soft cloth books were great for travel. 
Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever has gotten us through many a long plane ride!
3. Pack the anthologies. 

I just started doing this last year when Juliet started getting into longer stories. It made packing so much easier because depending on how long our trip was, one anthology might be all we needed for our trip. With collections, you get more bang for your packing-space buck and can fit plenty of bedtime stories into a small space. 

Above are some of our favorites--fairy tale collections, favorite authors (like Richard Scarry), or a series like Uncle Wiggily's Story Book are great. Of course, these are all hardbacks, but the fact that I only need to bring one of these makes it okay for me to break my rule. 


When we arrive at our destination, I usually keep the books in the suitcase unless we are reading them. So far, we've never lost or left one somewhere. 

Also, I only bring our own books--no library books. This is due to my own personal fear of losing one--not any other reason. I think bringing library books with you is fine as long as you are careful not to lose it and bring it back!

Also, as of yet, I don't utilize ebooks; however, I can see how incredibly useful they would be to streamlining the packing experience. I did stumble across this great list of how to find free kids books online the other day which has great resources for audio books as well. (Which would be perfect for long car rides!) 

So, I'm curious. Do you pack kids books with you when you go on vacation? What do you bring? How do you decide what goes and what stays? How do you keep track of them? Any other tips you can offer us? 

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Yes we do! How funny! We too gravitate towards the paperbacks and anthologies:) we can't go a day without book time.

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