Traveling with Kids? This Rubber Band Hack Will Free Up Half Their Suitcase

I used to be an organized packer. But once my son arrived, that skill seemed to go out the window. I’ve tried to stick to the one bag per person rule for travel, but somehow—whether traveling by plane, train or automobile—my family always ends up with at least double that amount. (I’m counting totes and purses here, but I think we carried 11 pieces of luggage around Europe in 2018? Ouch.)

Still, traveling with kids isn’t easy. The younger set in particular can require a lot of gear...and toys…and outfit changes. So, what’s the solve? I asked a frequent flyer friend and mom of three for her expert advice and she supplied a genius solve for staying organized and maximizing space in a suitcase, at least on the clothing front: Rubber bands.

Here’s how it works: The next time you’re laying out clothes for your kid for a trip, lay out their attire as complete outfits—shirt, pants, underwear, socks—then roll them and rubber band them together before you toss them in a packing cube.

Why this is a useful step: For one thing, rolling clothes always saves on space. (Ditto the packing cubes.) But pre-assembling the outfits and “tying” them together so to speak will help you limit the things you carry and maintain organization throughout your trip. (Getting dressed also becomes a bit more grab and go vs. trying to find the pair of pants that goes with a certain top, etc.)

I put it to the test on a recent trip and my son’s clothes only took up about 50 percent of his bag compared to prior situations where I’ve had to sit on his suitcase just to close it up. That meant I could fill the rest of the space with toys, books and a few sleep necessities (monitor, toddler pillow, etc.). Not bad.

Of course, this rubber band hack requires a bit of up front organization. (For example, I had a firm grip on the weather report as I mapped out outfits.) But, in the end, I left the house with significantly less baggage—the goal. As for my own overpacked suitcase? That’s a problem for another day.

12 Genius Packing Hacks That Will Make Travel a Breeze

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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...