Christmas Vacation with One Carry-on for a Family of 5.

This year we spent a week away from home during Christmas. To keep things cheap we only brought personal bags and one carry-on for our whole family. Now before I go on too much farther, just know that we celebrated Christmas with gifts when we got back home. With our kids being young enough to not know what day Christmas is on, we can actually do that.

Each one of us had four outfits for the whole 8 days. That meant doing laundry while we were away. We also had large coats since we went to Idaho where it was much colder than what we are used to in Southern California. We also had enough diapers and wipes to get to our destination, blankets for each of our babies, food so we didn’t have to buy airplane food, and our hygiene/makeup.

Here is what I packed for myself to give you an idea:

1 PJ set

2 sweaters (I switched off every other day on which one I wore).

4 white T-shirts

1 coat

1 scarf

1 pair of pants

1 black leggings

1 pair of work out clothes with sports bras

1 pair of shoes

2 pairs of socks

(Not shown in picture above is 4 pairs of underwear and 2 bras)


If you can get it at your destination, buy it there. I’m mainly talking about diapers and wipes in our case, but that could look differently for different people. We only packed enough for the flight then bought them in Idaho.

Don’t be afraid to borrow things. Need a jacket? Ask for someone’s spare to borrow. Almost everyone has extras that aren’t being used and most people don’t mind lending an extra pair of socks or a towel or whatever. Or even toys for your kids. No need to pack toys if where you’re staying they’ll have things for your kids to do.

Don’t pack just-in-case items. If you absolutely need it, buy it. Most likely you won’t need it though.

You’re traveling, it’s okay if you wear the same thing more than once.

Can it be used for double duty? A scarf as a travel pillow (or as cover up while nursing), lipstick used as blush as well, you get my drift?

Plan packing items ahead. Give yourself enough time to think through how to make it all possible.

Pack like-things together. Ex: all our clothes went in the carry-on, all blankets in one backpack, all food in another backpack, etc.

Would I do anything differently?

Wait until at least two kids can walk in the airport. With two babies who can’t walk around and all three of our kids still in full car seats, AND with both me and my husband wearing backpacks (carrying a baby each) getting from car to check-in car seats was super difficult.

Not pack so much food, we didn’t need as much on the plane as I thought so it was just extra weight.

Do any of you try to pack minimally? The whole week we were gone we stayed at 4 different places and packing light made it really easy to pack up and go to the next place. It made packing light well worth it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s