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One of the hardest things about vacationing with kids is…traveling with kids. We are all well aware that children thrive within structure and within the places that they are the most comfortable; so while vacationing is an amazing opportunity to experience new places and cultures it is also a difficult strain on the daily functioning of a family. It’s basically parenting in a location that isn’t quite as convenient as your own home.

So how do we travel with kids? ….Very patiently.

To be completely honest, my children are much better travelers than I am. I like routine and they seem to just roll with the flow while I am the one balancing logistics and floundering. I blame their father for parenting them this way.

So while traveling can be challenging, it shouldn’t stop us from experiencing the world. My family is embarking on a three month backpacking journey so I figured I would share tips and pieces from our trip.

I am starting with the first, and potentially most difficult part: packing.

Ground rules for our trip: everyone carries their own stuff (caveat for the four year old, he carries a small backpack, parents carry his clothes); everything you want to bring has to fit in the backpack that you carry. That is what you get.

Stuff: In general I give the kids to pack what they think is essential but with the guidelines of “you probably don’t want only one shirt”…so they all tend to pack 2-3 T-shirts, 2-3 long sleeves, 2 shorts, 2-3 pants, socks, underwear, a hat, two pairs of shoes and a raincoat. They each have a journal to keep track of our trip, some pens, and films for a portable camera printer. We also splurged on a kindle for the kids to share since reading is a must.

Caveat again: The four year old packs a basketball hoop, a miniature dog model, two stuffed alpacas, and some cars. He claims he can carry it all. We’ll see.

That’s it. We won’t have a car, just bags and ourselves. Three months to explore and hang and essentially be structureless with the bags on our backs. But we’re doing it together and as much as it is going to be parenting in strange places it will still be amazing.

Hopefully my family will be patient with me…I’ll let you know!