The Minimalist Traveler + A Dog & Baby

A Story Of Traveling Minimally + A Dog & Baby | |

Making the transition to living minimally has proven to have many benefits. Everything in our home has purpose; our closets are cultivated specifically for multiple outfits with a basic number of pieces, we utilize the space in our small one bedroom apartment, and we never bring anything in without donating, selling, or ditching the things we no longer use.

By living this way it’s helped me reevaluate the way I travel too and this week we’re flying for the first time with not only our baby, but our Murphy in tow as well.

How To Be The Minimalist Traveler

Traveling, even without a baby or a dog, is stressful. There’s getting to the airport in enough time, getting through security, finding your terminal, meanwhile navigating around every other person who is trying to accomplish the very same thing you are. Not to mention bearing those ridiculously long lines to get that essential cup of coffee or to get that last pee in before your flight (thanks to said coffee). Furthermore, the holidays make this an especially stressful task due to the number of people flying the same day you are.

However, traveling with a minimalistic attitude helps cut down on those unnecessary stressors such as fumbling with your (often too many) bags or not having things like your wallet, boarding pass, or keys easily accessible. Simply reevaluating the way you pack can easily eliminate those stressful aspects to traveling.

Here’s how we are flying with two adults, a baby, and a dog all in a duffle bag and a backpack.

Be Prepared

I’m starting with the obvious task here and that’s simply being prepared both with your time and with how you pack. When catching a flight with a baby and dog in tow, timing is of the upmost importance for us. Packing ahead of time and having those key items within reach such as our wallets, I.Ds., and boarding passes will save us so much time in the long run.

Tip For Family/Pregnant Travelers: once you find your terminal, speak to one of the people at the desk to see if you can board first before they call the groups so that you have time to get settled. We do this all the time when we travel with our dog, when I was pregnant, and now even moreso with Greyson. It’s rare that they will ever turn you down.

The Golden Rule of Packing

Whether your packing for a quick weekend or a weeklong trip (like us) it’s important this golden rule of packing: only take the essentials. Leave everything else behind or purchase them when you arrive to your destination. There’s no reason anyone should have to check luggage the size of their body regardless of how long you’ll be traveling for. I used to be one of those people and have since learned how much easier it is getting in and out of the airport when I only travel with my essentials. So, what are these?

Essentials: toiletries, makeup, wallet (even invest in a special wallet case for your phone), phone, devices & their chargers (iPad, Laptop, etc.), clothes, socks, shoes, and anything absolutely needed for the trip or while on the plane.

Even though checking a bag takes it off your hands while navigating the airport, in the end you risk losing it or at the very least standing in the myriad of people attempting to pick it up after your flight. For me, it’s never worth the hassle. By cutting out checking a bag we’re able to quickly move throughout the terminals, board and deplane quickly, and get on the road once we arrive at our destination. It’s all in how we pack that makes this simple even with a baby and dog.

The Backpack Diaper Bag

Traveling with a backpack is almost as great as rolling carry-on luggage – but better. It only requires super packing skills and a determination to bring just enough to fit in the bag. For our trip, we decided that Greyson’s diaper bag will be this backpack. I should mention that we are very fortunate enough to have much of what Greyson will need already stocked at my husband’s family’s house. This really helped us cut down on the number of things that we would have had to take with us on our flight. Anything Greyson would need in addition to what we bring will just be purchased once we arrive in San Antonio.

A Story Of Traveling Minimally + A Dog & Baby | |

A Story Of Traveling Minimally + A Dog & Baby | |

I am using Ziploc bags to keep his packed items clean and easily accessible in his backpack. I also made sure to pack new toys for the plane so that it’ll keep his interest during the flight.

Nonetheless, packing for baby follows the essentials rule too! We are only packing him items for:

  1. diaper changing
  2. one bottle with enough prepared formula for two bottles and snacks like Puffs
  3. a couple of his favorite toys and books to keep him busy
  4. his infant Tylenol, his favorite Wubbanub pacifier, and lovey

This is in addition to the few outfits and socks we packed for the week and spare clothes for any blowouts that may occur.

We are utilizing our Baby Tula carrier instead of bringing our stroller so that it keeps our hands free and is less to manage once we’re at the airport. My husband will carry Greyson like a backpack, I’ll have his diaper bag backpack on me, then it’s just our shared duffle bag and Murphy in his dog travel carrier. Backpacks are the way to go for anyone who needs to move quickly and at the airport it’s essential to have mobility!

Two Adults In One Bag

A Story Of Traveling Minimally + A Dog & Baby | |

Because I’m wearing one of my outfits on the plane, I’m saving so much room in our carry on!

This is when minimalism combined with a capsule wardrobe comes into play and becomes a huge benefit when traveling. Having a capsule wardrobe already in use helps me narrow down just a few items to pack, which includes:

  1. 1 pair of jeans/pants
  2. 3-4 tops including sweaters
  3. my new outerwear jacket
  4. 1-2 accessories including a scarf
  5. 1 pair of shoes (which I’ll wear to the airport)
  6. 1 sleep/loungewear outfit

This also take into consideration what I plan to wear for our flights, which should be comfortable but with practical use too. I also plan to pack any camis, bra, and underwear for the week. We share a toiletries bag, but I do have makeup of which I’ll need to make room for. It really helps when my husband can get away with packing one pair of jeans and multiple shirts and be good for the week – helps save more room for me 😉

A Story Of Traveling Minimally + A Dog & Baby | |

Shop this travel look below! My cargo vest and black skinnies are from my recent Stitch Fixes but I have included similar items.

I hope you all have a joyous Christmas weekend and enjoy the company of family and friends! Be sure to follow along with me and my little family on social media!

The Minimalist Traveler: See what tips & tricks I have found to be the best way to fly in one carry on and a backpack with dog and baby in tow. | |

What are your favorite flying essentials? What tips & tricks do you have flying with a baby?

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  • Emily Stagliano

    I loved this post, Kelly! Michael and I are taking Bowen home in 2 weeks for about 1 week stay with my parents, and I am absolutely going to follow this! Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family 🙂

    • Good luck on your first trip with baby! Greyson did great and it was so worth it to only have a couple bags – it made boarding and deplaning so easy! Merry Christmas to you as well!

  • That is a great backpack diaper bag! I love streamlined luggage that has lots of storage space. I’m definitely going to be using these packing tips on my next trip. Thanks for sharing and hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

    • It was such a life saver around the airport and even on the plane. I was able to get around so quickly – I recommend it even if you don’t have a kid!

  • Tess

    I loved this post! I often wonder how we will do traveling when baby comes along. Lots of good tips!

    • Thank you! Traveling is already stressful, but with a baby too can take it to another level. I really enjoyed having everything he’d need right there accessible on the plane (although he slept most of the way). I just hated packing things I’d rarely, or never, used. This is definitely the way to go!

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  • LOVE this post!! Only pack the essentials!! yes! The more traveling (and just life in general) I do, the more I realize the essentials list was never as long as I thought it was. The fewer things the better!

    • Thanks so much Melanie! It definitely takes time to narrow down what those essentials were but I am so thankful in the end. I used everything I brought and anything additional I needed I just purchased once I arrived to Texas. Traveling either by yourself or with a baby doesn’t need to be as complicated as some make it out to be.