Oh my goodness, your kids are adorable! And the pictures of their packed items is really cute.
Based on what I'm seeing in the photos, here are some thoughts:
- The pillows--I see that they are sitting next to the backpacks but not packed inside. Do the kids carry them separately? Do they get squished into the backpack? Are they like security blankets? That is, do they feel insecure without those exact pillows? Or can they be any kind of soft cuddly pillow? If they can use ANY kind of comfy pillow, there are some travel pillows that pack into smaller pouches. They aren't inflatable or the crescent-shaped travel pillows, but are often made of down and can be squished down. If your kids pack the pillows into their backpack, a packable travel pillow may save some space.
- Those MOBIL people toys in the plastic cases... the toys are relatively sturdy; could you entertain the idea of using a little fabric pouch to store those? Either a zippered organizer pouch, or a stuff sack (both of which TB sells)? The fewer hard boxes they have in their packs, the more packable the backpacks yet.
- Your daughter's packables include two plush toys... do you think she could manage with just one? That will also free up some room.
OK I'm gonna say it again--just adorable!!!! ^_^
Aw thanks, Lani! I think they're really cute, but I'm highly biased. They make great travel companions as well. We've now visited 10 countries together, and I look forward to many more in the years to come.
I clip their travel pillows with a carabiner to the outside of their backpack, and they slip perfectly under their arms when they walk. We're actually going to be in the market for new ones soon, as my son vomited on his pillow on a recent early morning train, and I wasn't able to save the pillow after washing it. Sad, because I made the pillows, but they're not attached to them as lovies.
We actually wound up sending some of the stuff pictured home with my husband, as I felt like we really had too much stuff. So, one of the stuffed animals was sent home, as well as one of the heavier games. Next go round, I am going to encourage them to slim their personal stuff. Still, when faced with 12 hour flights, and long waits in airports and train stations, having a variety of entertainment saves our sanity! It's a tricky balance to find the "just enough" amount to bring with kids, especially when we're away from home for a long duration.
Thanks again! I enjoy the process and evolution of our packing and travel system, and am excited to do further evaluation of our system.
Edited to add: We use the hard cases for their Playmobil figures because it provides a "safe" place to keep them and allow play on the go. They keep them in the box as they play on airplane tray tables, in bus stations, etc. All their tiny items wind up in these little boxes, and they prove to be worth having the rigid medium to provide a play space so we don't have little figures flying around.
Playing at Coffee Fellows, Stuttgart Train Station by agtobler, on Flickr