1 International Flight, 2 Kids, 3 Backpacks, 4-day Weekend in Japan!


Our stroller loaded up with all our gear

The whole reason we went to Japan was to renew our visa to stay in Korea.Typically visa trips are 1-2 days at most. Austin was able to save up some days off and take an extra day, so we had four days total to work with for our trip. When we were discussing what to pack and which suitcases to use, Austin suggested we try to fit everything into backpacks. We stayed in an Airbnb for two nights, and then moved on to the Hyatt Regency Osaka for the last night of our trip. I grimaced when I heard that he wanted to do backpacks- with two little boys and a big husband with big clothes I was not sure it was possible! Here’s what we did to “backpack” to Japan for the weekend:


  • If staying at a vacation rental by owner, check to see if they have a washing machine. We ended up packing two outfits each (plus an extra for the baby!) and washing our clothes overnight. It saved a ton of space!
  • Roll your clothes or space bag them. Both strategies save a ton of space.
  • Bring only 1-2 pairs of shoes
  • Get creative with sleeping arrangements for baby: Our son was 10 months old on this trip. We knew there was a crib provided at the Hyatt, and we created a sleeping area for him on a mattress on the floor in our Airbnb. Totally worth it to not have to pack a travel crib! Other options include renting a crib at your destination, but I didn’t plan far enough ahead for that!
  • Ditch the camera bag unless you REALLY need it: I will be the first to admit that I’m not a professional photographer. I just like to capture our memories. So, for a quick trip like this, I packed the camera in my backpack with my clothes as padding. We did not need our other lenses, cords, camera chargers, etc. for such a short trip!
  • Check with accommodations about what toiletries are provided, and only pack essentials. We brought toothbrushes, travel toothpaste, and face wash for ourselves, and baby wash that we used for both boys. Both our Airbnb and Hyatt provided all other toiletries we needed!
  • Bring a select few entertainment items for kids. We let Landon choose two little cars, a book and his beloved Nabi tablet. This was sufficient since we were sightseeing and out and about all day every day of our trip.
  • Pack snacks and emergency baby food options: We have a hard time planning out our meal times effectively. It is torture to sit in slow restaurants with cranky kids, so we make sure we have plenty of healthier snacks like nuts, dried fruit, and granola bars to keep hunger at bay until we figure something out. We love to go to the grocery store and purchase some fruit or veggies and any ready-made items they may have and do that for dinner. So much easier than a restaurant! We try to balance out eating out at restaurants with some easy, more relaxed meals at our Airbnb or hotel. Our son was old enough on this trip to eat a lot of what we were eating, but I still had some applesauce pouches and Korean baby food pouches on hand just in case we needed to supplement with something more.
  • Be selective on electronic devices: Because we knew we were going to be out and about all day, we only brought phones on this trip, and left our laptops at home. Austin had his small tablet in case he needed to do any work. It makes bags so much lighter to not have laptops!
  • Think about transportation and your family situation: For this trip, we took trains, subways, a cab, and a bus. We decided to leave car seats in Korea because they would be way too bulky to haul around Japan. However, we brought our double stroller and baby carrier. That might seem like overkill for some, but our baby was 23 lbs. when we visited Japan, so there was no way we could carry him all day in a baby carrier. There was also no way Landon (our four-year-old) was going to walk the miles and miles we planned on walking during our trip. Enter the in-line double stroller. Landon walked as much as he wanted, but still had a place to rest, and sometimes even sleep, when he got tired. Owen likes the stroller for awhile, but sometimes prefers the birds-eye view of the baby carrier. He took his naps in Japan on Austin’s back. There’s just something about Austin’s back! Because we had the stroller, we chose to take the subway more than buses because strollers have a hard time fitting on buses, and I read that Kyoto’s buses are always crammed with people. We had no trouble with the stroller on the subway, and there were very few times when we had to carry it upstairs using the transportation system- typically there were elevators everywhere we wanted to go. We did take a bus from our hotel to the airport, but it was a charter-type bus so the stroller was underneath. It was a relaxing and easy way to get from Osaka to Kansai International Airport!
Our stroller and baby carrier are indispensable!

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