Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Packing for a Family Vacation

Summer brings to mind days on the beach; visits to theme parks; hiking through national parks. Family vacations create lasting memories for your children. Preparing to leave can be a nightmare.
What will you REALLY need, how are you going to fit it all in your suitcase; how will you find it all again when you arrive? Here are a few simple tips that I have found helpful with my children.

  1. Create a list-Think through everything you think you will actually need and make a list. Check each item off the list as it goes into the suitcase, making sure that everything is crossed off before the bags are loaded into the car. (Now this won’t help you with those items you forget to put on the list, but maybe you aren’t like me, and you really do put everything you need on your list.)

  2. Pack in Non-Traditional containers-If you are flying or will have to carry your luggage long distances, skip to number three, but if you are staying with family or friends this is a great tip for road trips. If you pack in stackable plastic bins, it is easier to make good use of the space in the back of a mini-van.

  3. Use zip top bags- Gallon size zip top bags are perfect for packing an entire outfit for younger children. Include a pair of pants, a top, underwear and socks, and you are ready to go! This makes heading out on your daily adventures much easier than scrounging through a messy suitcase; looking for items that match. Zip top bags are also convenient for toiletry items, helping to contain any possible spills.

  4. Take advantage of Laundry facilities-When traveling, space is at a premium. Trying to pack enough clothing for a week or more for each member of your family can be very difficult. Planning to make use of laundry facilities, either at your hotel or a nearby Laundromat can help conserve space. Also, when choosing your clothing, pick basic items that you can easily interchange to create a variety of outfits.

  5. Don’t forget to keep your children occupied on long trips-If you don’t want to hear “How much longer?” (or in our case, on trips between Utah and California, “are we STILL in Nevada?) every five minutes or so, make sure that you have brought along entertainment for your children. While portable DVD players and video game systems are definitely useful, other, less expensive options are great at entertaining children on the road. You can pack a small back for each child containing a new box of crayons (very inexpensive right now with back to school sales), a blank pad of paper, coloring book, a book to read, and inexpensive toys (preferably without multiply small pieces to get lost in the car seat). When I was little my mom would always create a fun travel bag for each of us. We were never allowed to open them until we had been on the road at least an hour.
Do you have any fun tips for making a family vacation run more smoothly? We would love for you to share by leaving a comment below.

- Christine

Posted by Christine of Random Thoughts With Chris

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