Traveling as a family can be quite a bit of fun, however the packing prior to the trip can cause headaches and major anxiety. How are you supposed to know what you and your children will need and anticipate any accidents or emergencies? Thankfully, if you follow the following tips, you should be able to pack exactly what you need without needing a U-Haul to reach your destination.
Clothing is a must when it comes to travel and you are better off packing two outfits for each day that you will be gone. This may sound unnecessary, but if you have ever had a child forget to mention that they needed to use the bathroom or start getting sick without warning, you’ll be happy that you did this. You should also make sure that all of the clothing that you pack matches, so that you can mix and match the items as needed. You should also pack some laundry detergent in case you need to wash some items quickly in the sink of the hotel at night.
The versatility of Ziploc baggies is never ending and you should pack a few of these in different sizes. They can hold dirty laundry, filled with water to plug a hotel tub drain at bath time, hold seashells from the beach or other little trinkets that are found while walking around. They can also be used if someone decides that they are getting motion sickness while in the car, on the plane or the train.
When it comes to the bigger items that you will need for your weekend away, you may have a choice of whether or not you need to bring your own. Many hotels have cribs or pack and plays available for guests, so that you do not need to bring yours. This can save you a lot of room in the trunk of your vehicle. If you have younger children who still use a stroller, you will definitely want to bring one of those. However, try to bring the smallest stroller that you own. There is nothing worse than trying to wrangle a large stroller through a security line or large groups of people.
Whether you are driving, flying or taking the train to your destination, you will want to make sure that you have snacks for everyone as well as some activities to do along the way. Children can get hungry and bored quite often on trips and that can make them cranky. Single serve items or small baggies of snacks work best, since they are easier to grasp by smaller hands. When it comes to activities, it will depend on the age of your children. Coloring books and small notebooks for doodling work well with the younger children and small travel games are perfect for older ones. Many people will purchase a new pack of crayons or coloring book especially for the trip, so that it feels special and exciting.
You shouldn’t take too many other toys for your trip, because your children will find many fun things to do that they might not think of at home. You’ll be surprised when you see them stacking sugar packets in a restaurant, pouring water from a glass to the ice bucket at the hotel and playing I Spy as you explore the area you are staying in. If you’re creative and organized enough, you can even make a scavenger hunt for your destination.
As you are walking around and having fun on your trip, you will want to have a bag to carry not only the essentials for the day, but also anything that you may purchase or that your children pick up during your journey. Any bag will do, but backpacks seem to be more comfortable and leave your hands free to keep up with your children. Some of the essential items that you will need are your cell phone, camera, video camera, hand sanitizer, wipes and tour books with maps.
Bedtimes routines are there for a reason, so you shouldn’t disrupt these too much while you are away. If you always read books at night before bed, then bring a few favorites along. When you are staying out of town, it is not the time to forget to pack their blankies, sleeping buddies or anything else that they carry around with them every night. Music can be very relaxing for children and adults, especially at the end of a long day. You might want to consider bringing your iPod and Bluetooth speakers so that everyone can listen to music and calm down. This is even perfect for after the children are asleep and you want to sit back and chill with a glass of wine before bed.
When you go away for any vacation, it is important to pack enough for your trip without going overboard. Thankfully, you should be able to purchase mostly anything that you forget, but that will depend on your destination. One bit of advice is to make a list of things to take with you on your computer or phone, print it off and check the items off as you pack them. During any trip, you can add items to this list as you realize that you should have brought it along.