Family vacations are always an event to look forward to; they’re your family’s chance to relax, unwind, and enjoy one another’s company, as well as being your opportunity to create some amazing memories. However, the simple act of making it out of your own front door to begin your vacation won’t always be without its issues. Indeed, traveling with a child or multiple children can be stressful at the best of times – particularly if those children are currently too small to play an active role in the journey or your preparations for the adventure ahead. Packing for a family vacation can often feel like something of a military operation, but it really needn’t be so stressful. If you’re already dreading the task ahead, stop – our simple guide to perfect packing will ensure that your vacation gets off to a great start.
We cannot stress this enough; when it comes to packing for a family vacation, be sure to allow plenty of time to get organized, and for making last-minute trips to the store when you realize you’re missing half of the essentials you need. In fact, it’s worth digging out your suitcases and making a list of the things you’ll need at least a week before you go. There is absolutely no such thing as being too prepared, particularly when it comes to traveling with children.
Don’t forget your documents
You’ll find it very difficult to get very far without your tickets and passports, so ensure that all relevant travel documentation is kept somewhere safe until your day of departure. If you’re anything like us, your tickets, passports, medical insurance, theme park passes, vacation confirmation, car rental agreement, and list of emergency contacts will be the first things you pack – well, you never can be too careful. Be sure to keep any foreign currency in your carry-on luggage if you’re flying, and split notes between two secure places if you can – this also goes for storing your money once you check in.
Just a few essentials…
Okay, so now let’s get down to business. How many members of your family are traveling with you, and how long will you be away from home? It’s vital to pack enough clothes for everybody, and to take the climate of your vacation destination into account. Will it be hot? Will it be chilly? Are you likely to need sandals or sensible walking shoes? At the very least, you’ll need traveling outfits for adults and children, enough pairs of pajamas to see you through until the end of your vacation, swimwear if applicable, day and evening outfits to suit the kinds of activities you’re likely to be doing, and a few layers that can be put on if you get too cold. Consider a capsule wardrobe for adults, but remember that children are prone to going through clothes far more quickly. Now bundle in those remaining essentials, including your toiletry bag and toothbrushes, camera and charger, additional batteries, phone chargers, guidebooks, refillable water bottles, and a backpack to carry items during days out. Oh, and extra diapers and wipes if your little ones are still at that age – imagine getting lost abroad without those!
Think about the journey ahead
It’s often a lot easier to think about packing for your vacation than it is the journey; so many of us are so hung up on what we’ll need once we get there that we forget to pack enough essentials to take us that far. Packing for adults and older children is the easy part, but it’s vital that you have everything you’re likely to need for an infant or toddler traveling with you. Regardless of how you’re beginning your journey, you must have a suitable, secure travel seat and stroller for your little one. You’ll also need a diaper bag filled with their essentials, such as diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, pacifiers, teethers, and medication. Finally, think about keeping your baby well-fed and hydrated, particularly if you’re embarking upon a long journey across country. A baby snack cup, such as the Zoo Snack Cup, is perfect for toddlers, while an assortment of sweet and savory snacks should keep everybody happy.
In case of emergency…
What items are you likely to need in an emergency, and to preserve your health? If you’re traveling to sunnier climes, make sure that you’ve got sunscreen, sun hats, sunglasses, and insect repellent with you. Similarly, if you’re likely to be getting cold and wet, make sure that you’ve got suitable footwear and layers. Finally, be sure to take a first aid kit, your insurance documents, your family’s regular prescriptions, and sanitary wear for the women in your family, as well as contact lenses and solution if you’re going to need them. Such items can be expensive or difficult to find when you’re overseas, so take as much as possible.
You know your family better than anyone, so always consider what each member is likely to need and want for the duration of your vacation. Is it an item that you can source once you get to your destination, or will you need to take it with you? Remember that children are far more adaptable than we give them credit for – your little ones will no doubt be kept entertained by the myriad of activities that you’ve got planned for them. Finally, remember to look after yourself; a vacation that starts with stress is unlikely to inspire your holiday spirit. Relax, and have fun – it’s time to make some memories!