My family and I recently traveled to Mexico for three weeks and as some of you already know packing for a family vacation can be a daunting task, especially with an 8 and 10 year old and of course my other large child (husband). Gathering clothes, toiletries and other necessities for a vacation requires some careful planning. As with most things, if you have a plan, packing will be easier and less stressful. You will also enjoy your vacation time relaxing and playing rather than wasting time at the store buying items you left at home.
Our vacation consisted of a little town life, beach life and the big city life. Meaning three different climates and definitely three different attire styles.
Before I get started packing I always:
1. Check my destination’s forecast. While bathing suits and shorts were a definite for the beach, I also end up needing a sweatshirt for those cool nights, summer dresses, light blouses and tee shirts. I always pack at least one pair of jeans that can be paired with the tees and blouses I am already taking.
2. I make a list of all the activities planned for the vacation. Including outings, day trips, and special dinners.
3. I make a list for the family of all the items they need. I usually start making my list a couple of weeks before we leave so its easy to add any items that come to mind at the last minute.
4. I organize outfits for each day. Starting from underwear and ending on sleepwear.
5. I review each day’s wardrobe needs and start to consolidate by arranging clothing items that serve double and triple duty to reduce packing.
6. I try to pack a day or two before our trip. The less rushed I am when packing, the less likely I will forget something important.
What do I take?
- Our beach clothing consist of sandals, flip flops or water shoes, sun hats and/or baseball caps, swimsuits or swim trunks (I packed two for each person) and beach cover-ups. I make sure each family member has one pair of clothes for every day of vacation plus a couple extra pairs for emergencies (specially with kiddos).
- For that little town and city life, the clothing consists of jeans, summer dresses, tees, tennis shoes, hats and dressy flat sandals.
- Shoes – shoes are always tricky as they can sometimes be heavy and bulky. I limit myself to three pairs: a comfortable pair for walking extended distances, a pair of sandals or flip flops (that I don’t mind getting wet) and a dressier pair for evening.
- Dont’ forget pajamas and underwear!
I make a checklist of toiletry items all of us use every day, and refer to the list when I pack our suitcases. Our lists include: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream, razors, deodorant, makeup, hairbrush, hairspray and most definitely sunscreen.
- Identification and Money
Make sure you know what kinds of identification will be required on your trip. Your driver’s license will be sufficient in most cases if your destination is domestic (bring your passport if traveling internationally). It’s also a good idea to travel with some cash in case of an emergency. About three weeks before our departure we order a certain a mount of currency of the country we are traveling too to avoid immediately looking for a bank at our destination.
If you are on a prescription, pack enough medication for your entire vacation. You should also bring extra—enough for another few days—in case your itinerary changes and you need to stay longer. I usually bring along over-the-counter drugs in case anyone catches a cold or has an allergy while on vacation. Anything from Aspirin, antihistamines, Dramamine and Tums are all good to have along.
- Emergency Items
No matter where I will be vacationing, I always have first aid supplies with me at all times. I get travel-sized versions of antibacterial ointment, sterile bandages, sunscreen and motion sickness medication to carry with me in case of injury. A list of the emergency phone numbers in the area and our health insurance cards.
Before leaving home:
1. I double check that everyone has included everything they need..or in the case of my 8 and 10 year old, clean up what they “think” they need. Like robots, large toys, his 4 favorite hats, etc, etc.
2. I give someone I trust (my sister) the contact information for where we will be staying and a copy of your travel itinerary. This allows us to be contacted in case of an emergency.
3. Pay those bills before leaving! Think about any bills that may come due while you are away and make arrangements. You don’t want to come home to discover the power has been cut off. This is very easy with online banking.
4. Check the fridge/kitchen for perishables and dispose of them. You should also take the garbage out!
5. Lastly, HAVE A FABULOUS TIME!
I hope my travel getting ready and packing tips help you all.
Until next time!
Cuff: Brook & York
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