What to pack for your family vacation

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You look forward to your family vacation all year long. You and your family decide on where you’ll go, what sites you want to see, and what type of accommodation to stay in. But, as well as the planning, you need to think about what to pack. It’s no fun if you forget essential items, especially if they will be expensive, or unavailable, at your vacation venue.

Packing is an area where a list is essential. Making the list is a matter of tracking the items you and your family use during a normal day, together with any extras you’ll need when traveling. Here are some tips to help you choose what to pack for a family vacation.

Essentials

Your daily needs are the same at home as they are on vacation. You need toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, diapers, clothes, prescriptions and vitamins, phone, and money. Many of these items come in travel sizes, so if your trip is short enough, invest in the smaller versions to save some space.

As you are creating your list of essentials, start to plan the amounts you’ll need. This will depend on whether you can replace items that run out, or do laundry along the way. There are some items that you don’t want to run short of, such as prescription drugs and baby food. Either research where you will be able to buy those items or take enough to cover the whole time, plus a few extra days.

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Activities

You will have to pack toys and other activities for your kids, so why not take items that are compact, yet entertaining? For babies, a tummy time mat, such as the Treetop Friends by Skip Hop, is the perfect travel toy. An adorable owl provides a soft pillow for baby while also encouraging the development of motor skills. Your baby can play with the adorable attached toys, which have fun textures.

For older kids, life is easier, with the number of apps and activities that come with a tablet. You can download videos, games and books to keep kids of all ages engaged. Plan ahead for charging the items by investing in power sticks, and be sure to pack the power cords.

Travel apps are great, but they can be difficult to use when you are walking around, and many won’t work without an internet connection. The whole family will benefit from a travel guide, so buy one from a used bookstore. It may be a couple of years old, but major vacation attractions don’t change much. Tear out the pages of the book that you need for your trip and just take those. If you don’t want to tear up a book, then plan to leave it at the last accommodation you stay at, so you can create a bit of extra space (and less weight) in your luggage.

Some extras

The last part of your packing list will include things you need especially for travel. This will be items like passports and visas, international drivers’ licenses and reservation confirmations, a good camera, electric current converters, a first aid kit, travel snacks, foreign currency, plastic bags for dirty clothes, and headphones.

You also need to think about the gear you’ll need for the vacation venue. If you’re going somewhere cold, you’ll need outwear and gear like ski boots and snowboards. For an outdoor trip, you’ll need things like suntan lotion and swimsuits.

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Where it all goes

Once you have gathered your items, you’ll need to sort them. There are many items you’ll want nearby throughout the trip, such as travel documents, diapers, and your phone or tablet. You should also carry your first aid kit and a change of clothes in carry-on luggage because kids are messy and sometimes boisterous. Chargers are expensive to replace, and not always easy to find, so put those in your carry-on luggage.

It is smart to pack for the whole family in each bag, rather than having one suitcase per person. If you pack well, you can work out of one or two suitcases at a time, rather than having a bag for each family member taking up space. Also, if you are checking bags and one of your suitcases is lost, you will still have essentials for everyone.

Your family vacation is going to be fantastic, no matter what happens. Remember, it’s about spending time together as a family and getting away from your regular routine. Include your family in the packing process, and enjoy your trip.