When you have kids, packing can be a nightmare. If you are packing for a weekend trip or preparing for a long vacation, you should really check out these 7 really helpful packing tips for families.
1) Make a list. You can find the one I use here. When I do a "final check" with this list, I always discover something I have missed.
2) Pack good carry on bags. You'll want to include healthy snacks, little treats, small toys/games, movies, special blankets/stuffies, water bottles, iPods/iPads, etc... If you are flying, you will want to pack a pen for customs forms/baggage tags and some gum/suckers for the kids (to help with their ears when the plane is landing). A change of clothes and bathing suits are helpful too... in case luggage gets lost or delayed.
3) Pack a lunch. I detest being forced to buy overpriced and junky food when on a road trip, spending time in an airport, or staying in a hotel room. I always bring supplies (that don't need to be refrigerated) that I can use to prepare a simple picnic lunch. I like unsweetened applesauce, bananas, bread, and peanut butter. It's not fancy... but it's economical, tasty, and keeps my boys happy and full.
4) Put together a bag of basic medical supplies. I always pack Gravol, Benadryl, Tylenol, bandaids, a thermometer, ear drops, etc... There is nothing worse than being in a strange city (with a sick child) searching for an all night pharmacy.
5) Use sealable storage bags. I use bags to: keep organized, identify special outfits, isolate dirty items, and hold wet stuff.
6) Pack light (especially if you will have access to a washer and dryer). Try to choose multi-functioning outfits and items that can be layered. Be selective, and only take what you really think you are going to need. Packing light saves baggage charges, makes it easier to transport luggage through the airport, and helps with fitting luggage into the truck of a rental car.
7) Stay organized - Some people recommend rolling your clothes, but I prefer them folded in neat piles so I can see what I have and keep things organized. I pack all three boys in one suitcase (divided into three sections).
I hope you find these packing tips helpful. Vacations are a lot of fun, but it's important to be prepared. What's your best packing tip for families?
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)