When planning a vacation, one of the most difficult tasks you will have to do is pack for the little ones. While you want to make sure you have everything you need, you also do not want to over pack and bring a lot of unnecessary items along. To help ensure you bring only what you will need, it is important to first make a list of everything your child needs on a daily basis. Check items off the list as they are placed in the suitcase. It may also be a good idea to bring that list with you to ensure you bring everything back home with you.
Here is a list of tips and suggested items to pack when planning a vacation with the kids:
What to pack for kids
As far as clothing for the kids, make sure to pack socks, shoes, shirts, pants/shorts, underwear and two swimsuits. Kids can go through multiple outfits in a single day, which is why it is important to have enough outfits for each day you are away, plus a couple of extras. The extras come in handy should anything get spilled on a shirt or their outfits get dirty while playing.
Other items to pack for the kids include:
- Toiletries: Remember, they are kids and do not need much when it comes to toiletries. Make sure to pack lotion, shampoo, hairbrush, body wash, toothpaste and toothbrush.
- First aid kit: This is necessary because you never know what could happen. The first aid kit should include tweezers, antibiotic spray, band aids, hand sanitizer, bug bite sting reliever, antiseptic wipes, children’s Tylenol, blister kits and any medications your child may need while on vacation.
- Extension cord or multi-plug adapter for outlets: This is to accommodate the many electronics you may take with you. Many hotel rooms only have a few electrical outlets, and depending on what you need plugged in or charged, there may not be enough.
- Sanitizing wipes and Lysol spray: You can never be too sure of how clean a hotel room actually is. Bring these items with so you can sanitize the room upon check-in. All you need to do is a quick wipe down of all surfaces, which will help reduce the amount of germs in the room.
- Crushable duffle bag: You always come home with more than you left with. The duffle bag will come in handy when packing any extras you pick up along the way.
- Drink cups for the room: Sometimes cups are not supplied and when they are, they do not have a cover, which can lead to many spills in the hotel room.
- Snacks: Pack a few snacks to keep in the room. These will come in handy late at night or should you return to your room for nap time.
- Toys: Bring just enough toys to keep your kids busy when in the hotel room.
- Things to amuse the kids while traveling: Keep kids busy when flying, driving or riding the train. These items should include magazines, books, small toys, handheld video games, snacks and drinks.
- Jacket and extra pair of shoes: Sometimes it may get cool at night or when in restaurants and the jacket will come in handy for keeping kids warm. The extra pair of shoes will come in handy should one pair get wet in the rain. Sandals are nice to pack when visiting warmer climates.
What to pack for parents
Of course you want to make sure you have everything you need for the kids, but you do not want to overlook what the adults need as well. Many of these items are necessary for everyone to be able to travel. Here are some suggested items the adults will need to pack for vacation:
- Money: Cash, credit cards, debit cards, traveler’s checks, etc.
- Picture ID: Passport, driver’s license or state identification card
- Membership cards: AAA, Disney Club, etc.
- Health and travel insurance documents
- Airplane tickets, park tickets and confirmation numbers
- Toiletries: Do not forget the basics, such as toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, shampoo, conditioner, shaving items, contact lenses/glasses, sunglasses, hairbrush and body wash
- Clothes: Pack enough clothes for each day and do not forget to pack at least one outfit for going out and enjoying a nice dinner
- Camera, batteries and memory cards
- Chargers and cords
- Bathing suits and sandals
How you pack your suitcases is just as important as what you pack. Check out these tips to make packing and finding things on vacation much easier.
- Pack each day in a large, gallon-size zip-locking pack and mark who it belongs to and the day it is to be worn on the outside. Include everything for that day, including shirt, pants, socks and underwear.
- If traveling by air, pack your carry-on in a backpack. This will make it possible to keep you hands free while finding your way through the airport with kids following close behind.
- Get kids to help, especially when it comes to packing their toy and activity bag. Just make sure you double check it to ensure they do not over pack.
- Bring extra zip-locking bags for toiletries, crayons and wet swimsuits. This way you won’t have to worry about other items getting wet or damaged.
Upon arriving at your destination, you kids will want to start enjoying everything there is to offer. The last thing you will want to do is find a store to buy things you forgot at home. Make a list of everything you will need and keep that list in your suitcase until you return safely home. The list will be your insurance that nothing is forgotten before leaving on vacation and before returning home from it.
Heather Landon is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.