Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Dilema of packing for a family vacation

Gone are the days of sitting on your suitcase to close it. New flight regulations, and now paying for carry-on luggage have made "packing light" the cool new catch phrase. Whether you're traveling overseas or driving to Grandma's for a visit , packing can be a major pain in the tushy.  If you're traveling with toddlers, tweens or teens, think small, think smart, and take stuff you can layer.

Now with new regulations, people try to fit everything into carry-ons, that must fit into those little metal containers as you board. Often times, if you are at the end of your line boarding, your bag ends up getting checked because so many people have multiple carry-on bags that they put in the overhead compartment. With all that in mind.....

1) Always pack medicines, first aide kit, and one change of clothes in each person's carry-on. If going on a beach vacation add your bathing suit to that list. Just in case your luggage gets lost you have a change of clothes and your medicine.

2) Make a  list of everything you think your family will need. Put the list away and when you come back to it, knock off at least ten items you don't need. Remove anything you can buy cheaply at your destination as well as wishful thinking items, such as the extra book you won't read. 

3) Plan your outfits. You will save a tremendous amount of space by planning one outfit per day, per family member. Items like jeans can be used for multiple days. To save space roll the entire outfit together. Pants, then shirt, with underwear and socks on the inside.  Roll tightly to save space. Secure with belt, kerchief or other item that needs packing.  Save additional space by packing only one or two pajama outfits. Kids can wear the same t-shirt and shorts to bed.

4) Shoes are always difficult: heavy and bulky. Try to wear your heaviest/bulkiest pair on the plane. Try to limit yourself to 3 pairs: something comfortable for walking, a pair of sandals or flip flops, and something to wear with a more dressy outfit if needed!

5) With new modern-day regulations on what can be carried on, limit the toiletries you bring. Spend ten bucks at the store buying mini-shampoos and mini-deodorants. Give each person their own to carry in their luggage.

6) Child-size rolling suitcases are great as carry-on luggage. Kids love the added responsibility that an individual suitcase gives them.

7) Consider mailing a package with items you can't live without to your destination. You can mail yourself a package with toiletries, diapers, and other items. Just remember to put your name and date of check in right on the front of the package.


Pack jeans - they’re good for two maybe three wearings.

Textured or patternedfabrics don’t show spills or wrinkles. Avoid whites they will inevitably get stained, believe me I know :)

Take baggies, they are good for almost anything from holding tooth brushes, to snacks and the big ones for dirty clothes. 

Bring detergent tablets and do a load of laundry if needed. Most hotels have laundry facilities, or something near by.

Remember that if you DO forget something, chances are good that you can buy a replacement somewhere on your trip. Relax, and enjoy your family vacation.

Just in case pack a duffle bag in one of your bags, in case you need an extra bag in the way home :) 

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Vanessa said...

Great advice...thanks!

Judy said...

I have experienced the over stuffed overhead compartments...airlines really need to crack down on the number of bags people bring in!
Good advice for the traveller, I am a fan of packing the ziploc bags, they have so many varied uses.