The following is a post from contributing writer Angie.
Packing for a trip can be stressful, but when you add in packing for children, that can raise the stress level even higher. I suspect that I’m not the only one who has arrived at a distant destination only to hear something like, “I don’t have any pajamas,” come out of the mouth of a child.
Having just recently gone on a nine day vacation to the happiest place on earth, I am able to pass along some of the tips that we found the most useful when it came to our children’s packing.
10 Tips for Packing for a Trip with Children
1. Create individual packing lists. Because our children are older (ages 8 – 13), we were able to write individual packing lists for each child for them to gather the appropriate number of items on the list. Once they gathered the items, each child had a spot in the living room to put their things along with their list.
When they were done, I went through their items to make sure they had the right numbers and then crossed off that line. (At least one child was short on socks and underwear, so I was glad for the second check.)
2. Pack backpacks for recreational items. If you are going on a long trip, regardless of the mode of transportation, your children will probably want some toys or games to keep them busy. Nobody wants a bunch of bored kids on a two hour flight – not you, not the kids, and not the people sitting around you.
(Since this was my children’s first airplane ride, we made them lay out the contents of their backpacks so we could verify that we wouldn’t have any trouble in security.)
3. Leave room for gifts or souvenirs. If you are going somewhere that the kids are apt to be bringing home some types of goodies, encourage them to not fill their bags so full that getting those items home becomes a problem.
4. Keep medicines where you can easily reach them. It is definitely not fun having to pull over at a rest area on the Interstate to dig through all of your suitcases because you can’t remember where you put the Baby Tylenol.
5. Take medicines that you don’t expect you’ll need. With kids, illnesses can come on at a moment’s notice. You’ll be so happy that you brought along those ear drops or that special insect bite ointment, if you find that you need them unexpectedly. (I know I certainly was when I ended up with a bunch of mosquito bites one evening.)
6. Take extra clothes or maybe even plan to do laundry. Accidents happen, so it’s best to either over pack slightly or make a plan for doing laundry at your destination, if you might have to. Because we were flying and spending nine days in Disney World, we packed for only about five days and did laundry at our Disney resort one evening when we had some down time. (We took our laundry supplies with us, purchased as trial sizes ahead of time, to avoid high prices at the resort.)
7. Bag up outfits by day for extreme organization. While this wouldn’t have worked as well for us, I have seen where families have placed a whole day’s clothes for each day in separate baggies for small children.
8. Limit children taking unnecessary items. If space is at a premium, help children to be picky about the things they take on the trip. One of my children wanted to pack a stuffed animal in her backpack. Since I knew she was already planning on a stuffed animal purchase (or two) while we were on our trip, I was able to persuade her to just wait for her new ones.
9. Charge all electronics ahead of time. When we travel (which is usually by car), we typically bend our normal game playing time rules and just let the kids play away on their game systems. We’ve run into problems before where someone’s system is out of power, so we’re careful to make sure things are properly charged now.
10. Plan ahead to avoid stress. If you’re like me, packing and getting ready for a trip just naturally becomes stressful. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to become unpleasant when I’m stressed. If that’s your issue too, make sure you plan ahead as best as you can to ensure that everyone is able to get ready and leave for your trip in happy moods instead of being cranky and stressed.
What are some of your best tips for packing or getting ready for a trip with children?