Family vacations are the best, but packing for kids can be a drag. They seriously need so. much. stuff.
Don’t worry, though. We’ve got some of the best ways to get your packing act together so you can enjoy your vacation without the stress.
1. Find out if the hotel has play yards or baby monitors on hand before you start packing.
Call ahead to find out if there is anything your hotel or vacation rental already has.
If you’re going to an area with a beach, then also ask for beach toys and towels.
Also — consider bringing your own sheet for the play yard, as hotels rarely have crib-size fitted sheets.
2. Use packing cubes to pack for multiple kids in one bag.
Choose different colors for each kiddo to make organization easier.
3. Keep a packing list in the bag so you know exactly what you need to bring home.
Fact: I love making packing lists. They make it easier to get my life together, but they also make it easier for me (and my kids) to remember what needs to make it back in the bag on the way home.
4. Pack a laundry bag for longer trips.
If you’re able to do laundry on your trip then you’ll have much less to pack.
5. Make phone number bracelets for your kids to wear.
You can also just write your number on their little arms with a pen, but the bracelets are more fun and can double as impromptu luggage tags.
6. Pack a power strip in your carry-on to charge all of your devices at once.
If your kids are bringing devices, too, then this is a must. No more searching for outlets close enough for everyone to charge up at the same time.
7. Pack dollar store toys to keep your kids entertained on a long trip.
Wrap them up and let them open a new toy every hour. Just make sure to toss your trash so the flight attendant doesn’t hate you.
8. Pack extra T-shirts instead of pj’s.
Kids can easily sleep in comfy sweats and T-shirts, and you’ll have backup outfits just in case.
9. Skip shoes with laces.
Think of all the time you won’t be wasting on your vacation tying your toddler’s shoes. Just pack slip-ons.
10. Buy snacks in bulk and separate into individual bags before you leave.
Airports and gas stations are expensive and kids are picky. Plus, snacks will keep kids occupied and busy.
TIP: Choose some snacks that your kids might not usually get to keep spirits up.
11. Organize outfits by day into resealable bags.
Take it up a notch and label them by day to help your kids choose the correct outfit. Anything that simplifies your vacation.
12. Pack plastic bags and an extra outfit in your carry-on.
Make them as accessible as possible (i.e. don’t put it in the overhead bin) so that you can quickly change your kiddo out of wet clothes.
Store the mess in the plastic bag until you get to where you’re going.
13. Pack in a ride-on suitcase for airport trips.
Get a ride-on suitcase to pull your toddler on for under $40.00. They can also amuse themselves with it when you’re (inevitably) delayed.
Check all of the best luggage deals here.
14. Only pack enough diapers and wipes for the plane (or car ride).
They’re so bulky, you guys. Just pack enough for the trip there, and buy what you need when you get to your destination.
15. Use a shower cap to keep little shoes from touching clothes.
Kids step in gross stuff. Keep it off clean clothes by using a shower cap wrapped around the shoes before you stick them in the suitcase.
16. Pack a wet bag (or two!)
Even if you aren’t swimming on your vacay, there’s a very strong possibility that something will get wet anyway.
You can order some sturdy, reusable wet bags for around $4.00 each that won’t tear and leak onto everything you don’t want wet.
17. Pack frozen juice boxes for road trips.
They’ll help keep other snacks cold, and you won’t have to worry about packing an entire cooler for a few drinks.
18. Pack a carry-on for the kids to pull with ONLY snacks and toys.
Call it the bag of fun and make it as accessible as possible.
TIP: Don’t tell your kids what you pack. The excitement is good motivation to behave until they’re situated on the plane.
19. Pack a lint roller to clean up dry spills.
Keep it handy to clean up crumbs, glitter and any other dry messes your kids manage to make.
20. Order Prime Now for anything you (inevitably) forget.
No one is perfect, so the chances are high that you’ll forget something. If you’re in a major city then just order through Prime Now to get free 2-hour delivery.