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Packing Tips for Your Family Vacation

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Authored by Cathy L. Chambers in Family Vacation
Published on 09-28-2009

Packing for your family vacation requires careful planning. Advance preparation can help you ensure that you have all necessary items, without over packing. This is especially helpful if you are traveling by air since excess weight can mean extra costs. As a rule, most airlines allow each passenger to check two pieces of luggage that can be stored in the baggage compartment of the plane. The weight of these bags may be limited and there may be size restrictions. Additionally, each passenger is allowed to have one piece of carry on luggage that must fit under the seat in front of you. Travel by car presents a different challenge. There may be even more space constraint on luggage that must be carried in the trunk of a car. Regardless of the method of travel, here are some things to keep in mind while packing.

When traveling with children, forget the idea of traveling light. Unless you plan to spend part of your vacation doing laundry, bring more than one change of clothes per day for young children. Purchase a suitcase on wheels for each child over four and let them be responsible for their own bag. Give them each a backpack to carry books, crayons; video games (do not forget extra batteries!) Giving each child his or her own luggage will make it easier to stay organized at your destination.

Consider changes in the weather. Even the warmest beaches can be chilly in the evening. Make sure everyone has a lightweight jacket or hoodie and a pair of long pants. Pack a terry cover up for the beach and one or two swimsuits for each family member. Make certain that there is an ample supply of underwear, shorts, tops and at least one dressy item for each family member. Although flip-flops are considered adequate footwear for most establishments around the beach, you may want to bring an extra pair of tennis shoes.

Plastic bottles sometimes leak inside luggage. Prevent spills by packing liquids in plastic bags. Even if your hotel provides toiletries, you should bring a supply of your own favorite brands. Sunscreens and sunburn products are often more expensive when purchased at your destination so make certain to bring yours from home. Do not forget your medicines or fever relievers for your child.

If you are working on a tight budget, consider packing cereal, instant soups and snack items. You can save money by preparing these in your room. As an additional bonus, as you use your foodstuff, you will have additional free space for souvenirs.

Follow the same guidelines for traveling in a car. Let each child bring a backpack with small toys, crayons and coloring books and snacks. Alternately, bring a small supply of inexpensive toys and books from the dollar store and present them to your child at frequent intervals. This can help relieve the boredom of a long drive.

Packing for a family vacation is time consuming and requires careful planning. Giving adequate attention to details before leaving home can help increase your enjoyment at your destination by eliminating the need to shop in a strange place for a necessity that you “forgot” to pack.

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