by Melissa Brodsky
Packing for a vacation with kids is never easy. It’s difficult to predict all that you will need while away, and it is common to overpack or underpack. Having a list from which you can check off items makes packing less stressful and helps you avoid the panicky feeling that you’ll forget something important. Besides a carefully put-together list, use the following tips to make packing less stressful:
- Don’t just pile in clothing that you think your kids will wear while away. Make calculated choices based on the weather where you are going and the types of activities in which you will participate. A good rule of thumb is to pack two outfits for each day–one to wear and one to change into after some Murphy’s Law event, such as a spill or a fall in the mud. If you are packing for a baby, you may do better with three or four outfits per day to handle spit up, messy feeds, and those oh-so-fun diaper blowouts. Keep in mind that you can pack fewer outfits if you will have access to laundry facilities while you’re away. Also pack extra diapers, pacifiers, etc. Be prepared!
- It’s never fun to run out of an important medication while you’re on vacation. Be sure to add all the prescription medications your family members take to your To Pack list. Then, make sure you’ll have enough of each medication to last for the duration of the trip and an extra day or two. Who wants to run right to the pharmacy as soon as they return from a trip? If need be, get the medications refilled. Then, pack essential over-the-counter medications, such as child or infant tylenol, ibuprofen, and allergy medications–just in case. If you or your kids use special skin creams, this is a good time to pack them as well. Place all the meds in an easily identifiable and accessible bag. You don’t want to waste time digging for it if you need a medication in a hurry.
- Choose a bag in which to pack toiletries, and put all of the essentials in it, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, lotion, deodorant, and sunscreen. Go ahead and buy new toiletries for the trip. This way, you can pack them in advance and not have to worry that you’ll forget something as you dash out the door on vacation day.
- Always pack some distractions, and make sure you can pull them out quickly. Take along books, CDs, favorite toys, and a few new toys to hold your kids’ attention for longer. If you will have access to a DVD player, pack some family-friendly DVDs as well. Even better, pack a portable DVD player. Additionally, take along some coloring/activity books and crayons to keep little hands busy.
It’s not just Santa who needs to make a list and check it twice. Once you’ve checked everything off your list, review it again to determine what you forgot to add to it in the first place.Then go ahead and pack those missing items as well.
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