Traveling can be a lot of fun. But it can also be quite stressful, especially if you are traveling with young kids. One of the best ways to reduce stress and increase fun during vacation is to make sure that you pack the things you need without over packing.
Make a List
There's nothing worse than having to unpack your luggage to make sure that you packed an item. Making a list allows you to create categories, add quantities, cross off items as you pack them, and even add notes just to make sure that you will be ready for the trip. The best way to make a list is to create a separate list for each person that is going on the trip. This will help reduce the common mistake of crossing things off too early or thinking that you did something when it was actually only partially completed. For example, if you have 4 people in your family, and you are packing the toothbrushes, if you grab your toothbrush and cross it off the list, the other 3 people in your family will not be very happy when they arrive and realize they are missing their toothbrush (And you may not be very happy having to share your toothbrush with everyone during your trip or having to deal with a trip full of bad breath).
Check It Twice
Before you start packing, go over your list one more time and this time re-write the items so they are better organized. Try grouping items together, like putting all the bathroom items next to each other, putting the different clothing items next to each other, putting the different electronic/tech items next to each other. This will help you be more efficient once you start packing. Also, reading over your list will help you realize the items you forgot the first time as well as the items that you really don't need and can erase from the list.
5 Very Important Tips:
Bring Snacks and Drinks: Gas Station items are normally a lot more expensive than buying them from the store, so make sure to figure out what snacks and drinks would be helpful to have on hand.
Toys, Books, and things to Keep You Busy: Vacations are a lot of fun, but driving in the car, standing in line at the airport or train station, or sitting at the restaurant waiting for a table are not that much fun. Make sure to bring a couple smaller items that will keep you and your kids busy and distracted during the not-so-fun moments.
Bring extra bags: So you did a great job when you made your list and checked it twice, but you didn't think about what you are going to do with all the dirty clothes during the vacation. Make sure to pack several plastic bags so you can put your dirty clothes and extra stuff in it. Also, don't forget to pack a bag or two that you can bring with you to help store some items as you are traveling around town. I love bringing my small, weatherproof backpack in a floral design that has several zippers and compartments for all my stuff.
Bring Sunscreen, Bug Spray, and First-Aid/Medicine: Getting a sunburn or bit up by bugs is never fun. Packing some medicine in case anyone gets a headache or an upset stomach is always a great idea. Don't forget your travel first-aid kit and make sure to open it up and check for all the essentials, like tweezers, neosporin, bandaids in a couple different sizes, gauze, medical tape, etc.
List of Things to Do: Don't forget to make a list of potential things to do and see while on vacation. This way, you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying yourself and less time looking at your phone trying to figure out what to do and where to go.