Family vacations can simultaneously be fun and tiring, exciting and exhausting. If you want your family vacation to fun-packed, you will need to meticulously plan all the minute details to make sure you haven’t missed out anything. Even if you take care of everything, still there are chances that something will catch you unpredictably; but most likely, your vacation will go smooth if you have planned beforehand.
The packing process can be daunting, especially when being done for the whole family. A lot depends on the duration of the trip, mode of transport, number and ages of travelers, and distance to be traveled. Obviously, packing for a family of 3, traveling by car, visiting grandparents in the next city for a weekend getaway will be drastically different from packing needs for a family of 6 going on a 3-weeks international trip by airplane.
Here are 12 tips that will make your vacation relatively stress-free:
1. Pack light snacks for the way: Even if you have had a heavy meal before departure, it is advisable to carry some light and healthy snacks with you. Whether your family has toddlers or teenagers, once the kids are bored, they will ask you for something to eat. If you forgot to make something, you could grab some snacks from a nearby store.
2. Carry something to keep kids occupied: Depending on the age and interests, you can carry something that will keep the kids busy during the travel time. It could be anything from stuffed toys to storybooks, from worksheets to coloring pages. Depending on your mode of transport, you may not be able to carry a lot of stuff, but it doesn’t hurt to have one or two things to keep your kids from complaining of boredom.
3. Always have a water bottle with you: Whether you are stranded in an airport queue or stuck in highway traffic, anyone in the family can get thirsty while traveling. In order to avoid negotiating with your family members to wait for the next stop to get a water bottle, always carry one with you.
4. Plan, pre-book, and research: If you are traveling alone or as a couple, you can easily manage delays, change in plans or whatever fate sends your way; but, traveling with family is different. Taking 3 hours to reach an amusement park only to find out that it’s closing in 15 minutes can be disastrous. Always pre-book, buy tickets online, research your options, explore available activities, plan your trip – do all this before you leave the house.
5. Do not forget your phone charger or cable: With smartphones, everything is accessible; but once it runs out of battery, you won’t be able to navigate to unknown places, listen to music or do a million other things – needless to say, it leads to a lot of frustration. Even if you know you will find charging spots everywhere, make sure to carry your own charger with you. Same is applicable for your laptop or any other gadgets that you are taking with you.
6. Double-check all appliances before leaving the house: While you will probably be leaving the refrigerator on, there are many other appliances in the house that you should turn off before going on a vacation. If you accidentally leave the air conditioner on, there will be an unwelcome spike in the electricity bill. Or, if you neglect a leaking hot tub, you might come back to a flooded house. Always double check to confirm if everything is the way it should be.
7. Take your camera with you: Whether it is a usual weekend trip or a month-long exotic tour, family vacations are supposed to be memorable times. While you can always take pictures with your phone, why not carry your camera with you and capture memories of your family during the vacation.
8. A small pack of baby wipes will be your best friend: Baby wipes are not just for babies; they are a lifesaver for family vacations. Whether mom has a makeup mess or dad has spilled the coffee, the baby has a dirty face, or the elder sibling has thrown something on the car seat – baby wipes come in handy for everything.
9. Pack a few extra plastic bags: These come in handy as you can use them to put anything. Whether it is the leftover food from kids or wet clothes, dirty shoes, or diapers, you can use extra plastic bags to carry anything without worrying about the stained item soiling your seat or luggage. The best thing is that empty plastic bags can be stuffed anywhere as they occupy minimal space, and they don’t cost a lot.
10. Carry slippers: They can be easily tucked in any side of a luggage bag or under the car seat. They can be used to relax your feet during a long car journey, or even at the destination when you get tired of roaming about in your sneakers all the time. Once again, light-weight, easy-to-carry, and inexpensive.
11. Check the weather forecast: Thank you to technological advancements, now we can check weather forecasts for upcoming days (and even weeks) for any specific location in the world. Traveling as a family requires extra caution, so it is advisable to check the weather for destination and pack accordingly. This will reduce the likelihood of unexpected surprises that can ruin your plan.
12. Be ready for a mess-up: Family trips rarely go as planned. Most of the times, things get out of hand. Do not panic or get trapped in a bad mood. Accept the mishaps as a part of the whole deal and try to accommodate changes in your planned trip according to the change in circumstances.
Now you are all set, have a memorable family trip!