Family Travel

Basics: 10 Things to Pack for Your Next Vacation.

Contributing Author April 21, 2020 1

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Before we get comments that we are on lockdown – we know – but this is about that vacation you’re still dreaming about. You know, the one that you plan to take the very second travel restrictions are lifted and you’re able to book the mask-strapped break of a lifetime. We know it could be some time before you can even think of booking a TRUE vacation, and that packing for that vacation is in the (possibly far-far) distant future. It doesn’t mean that you can’t plan. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t make lists and window-shop online until then.

Just set it right there! I’ll come out and get it in 2 days!

Summer may well be quickly approaching but this year is a year for forward planning and pretending to have a vacation. This is the summer you plan for the one that will make your 2021 explode with excitement. Whether you have a family or not, preparation is a must and packing can be the hardest part of a vacation. Let’s face it; is there any other time of life you pack 10 pairs of underwear for a four day trip? Of course not! (…and you should stop doing that). A vacation requires essentials to be packed in advance, and it’s not just the clothes, diapers, toys, and other knick-knacks you need to bring for the baby/kids, but those uber-nice Ray Ban glasses you you picked up to look more put-together than the other beach parents. With all of this in mind, we’ve put together 10 things that you might need to pack for your next vacation. So let’s make that list we talked about!


A Planner? Yes, A Planner.

Ok, maybe you’re not a “list” person but is your vacation really going to be complete without a book of lists? Lists can come in super-handy for accommodation options, ground transportation options,  clothes you’re going to pack, what you need to do before you leave home, the car – everything can to be noted down in lists. A vacation planner gives you the peace of mind that you need that you will get where you want to be and you can comfortably check everything off of the list, too…in an old-school nostalgic kind of way. A planner will also be a good place to note when you book and pay for something. Alternately you can keep track of all the fun and excitement in your phone by using Google Keep or a similar planning or notes app.

Road Trip Recreation

Okay, so really, these can be for a flight OR a road trip, but the sentiment is still the same. You need a box of goodies to entertain the kids if you are on the road or in the sky. You need to have pens and paper, travel games, a pack or two of cards, packs of bubbles, some small wrapped gifts from the Dollar store – all of these things are designed to entertain and keep the little ones busy. Keeping the kids entertained on the road is so important if you want to minimize arguments and fighting (ARE WE THERE YET?!?!). The bag of wrapped up toys and small gifts can be opened at half an hour intervals or whenever the kids gets bored with what they have…The point is to pace yourself so that you’ve got enough to last the full trip. Activities on the trip will make your time a lot less stressful!

Having the right stuff for road trips (esp. with kids) is the ticket to long-haul sanity.


Vacuum Bags

Have you ever considered how much space you really need? Using vacuum bags, you can compress the clothing that you bring with you on vacation and create more room for souvenirs and hotel soaps on the way home. We’ve done this a few times and it’s really helped on longer trips.

Band-Aids, They’re not Just Stickers

On a flight, you can bring some medical supplies and if you’re travelling with kids, it’s always wise to have a small First Aid kit with you. This is especially important if you are travelling by car. It’s the perfect accompaniment when you have stops on the way and your kids get a little rough at woodier rest-stops and on the beach. A First Aid kit also gives you a head start for managing bites if they become a problem on your trip.

Make first-aid less painful with a character-themed first aid kit.


New to us: Car Organizers

Here’s something we didn’t know existed until recently (we don’t drive much). If you are planning a road trip for your next vacation, you might consider a good car organizer to keep things from rolling around the bottom of the car. A car organizer could be the best purchase you make for your vacation. You need to keep hold of smaller items, including pens, crayons, hand sanitizer (lucky you!) and cash in case of toll roads. You could also pack snacks – you know what the kids are like!


In the hotel, it’s easy for everything you own to scatter through to every nook and cranny. Those cosmetic organizers you may use at home for make up are the perfect organizer for the vacation. You can make sure that you can track everything down once you finish to go home (boo!). 

Plugs & More Plugs

If you are truly dreaming of a far-flung vacation in distant destinations, you may want to think about getting the right converters for your chargers and other plugs. Check out the right shape you need for the country you are in vs the country to which you are travelling, and you’ll be able to keep the camera and your phone charged! For most destinations though, you’re probably going to be okay with a good all-in-one converter.

We’ve been caught more than once in far-flung spots without the right converter.

Pillows and Blankets

You won’t need pillows and blankets for the beds, but you will need to think of a way to stay comfortable on the plane. For grown-ups we still love the inflatable Obusforme pillow for it’s portability and ability to keep your head in place. When you have kids, these travel pillows are the perfect solution to keep them cozy throughout the flights. No one wants overtired and uncomfortable children to handle, so…don’t! Plan ahead to ensure your kids are comfy!

Arguably Essential

From the locks for the suitcases (and their keys), luggage scales and passport covers, you need all of the smaller essentials pre-packed and ready to go!

Write it all Down

If I were still in my more emotional 20’s, I’d still do this…but I’m older now and just don’t.  If YOU feel the desire to keep track of the emotional connections you make in different places, you need to go and choose a new journal. Make sure that you have enough space to fill in all your adventures. This next trip is the trip you take after the Coronavirus threat has lifted, so this is one that you want to remember.

Where do you plan to go for your next vacation once the lockdown is over? No matter where you go, pack the essentials!

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Contributing Author

General travel tips and advice on destinations, hotels and flights.

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