Family vacations are a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you get to change up the mundane and do something exciting with your loved ones, on the other… well, the whole thing can be a mess. Just organizing everyone’s schedule to get away for a few days is a nightmare, and then even when you manage, there’s that one big demon that will make even the most patient of parents go insane: the packing.
There’s so much stuff that you need, and then even more stuff that you probably won’t really need, but you’d like to have there just in case. If you’re traveling with a baby, then it becomes even more difficult because all those diapers take up a surprisingly large chunk of space, and you need to have them on hand at any moment. But hey, we get it. We’re here for you. Let us show you a few packing hacks to make your life easier this holiday season.
Write down a list
Preparing things in advance is the best way to reduce travel stress. Make a list of things you want to bring and consult with your family members to see how much space you’ll have at your disposal. A week before the trip, take all the things you want to bring out of the closet and look them over. Pack only the pieces you’ll surely need, and forget about the idea that everyone should have a different outfit for every day unless you want to be lugging ten suitcases with you.
Pack a lot of layers
Layers are the best way to stay warm, and they’re very useful when traveling with kids. If they’re feeling hot, remove one layer, if they’re feeling chilly, put it back on. Huge, chunky sweaters take up a lot of space, and bringing shirts, undershirts, lighters sweaters and jackets gives you a lot more versatility.
Stock up on snacks and water
Snacks are the best way to keep your kids calm, and if your baby can’t eat solids yet, you should still have their favorite baby food on hand. Water is also necessary, especially if you’re traveling by plane, as the air inside can be drying.
Fill the diaper bag with necessities
Beside diapers, you want to make sure you have two spare outfits at hand, a changing pad, a bib, a sippy cup, some socks, diaper cream, and wipes. Lots, and lots, and lots of those – trust us, you’ll need them. To avoid making a lot of waste, get some biodegradable chemical free baby wipes which will be both gentle and safe for your baby’s skin, and also environmentally friendly.
Bring the toy your child hugs to sleep
It’s generally a good idea to travel during your kid’s bed time so they would sleep through the trip. Bring their favorite bedtime toy because they will associate it with sleep and it will help soothe them and put them to rest.
Pack fully-charged tech
While amusing your child with a tablet is not something you should do too often, it’s totally allowed when taking a trip. It’s just a very quick, effective way to keep them calm and entertain them while you have to focus on driving, and it will comfort them if they start getting cranky during a longer trip.
Roll instead of folding
Rolling your clothes actually takes up a lot less space than folding them, so choose fabrics that won’t wrinkle easily and roll up anything that you can. You’ll be surprised how much more space you’ll have.
Put socks and underwear in shoes
Shoes are usually the chunkiest things to pack, but to prevent them from eating up all the space, put your rolled up socks and underwear in them.
One last thing: remember that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t pack everything. If you forget an item, just relax and roll with it. It’s vacation time, stop worrying and enjoy your family!
Brigitte is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.