Packing Tips For Families

When you have kids, packing can be a nightmare.  If you are packing for a weekend trip or preparing for a long vacation, you should really check out these 7 really helpful packing tips for families.

1)  Make a list.  You can find the one I use here.  When I do a "final check" with this list, I always discover something I have missed.

2)  Pack good carry on bags.  You'll want to include healthy snacks, little treats, small toys/games, movies, special blankets/stuffies, water bottles, iPods/iPads, etc...  If you are flying, you will want to pack a pen for customs forms/baggage tags and some gum/suckers for the kids (to help with their ears when the plane is landing).  A change of clothes and bathing suits are helpful too... in case luggage gets lost or delayed.

3)  Pack a lunch.  I detest being forced to buy overpriced and junky food when on a road trip, spending time in an airport, or staying in a hotel room.  I always bring supplies (that don't need to be refrigerated) that I can use to prepare a simple picnic lunch.  I like unsweetened applesauce, bananas, bread, and peanut butter.  It's not fancy... but it's economical, tasty, and keeps my boys happy and full.

4)  Put together a bag of basic medical supplies.  I always pack Gravol, Benadryl, Tylenol, bandaids, a thermometer, ear drops, etc...  There is nothing worse than being in a strange city (with a sick child) searching for an all night pharmacy.  

5)  Use sealable storage bags.  I use bags to: keep organized, identify special outfits, isolate dirty items,  and hold wet stuff.

6)  Pack light (especially if you will have access to a washer and dryer).  Try to choose multi-functioning outfits and items that can be layered.  Be selective, and only take what you really think you are going to need.  Packing light saves baggage charges, makes it easier to transport luggage through the airport, and helps with fitting luggage into the truck of a rental car.

7)  Stay organized - Some people recommend rolling your clothes, but I prefer them folded in neat piles so I can see what I have and keep things organized.  I pack all three boys in one suitcase (divided into three sections).

I hope you find these packing tips helpful.  Vacations are a lot of fun, but it's important to be prepared.   What's your best packing tip for families?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)


  1. great tips! I will keep this in mind for our disney vacay next year

  2. Love that I can tell you're from Atlantic Canada in that "Snowsuit/hat/mitts" is on the list! I'm in NL and we rarely go anywhere without having hat/mitts/fleecy hoodies in the car - even in July and August! I sincerely hope you didn't need it in FL, however!

    1. :-) We didn't need them in Florida... but we definitely needed them on the way to the airport. lol

  3. great tips! The only think I can think to add is to remember to change up the games/apps on the iPad/tablet and make sure those electronics are fully charged.

    1. Definitely! Charging up the electronics is a must. :-)

  4. Your Tip Me Tuesday link is incredible this week! In fact, my readers would love to bookmark it in their craft rooms. Did you know that if you upload this blog post into your Tip Junkie craft room using at least 2 images, 2 steps, and blog post URL then Tip Junkie readers can favorite it which instantly bookmarks it so they can find it later? {Whoohoo!} ~ Laurie {a.k.a. the Tip Junkie}

  5. Helpful and wise tips! I think packing should always come with doing inventory. Our minds would often be so wrapped up in the physical stress of packing, that we tend to miss accounting for all the stuff we have. So we really should sort our stuff carefully first. Thanks for the share!

    Clay Delgado @ World Packaging Inc.

  6. Rsealable bags are definitely a great way to store/organize/smush everything in the suitcase/soft-side carrier.

    About the packing list: I like to keep the packing list online as a Google doc (formatted as checklist), and name the file according to the length of visit and season (e.g., "Packing list for Overnight Trip to NYC, Summer 2013" or "Packing list for Month in Chicago, Summer 2012"). That way, the list is easily retrievable, mostly done, and ready for a few updates for the same season next year.

    One thing I'd add to the list of things to pack is a small bottle of soap like Dr. Bronners, which has proven helpful for gas station bathrooms (they're not always stocked with soap!) but also when handwashing a few laundry items when we haven't packed an entire wardrobe full of clothes. Thanks for all the other tips! :-)


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