If you’re like me, packing is the least fun part of any trip. But if you pack wisely your trip can be so much more comfortable – no more lugging 20 pounds of extras, no more missing important items you forgot. Here’s a checklist you’ll want to keep handy while you pack for your family spring break trip:
Things to entertain kids on the trip
- Let each kid choose a few special toys to bring. Reserve a small backpack for each kid that they can fill with whatever toys they want for the trip.
- Invisible ink coloring books are another must. They will prevent your car (not to mention the walls and carpet of the hotel room) from getting messy!
- Games can help break up long stretches too. If your kids are old enough to read, try Games on the Go – each set includes Auto Bingo, Tic Tac Toe and License Tag game pads. You can also make up simple games – my family likes to call out Walmart stores and giant food (billboards, posters or anything else that has a picture of larger-than-life food). Each one is worth a point, and whoever has the most points at the end of the day wins.
- New toys can work wonders. Whenever I took family vacations, my mom stowed away special toys like sticker books and small action figures, and every morning she doled out a new gift. The toys don’t take up much room but the excitement and surprise made us eager to see what was in store for that day.
- Small snacks and drinks can make a big difference when your kids have to wait another hour before you stop for dinner. Try to avoid salty ones that will make them thirsty, which in turn will make you have to stop for extra bathroom breaks.
- Music (whether you bring CDs for the car or iPods for everyone) can also help ease the tension. Load up with everyone’s favorite songs and take turns. Check visitors’ websites too – some destinations have podcasts to tell you all about the places you’re going to visit.
- Download a few apps onto your smartphone or tablet. Games and flashcards are a great way for kids to entertain themselves quietly.
Spring Break packing list
Besides entertainment, you’re going to need the right clothes. Check the forecast for your destination a week or two in advance to avoid surprises. Here are some things you will probably want no matter where you’re traveling for spring break:
- Clothes for the trip – pack just 1 outfit for each day, and try to pick clothes that don’t wrinkle easily. Shorts and t-shirts work great.
- Swimsuits – bring a couple of suits for each person, so you don’t have to wear the same clammy wet suit every day.
- A light jacket – even beach destinations can get chilly at night.
- Comfortable shoes – everyone should have at least one pair of comfortable, broken-in tennis shoes. Dress shoes are optional – try to limit them to one pair per person since they take up a lot of space in luggage.
- Luggage tags – Mark everyone’s bags with personalized luggage tags. If you’re traveling by plane and you plan to check old luggage, you might take it a step farther and buy colored duct tape (available at hardware and discount stores) to mark your last initial on all your luggage. When all the other brown bags come off the plane, you’ll know just which ones to grab – and the people around you will often spot this and grab them for you too!
- A journal or small notebook – You may not find the time to write about all your adventures every day, but jotting down a few notes will make it easier to remember your adventures and write more about them after your trip.
If you’re flying this spring break, don’t forget to check on airline guidelines – especially for liquids. Many airlines now charge a fee for each piece of checked luggage, and you never know for sure if your bag is going to make it to the same place you are, so it may be better to carry on your luggage if possible. If you do check your bags, be sure to bring a small carry-on full of essentials like deodorant, medicine, passport and a change of clothes just in case your main bag disappears for a day or two.
If you follow these 3 top packing tips, you’re sure to have a great spring break:
- Keep your family comfortable.
- Keep them entertained.
- Make a packing list.
Above all, pack as light as you can and leave some room in your luggage for souvenirs. After all, you’re going on spring break to get away from your everyday life, not bring it all with you, right?
Do you have any other suggestions for what to bring on spring break? Share them in the comments!