How to Pack for Family Vacations – Tips from a Quad Mama
Traveling with kids is no easy task, but the memories are sooooo worth the days of packing and planning. Many of you have hounded requested me to share some tips we’ve learned as we’ve traveled with quadruplets. I by no means feel like an expert, but I’m happy to share some of our experiences that could be helpful to you as you prepare for your own family vacations.
Make a List and Check it Twice
I created a Packing Checklist on Google Docs for our first family trip to Nashville, TN and I’ve kept adding/deleting/revising it ever since. There’s some great ones online too. Travel Mamas has a comprehensive list of “What To Pack for Babies and Toddlers”. I used the All Ears “What to Pack for Your WDW Trip” packing list for our recent family vacation to Walt Disney World.
Research Your Destination
Prepare for pit stops along the way by using Mapquest or Google Maps. Get familiar with your lodging destination via their website and the amenities provided before you start packing – this saves room in your luggage when you do not have to pack items like towels, hairdryer, crib, etc. I like to check out sites like Trip Advisor to help plan out the activities in advance, so I can pack only what is necessary. And be sure you plan for unpredictable weather with appropriate clothing!
Head to your local Dollar Tree for road/flight distractions. The boys LOVED the travel doodles that I found in the dollar section of Target. Your local library can be a free source of travel entertainment with new books and DVDs for the road. Check for sales on diapers, wipes, and other supplies to stockpile for less.
I really find packing to be easier by using large Ziplock storage bags and packing for each day of the week. (Thanks to Suz for teaching me this trick long ago!) For instance, for Tuesday I would pack 4 shirts, 4 shorts, and 4 pairs of socks in one zip lock, press out all of the air and label it “Tuesday”. This makes it sooooo much easier to stay organized and make sure you aren’t missing any important items. (Plus it helps Dad to know what goes with what and helps the getting ready for the day a much smoother process!)
I also prefer packing things in clear plastic tubs vs. suitcases. Things are easier to find and you can stuff more in each container.
Feed the Children
Make sure you pack plenty of snacks for the trip and even for your hotel stay. It saves a TON of money to have breakfast supplies and snacks on hand, and keeps you from making extra stops. There were multiple times when our boys started hitting a wall and I would get out a snack and it was like a restart for the entire van. Having breakfast supplies and in-between meal snacks helps stretch your budget and your time. Things I liked to have on hand: Bottled Water, Granola Bars, 100% Juice Boxes, Peanut Butter, Bread, Cereal, Crackers, Fresh Fruit, and Yogurt. Serious Eats has some great travel snack ideas as well.
Alright it’s YOUR TURN! What are some of your best travel tips and packing ideas? Or what other questions can I possibly assist you with? I recently posted some tips for travel safety that you might want to check out before you hit the road!
Safe Travels and Happy Memory Making!