The summer vacation is a true American tradition, and one that can not only help your family members bond and spend quality time together, but that can also create memories that will last a lifetime!
Of course, one of the keys to a successful, stress-free, and fun family vacation – whether it’s a road trip, a month spent at Grandma and Grandpa’s, or a stay in a lakeside cabin in the Adirondacks – is remembering all the essentials.
That’s why it’s important to create a packing list well in advance, and stick to it when the time comes to fill the suitcases!
Read on for some tips on packing for the family vacation:
Pack for the Vacation You’re Planning
This might seem like a no-brainer, but the first step in creating your packing list is to consider what you’ll be doing while you’re away from home.
It’s unlikely that you will need fancy dresses and jewelry while staying at a dude ranch.
If your trip involves a lot of walking around a large city, make sure you have comfortable clothing – and shoes!
For a beach vacay, everyone will need at least two swimsuits, as well as flip-flops, tank tops, and shorts.
It can be tempting to pack everything but the kitchen sink “just in case”.
That’s a fine strategy if you’re embarking on a luxury honeymoon, where you’ll have bellhops to tote your bags around, but not so practical for a family of four.
Pack Items That Will Do Double Duty
One of the best packing tips is to bring along multi-purpose garments and other items.
For example, a buff-style headscarf can serve as a headband, head covering for visiting religious spaces, eye mask, or even a tube top. A large, lightweight scarf is similarly versatile.
Also consider clothing that goes easily from one environment to another.
Take rompers for girls, which are cute and comfy for sightseeing and long travel days, but can be dressed up for dinner at a nice restaurant.
In terms of footwear, choose supportive slip-on shoes. These can be kicked off at the beach or in the car, pair well with slacks or shorts, and can carry you through museums and tours.
Pack Travel Clothes in Suitable Fabrics
Another aspect of vacation packing involves choosing clothing made out of the right fabrics.
There are several qualities that you need to look for, particularly if you won’t have access to laundry facilities.
The best fabrics for travel clothing offer:
- Wrinkle resistance. Some wrinkles are par for the course, but opting for certain fabrics can help your family avoid looking too rumpled.
- Packability and lighter weights. In the summer, you’re not going to be toting heavy wool sweaters anyway, but do choose lightweight and scrunchable garments. (You know the kids aren’t going to roll their clothes!)
- Multi-day wearability. That linen shirt you have to iron before each wear? Leave it at home. Go for darker colors that won’t show stains. Odor-resistant fabric is also a traveler’s (or mom’s!) dream.
- Quick-drying. You may get caught in the rain during an hours-long day trip away from home base. Or you may need to rinse out those shorts or undies in the hotel-room sink. Either way, fabrics that dry quickly can be very convenient.
Pack What You Can, But Don’t Drive Yourself Crazy
Lastly, forgetting your son’s favorite hoodie is unlikely to ruin the entire vacation.
It might not be ideal to wear sneakers rather than sandals en route to the pool, but you’ll survive.
In fact, these small goofs might become family jokes or even family legends!
And remember that even if you’re nowhere near the local mall, next day Amazon delivery can solve your packing-related problems in a pinch!
Do you have any tips for how to efficiently and effectively pack for a summer trip? Let us know in the comments!