Posted by: Amy at | June 5, 2009

Organized Packing for a Family Vacation

Traveling with a family is always an adventure.  Whether you are driving or flying, there are a few tips that can help make the packing less stressful and the trip more enjoyable for everyone.

  • Make a list of what each child needs to pack.  Give the kids the list and a grocery bag to put their stuff in.  Then you can place their bags directly into your suitcase (after a quick mom check, of course).  The bags help give division to all the stuff, especially small things like socks and underwear.  Upon arrival at your destination, the kids can each pull out their bag and put it in their spot.
  • Give each of the kids one backpack to take with their travel “entertainment”.  All kids, ages 4 and up, can be responsible for packing their own backpack (although feel free to make a few suggestions).  If you are flying, it is important to also make them responsible for carrying their own backpack.  This frees you up for more important things.  This also works well for driving trips.  It keeps the kids from over packing and reduces the clutter in the car.
  • Let the kids have a few snacks in their backpack.  I like to give them a couple of snacks with a time span in mind.  I will then let them know when they get more, for example, ” These are your snacks for the morning.  I have more for you for after lunch.”  This gives the kids responsibility for managing their food and it helps reduce the excessive eating because of boredom.  Sometimes, one of my kids will eat a snack before we are out of the neighborhood.  It is pretty funny…until they get hungry later.  They do eventually learn if you are consistent.  My favorite thing about this is that it takes me out of the food loop.  I don’t have to hear these follow words “Mom, I’m hungry”, “Mom, can I have…”, “Mom , will you pass the…”
  • Ziplocs come in handy if your kids are packing a collection of small things, like Hot Wheels or Littlest Pet Shop, in their backpacks.
  • If you want to be really organized, you can have the kids make a list of what they put in their backpack.  This list can be helpful when you are leaving a destination.  My kids always tend to be scrambling to find their stuff and it seems like they always leave something behind.
  • If you’re driving, try to limit the movies.  They do help pass the time but remember we have a beautiful country that the kids will never see if they are always watching a movie.
  • Bring maps and stop at the visitor centers along the way.  The kids can explore all the brochures and learn about the area, even if you’re just passing through.  Try to make time to enjoy the simple things along the journey.  Sometimes those are the best memories your kids will have of your trip.  A couple of years ago, we had a long layover in an airport that had people conveyors.  The airport wasn’t crowded so we made up a game and had fun racing on the conveyors.  My kids still talk about the fun they had at that airport.  Such a simple thing.

I know some of you are thinking, “Did she really say one backpack per child?  She must be kidding.”  I am serious.  You do not need to pack so that every minute of time is filled with something.  Kids get a lot out of traveling, and one of the things is learning how to entertain themselves when they are bored.  It is also pretty fun to listen to the kids and the great family conversations that start up in the car. 

Have great family trip this summer.  Remember to be safe  and make time to have fun along the way.  



  1. […] Organized Packing for a Family Vacation « ASK AN ORGANIZERJune 6, 2009- Here are some terrific tips from a professional organizer for getting your kids involved in vacation packing. […]

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