Packing is such a huge part of planning your vacation. Depending on where you are going, you may not always have access to purchase or easily obtain the items that you need for your trip. It can be stressful to ensure you have everything you need without bringing along too many suitcases and carry-on bags.
Here on Family Travel Magazine®, we have lots of packing tips and resources. These include product ideas, packing lists, and essentials to buy. Click these links to go to the appropriate section, and then click on that link for direct access to our full post.
Whether you travel occasionally or are a frequent vacationer, you’ll want to have the right travel gear. The best travel bags are lightweight but sturdy, have plenty of room for your belongings, and are easy to carry.
While it can be tempting to buy cheap pieces available at various discount stores, you won’t want to be stuck at your destination with a broken bag. So definitely do your research in advance and buy a highly-rated bag.
Space-saving is obviously important when you pack your suitcases. However, you’ll also want to make sure that your clothes arrive unwrinkled, and are ready to wear. Using packing cubes is a great way to both save space and keep your clothes nice and unwrinkled.
Packing cubes can also be a great way to keep clothes organized. Whether you are packing for multiple destinations, or for multiple family members, you can use packing cubes to keep items separate.
If you are visiting several different hotels, you can keep your outfits separate. Then, you’ll only need to remove the ones you need from your suitcase.
Planning on flying for your next vacation? As airlines charge additional fees for bags (even overhead carry-ons now, in some cases), you’ll want to make sure that you effectively utilize the space underneath the seat in front of you. The best way to do that is to bring along the best underseat luggage and stock it with essentials.
Packing your carry-on bag – especially underseat luggage – is important. These are the items you’ll have with you at all times, so it’s important to include your valuables in this bag. In addition, it’s a good idea to pack any items you’ll want to have with you on the flight – like headphones, a book, and portable chargers.
Sling bags are one of the most underrated travel accessories. If you’ve seen them, you may think they are too small or aren’t convenient. However, they can be a great way to keep your hands free while carrying some essential items that you need for the day.
Sling bags are versatile and can be worn both in the front and in the back. They are typically smaller than a traditional backpack, so you’ll have less room to pack things in. However, that also makes it more lightweight and easy to carry. They are perfect day bags for a full-filled day of sightseeing.
When I was younger, we were able to just toss our belongings in our many suitcases, lug them to the airport, and then store them in our hotel room. Now, with airlines charging steeper baggage fees (including heavy bag charges), it’s important to be efficient when packing your family’s suitcases for vacation.
This post offers some of our favorite travel packing hacks for packing your suitcase. These hacks include things like rolling your clothes, using packing lists, and how to pack liquids. Just remember to do the same things on your return trip so that you can fit everything back into your suitcase.
When the TSA started restricting liquids that are carried on a flight, it made it more challenging to pack those essential toiletries like toothpaste, contact solution, and skincare products. Suddenly, it was important to look at the sizes of these items and to make sure they fit in a quart-sized bag.
Frequent travelers may find it more convenient to have a separate set of travel-sized toiletries pre-packed and ready to go for any vacation. If you do that, it’s still essential to look through your supplies before you go to make sure nothing is empty or expired.
If you don’t have TSA Precheck, you’ll want to make sure that this one-quart bag is located at the very top of your carry-on bag. That way, you can easily pull it out once you arrive at the security checkpoint. It will need to go through security separately.
The first day of a cruise can be a little stressful. Boarding the ship, going through security, completing the security drill, and making sure your bags make it on the ship are just a few things you need to get through before your vacation begins.
If you are checking bags, you’ll definitely need to make sure you have the right items with you in your carry-on bag. These may be different items than what is in your flight carry-on bag, so you may need to make a few adjustments before you embark on the ship.
Be sure to bring valuables, as well as a change of clothes and anything else you’ll need for that first day.
I love visiting the Caribbean, but I always spend some extra time packing before I go. Items can be more difficult to find, and island prices are typically more expensive than what you’ll pay in the US.
This is where a good packing list is important. Prepare in advance so that you make sure everything you need is listed, and then you can include it in your suitcase.
Remember that you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in the water and in the sun. So, pack plenty of sunscreens. Extra bathing suits are also a good idea so that you don’t have to put on a wet suit.
Visiting a water park for a day trip or during your vacation? This post contains a list of what you’ll want to consider packing so you can make the most of your trip.
Before you go, you’ll want to check on a few things about the water park you are visiting. You’ll want to know what items are prohibited, as well as which items (like lifejackets, for instance), are included.
It’s also important to know if the water park offers locker rentals. If everyone in your traveling party goes on the slides and in the pools, a locker is the best way to keep your valuables safe. Otherwise, you’d have to leave things on a chair and risk losing them.
While we typically focus on family travel here, we do know that parents often have solo business trips. Packing for those trips can be completely different. Although you’ll only have to worry about packing for yourself, you probably won’t have extra time to go shopping if you forget something.
Before packing, look over your conference or convention agenda. There may be some specialized events and activities requiring specific attire. It’s good to know about that a few days early in case you need to purchase new clothes.
An all-inclusive resort vacation can be one of the most convenient vacation types. You won’t need to worry about leaving the resort for meals and activities, so once you arrive, you can settle in.
Like any Caribbean and international vacation, it can be difficult and expensive to buy items that you’ve forgotten at home. So, it’s worth spending the time upfront to make sure you have everything you need.
You’ll want to review the resort’s website to see if there are any particular dress codes for the included restaurants. That way, you’ll have whatever items you need.
I could spend every day at the beach. It’s such a relaxing, quiet place to enjoy the outdoors. But, I burn easily, so it’s really important that I have the right products to keep me safe and comfortable for my beach days.
If you are vacationing at the beach, it’s a good idea to see what amenities are offered at your vacation home or beach hotel. Many offer beach chairs and umbrellas, and if they do, you won’t have to worry about packing them yourself. Rentals may also be available if your hotel doesn’t offer them on property.
If you are flying on your family vacation, you’ll need to carefully pack your family’s carry-on bags. I’ve had checked bags get lost a few times, so it’s a good idea to pack the essentials in a bag that you keep with you.
Carry on bags should include valuables and essentials, like medication, money, and documents. But, you’ll also want to have any items you’ll need on your flight, including snacks, games, books, and headphones.
This guide also helps with choosing the best carry-on bags for your trip.
I absolutely love the convenience of cruising. On that stressful first day, you can unpack your belongings in your stateroom, and then leave them where they are. Even though you’ll be visiting multiple destinations, you’ll sleep in the same room every night.
While cruises do offer shops, they are only open when the ship is at sea. Those inconvenient hours make it difficult to purchase anything you need when you need it. But, staterooms are also small, with limited space. So overpacking isn’t ideal either.
This post contains ideas of what to bring on a cruise.
Touring Europe often involves a lot of walking. Comfortable shoes and lightweight bags are essential. You won’t want to worry about washing clothes while you are there, so you’ll need to have enough outfits for your entire trip. In addition, you’ll need to worry about the voltage and type of plug, since they are different from what we have here in the US.
Read our Europe packing list post for information about what to bring.
If you are new to cruising, a 4-day cruise can be the perfect length. It’s enough time to feel like you are actually on vacation, but not too much time. Four days is the perfect amount of time to evaluate how you actually enjoy cruising.
Planning a four-day cruise? Here is our packing list with the essentials you need to pack.
Are you planning a quick getaway? While a weekend getaway can be an easy trip to take, you’ll want to make sure you’ve packed everything you need. You don’t want to have to waste any time going from store to store to find the things you need. This post can help you organize and pack what you need.
Packing for a theme park day is a delicate balance. You won’t want to pack too much but you also want to make sure you have everything you need. We have recommendations of things to put in your day bag, as well as downloadable packing lists for longer theme park vacations that involve an overnight stay.
Whether you are checking a bag and want essentials in case something is lost, or are hoping to avoid checked luggage altogether, you may need to include liquid toiletries in your carry-on luggage. But there are important TSA rules you’ll need to follow – starting with a carry-on quart-size bag.
If you follow travel news, you’ve probably heard tales of lost luggage, especially in European airports this summer. It’s, unfortunately, become common enough that it’s important to strategically pack to make sure you are prepared if your bags are lost or delayed. Here are some tips to help you be prepared in advance.
Packing for vacation is always a challenge, especially when you are flying for your family vacation. There are only so many things you can put in your bags, and with baggage fees, you’ll need to be an efficient packer. Once airlines started charging for checked bags, many travelers started using carry-on bags more. However, now those many also come with an added fee.
Wondered how things work with a carry-on vs. personal item? The requirements for these start with the FAA and TSA, although your airline (and even the specific aircraft you are on) can dictate the size requirement. Here are some recommendations for traveling with a carry-on vs. a personal item.
While AirTags can’t prevent your bags from being delayed or lost, they absolutely can help you realize they have been left behind, and can help you track their location along the way. I’m grateful we did purchase them because our bags were delayed in Portugal. Then they were delayed again on our flight from Boston to Orlando on Christmas day – when we were boarding a cruise the next day. We’ve got a lot of use out of them.
If you are planning a big trip where you’ll be checking bags (or even when you may have to check a carry-on), I definitely recommend considering AirTags if they are an option for you.