Most people think that the contents of a suitcase are determined by the destination. And while this is true to some measure (bikinis go in the bag for Hawaii, ski boots go in the one for Aspen), there are certain items that families should be sure to have no matter where they’re going on vacation. As any mom will tell you, band-aids, tissues, and a variety of snacks are a must for a day out at the park, and although a little more thought is required for some of the items needed for an extended trip, the basic idea is the same. So here are a few things you shouldn’t leave home without whenever you plan to travel with the family.
1. Medications (including shots). Whether you’re visiting a foreign country or driving to Grandma’s house for a week, keep in mind that you will need to get shots or refill prescriptions before you go. To that end, check in with your doctor plenty early to get any boosters, prescriptions, or notes you might need for your hiatus. If you don’t plan ahead, you may find your vacations plans foiled by missing medications.
2. An organized travel bag. Kids will need entertainment and snacks for long flights or car rides. Keep everything handy in one central location with a small piece of luggage designed for carry-on. It should have plenty of pockets for iPods, books, travel games, and granola bars to keep everyone happy. And it couldn’t hurt to get a bag that is somewhat expandable, in case you have to throw in a blankie or bear at the last minute.
3. Jackets. Even if the weather is predicted to be sunny and mild, it never hurts to take along outerwear for the whole family. You probably don’t need to pack parkas for summer travel, but at least bring hoodies for all the kids. They could come in handy as a pillow or blanket on the plane and if you get caught in an unexpected summer thunderstorm, you’ll be glad you planned ahead.
4. Identifications. Even if you’re not travelling overseas just yet, it couldn’t hurt to obtain passports for the entire family. It pays to take care of it early since it could be several weeks from the time you file until you receive your documentation. And regardless of your current travel plans, you’ll be glad you have I.D. when you need it, like if you decide to extend your vacation on the spur of the moment and take a quick jaunt up to Canada. Furthermore, it is not unheard of for kids to go missing in airports and hotels, so secure them with I.D. bracelets (or badges) that include contact information. And make sure you have current photos of everyone tucked in with your travel papers just in case you have to put out an APB.
5. Earplugs. There’s nothing worse than settling in for an oceanic flight only to be tormented by the sounds of crying babies and coughing passengers across the aisle. Make bring enough earplugs for everyone so you can start relaxing the minute you leave the tarmac.
Sure, there are other things you might want to add to the list (food, drinks, etc…which can be found anywhere), but these are the must haves for any journey, big or small. So choose your destination, pack wisely, and hit the road!
Sarah Danielson is a writer for Calgary Cheap Hotels, where you can find affordable hotels and great tourist attractions
Do you usually carry these items with you? Are there any others we might be missing? Please leave a comment with your thoughts, and remember to share and “Like” this post if you liked it!