Whether you’re someone who starts packing your family suitcases a week ahead of time or waits until the last minute, these hacks will ensure that your favorite dress doesn’t get wrinkled and you have plenty of room for souvenirs. Here are 15 tricks and tips for packing for whenever you hit the road again for a family vacation.
Be sure to check out of other family travel tips and city guidebooks.
Packing Like A Pro: Family Packing Tips & Hacks to Save Space
Most kids will need a bit less than you would expect at times including toys for a toddler. Layering lowers the necessity to pack warm clothes for children. When it comes to packing tell children to pack and carry their own clothes. They know they have to carry the clothes for themselves and hopefully will pack lighter. Check out these space saving tips and tricks for your next family trip.
Keep masks and hand sanitizer at hand
You will want to pack essential items like head coverings and hands sanitizer in luggage and checked goods. Keep them in a convenient pocket so you can grab the next mask, wipes or sanitizer whenever you need them. You’re going to have a face cover in your baggage and a hand wipe in your bag.
Pack with a Purpose
If you know you’re getting off the plane and going straight to dinner or a meeting, plan your outfit and put it into your suitcase last. That way, when you arrive, you won’t have to dig through everything else to find it. Putting the items you’ll need asap in easy to grab spots will save you time.
Bag Your Liquids
You know the drill: Stash any liquids you want to keep in your carry-on bag in a separate, clear bag so you can easily pass through security. Not sure which liquids you can bring on the plane? Remember TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule: Products must be 3.4 ounces or less and they all must fit in a one quart-size bag.
Bag Your Shoes
I like to bag our shoes with nice shoe bags . Our shoes are covered with germs and are just dirty. I find bagging our shoes helps keep our clean clothes from getting dirty.
Also try to go lightweight with shoes. Ditch the heels you might wear for one fancy night out and instead opt for dressy sandals that are comfortable enough to wear while sightseeing as well. Or pack a pair of all-purpose sneakers that can easily go from day to night.
Corral Your Jewelry
The last thing you’ll want to do when you arrive at your destination is detangling your jewelry. Kathy Roberson from Travel + Leisure says, “Buy ‘snack size’ plastic bags for packing necklaces. To prevent tangling, give each one its own bag and fasten the clasp.”
Roll Your Clothes & Pack the First
This is one of my favorite vacation packing tips and tricks – the best way to prevent creases and make the most of your space is to use the roll method. Lay tops facedown, fold in the sleeves and roll from the bottom up. For pants, put the legs together and roll from the waist down. Once you’ve rolled everything, place pants and tops in your suitcase before shoes and accessories; then, fit in other oddly shaped items like hair tools.
Use Packing Square
We love to use packing cubes when traveling. These blocks keep your suitcase organized and stack together easily — no more trying to fit in oddly shaped items like a puzzle. Plus, the durable cubes are lightweight and thin so you won’t lose any precious suitcase space.
Pack Your Steamer
Despite your best packing efforts, some wrinkles and creases are inevitable. Pack a steamer like the HiLife Steamer or a travel iron like the Steamfast SF-717 Mini Steam Iron for quick touch ups.
Must Do Family Packing Hacks and Tips for Packing
Plan to Wash
You can wash and wear just a handful of outfits for the duration of even very long trips. If you’re staying in a hotel, call in advance to see if laundry services are available and how much they cost.
If a laundry service is unavailable carry a bar of laundry soap and wash soiled items at the end of the day in your hotel room sink. Now lay out a bath towel, put the damp item, that you’ve wrung out thoroughly, on the towel. Tightly roll and press the towel; it will absorb even more water leaving the item barely damp so that by morning if hung in a well ventilated place, it’ll be dry and ready to pack or re-wear.
Avoid Over Packing or Under Packing
I know this might be hard especially when kids are involved. When traveling with kids pack everything you’d like to take with you, and then remove half of it. This will help you figure out what you actually need for a trip and just bring the essentials.
Once you have empty spaces. You can fill empty spaces with dry cleaner bags (and fill them later with mementos from your trip). It’s important not to over-pack either it can make it extra tricky to repack when you’re going home — or heading off to another spot.
Have a Ready to Go Health Kit
I find that it is inevitable that someone will not feel well when traveling. For this reason, I keep a toiletry bag ready to go stocked with Band-aids, Neosporin, pain relievers, cold medicine, medicine for stomach trouble, itch relief ointment, antibiotics (you can ask your doctor for an emergency prescription before you travel), etc. If you never have to use it, all the better, but its great to be prepared. Check out this well equipped Health Kit for an example.
Dress for Comfort on Flights
Bring a scarf because they’re multipurpose. They can be used as a wrap or as a small blanket for kids. Bring a small toiletry container with eye drops, aspirin, as well as earplugs. If you’re in for a long flight dress for comfort. There is no reason to be dressed up when you’ll be sitting for awhile. You can always change into something cuter at the airport.
Know your airline’s baggage fee policy
A quick Google to Google before you pack will prevent you from stress. You can also invest in a cheap handheld luggage scale as this one for less than 15 bucks from Amazon. I suggest getting a compact carrying bag or other packing materials. I love the ease of mind. It allows me to carry much.
Use plastic wrap to avoid leaks.
A shampoo bottle that sounds tightly closed from inside a package somehow will ooze off your other belongings. Keep bathroom products and liquids separate from dry products. Also consider using plastic wrap as supplementary seal between the glass and the lid between them.
Keep some extra clothes in your travel buddy’s suitcase
Another small contingency plan is pack some extra clothes in your luggage and vice versa. So if both of you lost their gear, at most you have a spare device handy. If your bag is missing you know I’m sorry!
Get an extra tote for souvenirs.
Add a small foldable bag or small backpack into your luggage. This wouldn’t require much space on my way to my destination. You can fill that with almost anything you purchased while you were traveling. You’ll want to shop so bring this with you.
We hope you enjoyed these great tips for packing and hacks for your next family trip. No matter how you pack your suitcase, or how stressful the trip there might be, take a breath and enjoy the moment. Create those fun and memorable memories with your family.