While family vacations are loads of fun, packing for them can be a complete nightmare. If you are going away for more than a few days, odds are your kids – and maybe even you – will be tempted to take every possession along. But over packing can mean extra money if you’re flying and less car space if you’re driving. Besides the fact that someone has to lug all that stuff around. Packing light means that you won’t put your back out carrying your suitcase and you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation more.
If you want to pack lightly, you will have to do some prep work before you unzip your suitcase and start dumping things in. Where will you be going? How long will you be going for? What type of activities are you planning? Solidifying the answers to these questions before you start packing will make the process go a lot easier and a lot lighter.
Make a list, then narrow it
Make a list of everything you want to take with you. Then cut that list in half. Sounds hard, doesn’t it? But odds are the first version of your packing list includes a lot of things that you don’t necessarily need. And once you’ve narrowed your list down, stick to it. Don’t go back and add more items.
Pack the night beforehand
Nothing adds weight to a suitcase like last minute packing. Pack your suitcase or bag the day or evening before when you have plenty of time to pay attention to your packing list. If you need to be at the airport for 7 am and don’t start packing until 6 am, you’re going to be in a heap of trouble. Not only will you over pack, but odds are you will forget essential things that you’ll need.
Help the kids pack
Let your kids come up with their own packing list, but make sure that you help them with it, especially if this is their first vacation. When deciding what they should or shouldn’t take, make sure to explain to them why. This can avert a huge fight and help them to learn how to better pack on future trips.
Keep the bags small
It’s inevitable: when packing we tend to fill our suitcase as full as it can go. So switch to smaller suitcases and bags for everyone. By doing this you will automatically lighten everyone’s load.
Leave “may need” items at home
When packing there can be a strong inclination to pack not only necessities, but also things that you may need. You may need a heavier coat if it gets cold. You may need umbrellas for everyone in case it rains. You may need that killer black dress in case you hit the town. But really? Unless you are travelling somewhere where there are absolutely no stores, leave your may needs at home. If the temps drop while you’re on vacation or you get caught in a downpour, you can always pick up a jacket or umbrella.
Only pack clothes for a week
Even if your family will be gone for vacation for two or three weeks, only pack enough clothes for one week. And pack light clothes that will be great for layering. Wherever you are going there will be laundromats. And most will even have laundry service, which means that you won’t have to do the laundry yourself
Going away on vacation doesn’t mean that you and your family will have to become pack mules, carrying heavy suitcases and bags around with you. By being mindful and following the above tips you’ll be able to pack lightly for your trip.
Kara Taylor is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about her travel and adventures. She is currently promoting a Choice Hotels free night promotion, so check it out!