Practical and Easy Packing Tips for Families Around the Holidays

I have a routine of things that I prepare before our family goes on a trip.

When you’re traveling with family around the holidays it’s extra important to make sure that you have everything in order to help reduce stress and last-minute purchases.


1. Think Through What Activities You Will Be Doing During Your Visit

Will you be ice skating, sled riding, or playing in the snow? Will you have an evening out when you need to be more dressed up?

Processing each day’s activities can help you remember the additional items that you will need to bring like accessories and equipment.

2. Check the Weather Forecast

Weather can change really quickly and you don’t want to be caught off guard with a drastic shift in temperature without the proper clothing.

One of my favorite weather forecast apps is What The Forecast because it’s sassy and sarcastic.

3. Don’t Forget Your Camera

Depending on your vacation style you may also want to bring your GoPro along with its accessories in addition to your regular camera.


4. Make a Master List

Lists are a lifesaver because as much as I want to believe that I will remember something when it pops into my head, I still get distracted and end up forgetting it if I don’t write it down or pack it immediately when I think about it.

5. Charge Those Batteries

I charge all of my external battery chargers the night before a trip. It’s always nice to have an extra power bank on hand in case you need it to keep your phone or other electronics charged.

6. Pack Earbuds

Let’s be honest, it’s highly unlikely that everyone will want to listen to or watch the same thing during a long car ride. Make sure that everyone has earbuds just in case.

7. Put the Gifts in a Designated Place and Wrap Them a Few Days Before You Leave.

Will you be bringing gifts with you on your trip?

Make sure that you add them to your master list and place them near the door in the final stages of packing so that you don’t forget them at home.

8. Pack Snacks and Drinks

This can help reduce your stops, expenses, and tantrums. I like to bring protein bars, a starter travel mug of coffee, and extra water.

Make sure that you have extra baby wipes (even if you don’t have babies) and bags stored in your vehicle for easy trash removal between fill-ups at the gas station.


9. Don’t Forget Roadtrip Comforts

Do your kids have a favorite stuffed animal or do they like to sleep for the majority of the trip?

When my kids were younger I let them pack a small backpack with toys and stuffed animals that they could keep near them during the drive.

If you have teenagers, make sure that you have blankets and travel neck pillows packed and you will reduce sibling fights the longer they sleep.

I like to work while my husband drives because it reduces our fighting about our different driving styles. I pack my laptop and use a car charger that I can plug my laptop into.


10. Use Individual Packing Lists

There is a lot of freedom in letting each family member gather their items for a trip. If you are a control freak I also understand that it can be a little scary to let go. This one comes down to your kids’ ages.

For years I would pack everyone else and then pack myself last which would mean a super late night making me exhausted before the trip even began.

I give my kids detailed instructions for what to pack (5 shirts, 3 pants, underwear, 5 pairs of socks, etc) and I inspect their selections before we zip up their luggage.

It’s saved me time and sanity.

11. Make Sure That You Do Laundry Earlier in the Week

Most people tend to pack out of their clean laundry baskets because those clothes are worn more often.

Save yourself some stress and get a head start on laundry a few days before your trip so that you don’t have to wait for items to dry late into the night before you leave.


12. Use a Separate Piece of Luggage for Each Family Member

This reduces fights and keeps everyone’s clothing from getting mixed up and thrown in some random pile when you arrive.

13. Use Packing Cubes

I love packing cubes because they help me keep my items more organized and help me fit more items in my suitcase using less space. I like to keep my shirts, pants, and undergarments in separate in packing cubes to make outfits easier to put together.

14. Have a Designated Dirty Laundry Bag or Packing Cube

There is no sense in mixing dirty and clean laundry back in your suitcase.

My simple hack is to put a few inches of colored duct tape on one of my packing cubes to distinguish it from the dirty clothes bag. You can use one bag for the whole family or designate one per person.

15. Pack a Designated Dirty Laundry Bag

This is a lifesaver when you need to freshen up clothing, a bathroom, or even your vehicle. Seriously, pack it!

16. Use Travel shoe bags

It’s important to keep shoes separate from the rest of your clothing. If you don’t have official travel shoe bags you can always repurpose a plastic bag or a recyclable one.


17. Have Separate Toiletry Bags

My husband and I can sometimes share a toiletry bag on trips because we are typically sharing the same bathroom.

My boys need to have their own because they will most likely have another bathroom and also need to keep their own items separate.

I also suggest giving your kids their own toothpaste because if they have to look for yours they might try to slack off on their oral care routine and you don’t want those extra holiday treats to be lingering in their mouths.

18. Stock Up on Toiletry Items Before You Go

For road trips, I opt for regular size for most of my toiletry items.  For example, it’s more cost effective to use a larger size of toothpaste and you can never be too prepared when it comes to your mouth! 

With some preparation, your family road trip can be prepared for almost any adventure!

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