Family Packing; Courtesy of Aleksandra Suzi; Courtesy of
All Ages

9 Packing Mistakes You’re Probably Making

See recent posts by Judy Koutsky

When it comes to family vacations, so many things are out of our control. But if there’s one thing we can control, it’s packing correctly. Here, we’ve compiled some of the most common packing mistakes parents make, and what you can do to avoid them.

Packing List; Courtesy of Amazon

1. You’re not creating a proper packing list.

Create personalized packing lists (one for yourself and one for the kids) that you can use for an upcoming trip and future vacations, too, updating your lists as needed. This way, you won’t forget those small, but very important items, such as goggles for the pool.

Kids' Pajamas; Courtesy of Amazon

2. You’re packing for your kids.

Tell your children how many pairs of shorts, shirts, undies, socks, and pajamas they need to pack. They are more likely to wear (and rewear) clothing they choose. Plus, it gets them excited for the trip! Have kids who are unsure about packing? Check out How to Teach Your Child to Pack Their Own Bag for Vacation.

TravelWise Packing Cubes; Courtesy of Amazon

3. You’re putting everything in your suitcase right away.

Instead of throwing everything in your suitcase immediately, lay everything out on the bed. It’s easier to see how you’ve packed too much (or too little). Once you’ve decided what to pack, consider placing everything in packing cubes to create more space. We recommend the EZPacking Starter Set and eBags Ultralight Packing Cubes – Ultimate Packer 7pc Set.

Kids' T-Shirts; Courtesy of Amazon

4. You’re packing uncomfortable clothes.

It sounds simple, but often that cute, but itchy dress that you love but your daughter hates gets packed, as do those shoes that look nice on your son, but hurt after an hour. Kids (and you!) won’t want to wear uncomfortable clothes more than once (if that). So pack that favorite T-Shirt that your kid wants to wear every day. You may hate seeing it on him for the hundredth time but there won’t be a fight when getting dressed that day, which will keep you in vacation mode.


Women's Black Dress; Courtesy of Amazon

5. You’re packing too many clothes.

Pack exactly enough outfits for the days you’ll be on the trip, plus one nice shirt/top/pants or dress for each family member. If you’re concerned it won’t be enough, pack clothing items that can easily be mixed and matched, suggests Angel Tuccy, frequent family traveler and author of Lists That Saved My Life. “Make sure the kids’ skirts, pants and tops are interchangeable—two pants and two tops should make four outfits,” Tuccy says.

Related Article: 10 Most Versatile Travel Dresses for Stylish Moms

Kids' Slip-On Shoes; Courtesy of Amazon

6. You’re packing more than two pair of shoes.

Pack a pair of sneakers you can wear for activities such as hiking and biking, and a pair of sandals or slip-on shoes for the pool, a nice dinner, and everything else. Wear your sneakers on the plane to save space in your luggage, and let the kids wear their no-tie shoes if it’s easiest for them.

Stuffed Animal; Courtesy of Amazon

7. You’re packing too many comfort items.

It might seem like a good idea to pack lots of comfort items to get kids to sleep in an unfamiliar place, but these can quickly become bulky and cumbersome. Instead, pack a smaller stuffed animal or one comfort item for the kids to snuggle.

Pampers Diapers; Courtesy of Amazon

8. You’re packing diapers and pullups.

Contact the hotel pre-trip to see if there’s a grocery store nearby, or better yet, use Amazon Prime to have diapers, wipes, and other essentials quickly delivered to your destination.

Pantene Shampoo; Courtesy of Amazon

9. You’re packing toiletries.

If you’re staying at a hotel, there’s no need for toiletries, as most hotels provide shampoo, conditioner, soap and/or shower gel, and body lotion. Others provide even more than that, such as shower caps, cotton balls, and Q-tips. If you have a favorite kids’ shampoo or shaving cream you absolutely need for your trip, consider having it shipped to your destination—again via Amazon Prime—to save space in your luggage. Don’t pack hair straighteners or curling irons, either, suggests frequent traveler, Alexa Amador. “Embrace your natural locks,” she says.

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