Traveling can present some of the best experiences you have with your family, but failing to pack the necessities can lead to inconvenience, expense, and ruined hours of time away. Before you load the car, spend some time reviewing all the travel gear you must take on your trip.
But let’s not pub the cart before the horse. This is going to be a great packing list for the vacationing mom, but getting the items together is only half the battle. You need a great way to transport those essentials. While you will use some type of standard luggage for your clothes and toiletries, you’ll have daily items that will leave the lodging with you and hang over your shoulder all day. Look for a bag that is going to handle nicely if the trip involves time on a plane; if it fits in the overhead storage, it will be close by when you need something.
Remember that soft-sided bags are preferable to hard-sided ones as you try to cram them in with the rest of your luggage, because they’ll only take up as much space as their contents. Make sure you use a bag that can be carried securely while you shift a wiggly toddler from arm to arm.
Okay, so you have that terrific bag and just need to know what to put in it. As you prepare for a trip, you will have some things to think of as universal travel needs and others that are trip-specific. For example, you need hair care products and essential medications for every trip. But there’s no need to take your tanning oil to Telluride or scuba gear to Branson family resorts.
Travel Gear for the Traveling Moms
Universal Travel Needs
These include basic health and beauty products and fundamental clothing like underwear, shoes, and sleeping clothes. Each person needs a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, shampoo, soap, and all the gear for fixing hairbrushes, combs, curling irons, rollers, mousse, spray, and gel. And don’t forget the gender-specific stuff; ribbons and scrunchies for the girls and shaving gear for dad and/or the older boys. Remember feminine hygiene items for those who need them.
Don’t neglect medicine, and be liberal! Pack for the medical needs you might have, not just the ones you already have. Anyone who’s on prescription medication needs to pack an adequate supply. Count doses before leaving and make sure a refill isn’t going to come due mid-trip, and if needed, check-in with the doctor for a fresh supply. (Make sure to transport all prescription medication in its original, marked container. It’s the law.)
Remember that anti-nausea and antidiarrheals, both prescription and OTC, should tag along. The adjustments to new foods and long hours on the road can cause problems. And speaking of driving, be sure to get motion sickness medicine for everybody. Get fever reducers for each age range in case an unwelcome ailment comes along. Also, be sure to check airline regulations on permissible bottle sizes of any liquids because they’ll end up in a security checkpoint trash can if they’re too big.
Once you get past the things that will go no matter what your destination, you need to think about the things that are required for your destination or activity. (Don’t worry; this section is shorter.) Branson, as a temperate area, can have some significant swings in temperatures. You could have wide swings in the thermometer’s reports each day, so review a good weather app to see what to expect in the Ozarks.
Think about your activities. If you’ll be swimming, get all the appropriate swimwear and be orderly in drying it each night. Get safe floating aids for smaller kids and non-swimmers. If a trip into the mountains is on the itinerary, bring the shoes and clothing you’ll need, and throw in a few little items for blisters or achy muscles. If golf gear is going along, check on borrowing a lighter bag to save space in the car.
Don’t pack yourself out of a night on the town. Find room for some dressier outfits so that a rained-out activity doesn’t ruin your evening. If your picnic in the park becomes dinner in the city, have some outfits along to make you comfortable with the change in plans.
Traveling is all about planning the best you can, and then being prepared for the surprises. You can’t always predict everything, but you can cover the bases with enough items to get you through. Plan ahead and have fun!