When my children were small, I would put together an entire outfit for each of them for every day we planned to be gone. I would include panties or undershorts as well as socks for every outfit. I would either put each outfit in a clear plastic bag or wrap and label them so that I could tell at a glance which child it belonged to and what it was. If one had an accident of any sort (like falling off the dock into the water), I had extras of everything for every child.
I'd roll each piece of clothing instead of folding anything, and surprisingly, they'd get less wrinkled, no matter what type of fabric. After being worn, I had white 13 gallon bags that were for dirty clothes only, and if we were in a place where we could do laundry, I'd include small plastic baggies of soap and dryer sheets right in that bag.
Those bits and pieces of organization was worth all the time it took me to put it all together. Shoes were all placed in clear plastic bags too, and they were never returned to their bag without being cleaned of all loose dirt etc. They went back into the bags ready to wear again.
It takes a bit of planning and some work before you leave home, but I found if I worked it all out on paper first, I could finish packing so much faster.
Each child had his or her own plastic bag with toothbrush, small toothpaste and any other personal toiletries they wanted to take. Into each of those bags went a clean washcloth to soak up any water or spilled liquid that escaped. I can't tell you how many times those washcloths saved me from having a wet luggage interior.
It's nice if every child can have his or her own small piece of luggage, but that's not always possible and unless each child is old and responsible enough to keep up with their own things, it just ends up making more work on Mommy and Daddy.
I still do most of the packing when I'm around my grown children and they are getting ready to take short car or long plane trips. They love having all their outfits right ready to put on. If they do change their minds about what goes with what, at least, everything is in clear plastic bags, and easy to see. I still roll everything and thank you to all those people who invented the new fabrics that don't even wrinkle. Be sure to make a current list of what is no longer allowed on airplanes so that when you start to pack, it's right there in front of you so that no mistakes are made.
Traveling, especially with children, can be made so much more fun if you plan carefully and prepare to take life a little easier. Don't forget that you're there to have fun too. It's also your vacation, so be ready to enjoy yourself.
Be sure to take along all prescriptions and an Emergency Kit of whatever you're allowed to carry on board if you're flying. You can add to it when you reach your destination if you need to.
By (Pookarina) Julia from Boca Raton, FL
I used to pack for my 2 girls the same way. The bags made everything easier. This also taught them how to pack and now at 13 and 16, they pack for themselves. I have never had a problem with them doing this themselves, once they saw how to pack the right way.
Now with the flight restrictions and charges for baggage, my girls also know how to pack one carry-on for a week of travel. If there is a laundry where we are going, even better.
This summer we are going on a 10 day trip and then a week long cruise. We should have just one carry-on each for each vacation. Our 10 day trip will include a laundry for part of our vacation, so we really don't need to worry about running out of clothes. The key is mix and match clothes and packing correctly.
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