5 Packing Tips for a Relaxed Family Trip

September 20, 2019

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Last weekend was an amazing one, catching up with family and friends.  We traveled to Long Island to celebrate my godparents 50th anniversary.  They hosted a lovely event on a party boat cruising Long Island Sound – and everything was perfect – the weather, the company, the food.  I caught up with cousins and other distant relatives I hadn’t seen in years – since the last family wedding.  We laughed, ate good food and reminisced about our shared childhood.  The happy couple danced to their wedding song which of course was none other than “The Irish Wedding Song”  

There were speeches and toasts – what stood out most to me is how much these 2 individuals have loved each other and how hard they worked together to create an amazing and joyful life.  They truly are an inspiration. I reflected on my own marriage and speculated as to what it would look like after 50 years – I hope I am as fortunate as they have been.

Anyway, the weekend was amazing – but the party was about 7 hours from our home so it involved an overnight stay and suitcases.  As I was packing I realized I should share some of my favorite packing tips with you.

Use Packing Cubes – they are worth the investment

Packing Cubes – I love packing cubes.  They keep everything organized and neat inside my suitcase.  If one of the kids opens the bag looking for something clothes don’t’ go tumbling everywhere.    Prior to owning packing cubes I would divide the clothes into grocery bags to achieve the same organization and separation – definitely not as pretty and the clothes got much more wrinkled.

Organize by Day – Not by Person

Pack by Day and Activity – When I pack suitcases I don’t pack by person.  I make packets for each day or activity and place a complete outfit (including socks, underwear and accessories) for each person in the same packing cube.  The first time I did this was when we went to Disney World. I may have done it because I wanted the kids to coordinate in photos – but it worked.  When we are at our destination I pick out the cube for that day and everyone’s clothes are ready to go.

packing cube

Keep Shoes and Accessories Together

Shoe Box – often when we travel I wear my Toms and bring sneakers and that’s it – no fancy footwear needed.  But, when we are going to a special event like this party or a wedding I have to bring along dress shoes.  In my closet I keep all my shoes in plastic shoe boxes from the Container Store.  When it is time to pack – I simply pull down the box and put it in the suitcase.  Next, I add any jewelry, hosiery, special lingerie or other accessories to the box.  Then, all the things I need to get dressed nicely for the event are contained in one box.  It is so much easier than messing around with separate bags.

Pack Pajamas Last

PJ’s on top – I always always always pack pajamas on the top of the suitcase – along with a fresh pair of underwear.  There is nothing worse than getting to a destination late at night with three kids and searching for pajamas.  They are exhausted, I am cranky. We all just need to go to bed – so by keeping the pjs at the top of the suitcase I make sure that happens quickly

pajamas in suitcase

Carry Your Toothbrush

I keep our toothbrushes in my purse – There have been way too many times that we have arrived at a hotel and I pull the whole suitcase apart looking for the kids toothbrushes.  They are almost always one of the last things that we pack (since we brush our teeth after breakfast before we leave) so they get shoved in so many different places – I have found them in my husbands laptop bag, with the toys, even in the cooler.  Wherever they get shoved.  Not anymore – I always take all the toothbrushes and put them in my purse or tote that stays with me.  Just like the PJ’s I want to be able to find those toothbrushes as soon as we check in to the hotel.

toothbrushes in purse

There are millions of different packing tips and tricks out there but these are the 5 simple tricks that have helped me simplify traveling with my crew.  We do a lot of traveling and in future posts I’ll share how I pack the car, keep the kids entertained on long rides and what we do for car snacks.  In the meantime if you have any other great packing tips please share them with us.

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