Essentials to Bring on Family Summer Vacation


Before you know it, you’re vacation bound! Get out the suitcases, grab your swimsuit and tell the kiddos to jump in the car. Zoom to the airport and you will be one of millions of moms this month who jump into summer vacation season. Whoo—hooo! Relaxation, plus some well-needed family fun times is just around the bend, over the woods, or through the clouds.

It’s that time of the year to love, laugh and linger at the beach or your favorite destination. As the family vacation season hits us, I wanted to remind moms of several essential items to pack in their carry on airplane bag, which is a mom’s secret weapon on both long or short plane rides.

Happy summer vacay!

My list of favorites:

1. A Fast $20. Kids always want something at the airport, so it’s helpful to have a quick $20 bill in the pocket of your carry on to buy a few {healthy} treats, but not go overboard. Make a game out of it and allow the kids to only spend that money. Or if your kids are bringing their own money and they’re under 12 then put their stash in bags in your carry on. That way, no one is losing their vacation funds.

2. Extra wipes. Kids seem to find goopy, sticky stuff whenever and where ever possible. A savvy mom will have a fresh pack of wipes on hand at all times. Also, the airplane tray that pulls down is always full of germs. It’s a great idea to give it a quick wipe for your kids touch it.

3. Earbuds for all. The worst thing ever on the plane is having a movie and not enough buds for everyone. Make sure to buy/collect some new ones and have them with you to dole out and then collect them so you can issue them out again.

4. Chargers. No longer is my charger packed away where I can get to it. We don’t need that stress of watching our battery drain, planning when we next need to use our phone, and estimating what’s left on the battery. (And doesn’t our phone always seem to drain on hyper speed when we feel we’ll need it most!) Bring at least two chargers (in case one doesn’t work, get’s lost, etc.) and make sure one is in your purse, at all times. It’s a “whew…” to take off our mental to-do or worry-about list. I take the rest of the chargers for electronics, group them together in a bag, and pack away. Easy to find and ready to use when we need them.

5. Gum. Kids hate when their ears pop, so make sure your gum supply is ready to avoid any mid-air tears from pressure changes. Most of us don’t chew that much gum anymore, so it’s an easy item to forget. And if you can plan in advance, there is great tasting healthy chewing gum that you can order online or find at a local market.

6. Nuts and Raisins. Why buy all that expensive, often unhealthy food that the airline sells like cookies and chips. Instead, bring a homemade trail mix packed with almonds, a few chocolate chips and raisins. It will be a treat, an energy boost, plus a much better way to snack.

7. New Chapter Book or Comic. Kids bored on the plane? There’s nothing like something brand new to read that will get their attention. Save it for the trip, so it’s a surprise and then watch them get into it. Make it a contest to see who can read the longest.

8. Deck of Cards. A long plane trip or car ride is the perfect time for fun card games, which will really pass the time and double as a family activity.

9. Cheat Sheet Package. Once you land, you don’t want to be searching for your hotel confirmation or maps. Take one of those big plastic sealed baggies and place in it a copy of your hotel info, all confirmations including car and hotel, plus a map of the new city or any directions you’ve printed out in advance. You can later use that bag for wet swimsuits.

10. Your Inner Child. Hey, moms, you’re on vacation, too. Pack something for you in the bag from a guilty pleasure book or magazines to your favorite CDs for the car or plane ride.

Enjoy! Have fun! That’s what vacation season is all about! And, as always, safe travels!

Photo courtesy of Piper+Claire

Written by - Vicki Reece