It's time for the annual family vacation! This year's destination? Spain! Spain is famous for its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant city life. The entire family will love Spain, with activities that will make everyone happy. When packing for a family vacation, all of the responsibility can seem to fall on you, especially if the kids aren't old enough to pack their bags or aren't yet at the stage where they would fill a bag with more than a unicorn and bathing suit. So how can you ensure everyone has what they need without driving yourself crazy? We've got your back with encouraging words, ideas about what you might need, considerations for your upcoming trip, and advice on what to bring for travel accessories.
When packing for multiple people, lists will be your best friend. Have a list for each family member, with the first general items everyone will need, like clothes, passports, tickets, and travel documents. Then, customize each list based on the individual's needs, i.e., medications, diapers, stuffed animals, medical equipment, etc. It doesn't hurt to have a pad of paper and a pen on your nightstand leading up to the trip. Your subconscious thinks of things and may wake you up in the middle of the night.
When it comes to clothing, rather than packing every item that comes to mind, opt for more versatile items that serve multiple uses, like shawls that can be used as scarves when going to dinner but then wrapped around for beach days. Not only will you want to pack light because of the sheer number of suitcases you'll already be carrying and paying for, but you'll want to leave room to bring home souvenirs from the trip so you can remember the adventure forever. If you're staying at a hotel or Airbnb, ask if there will be laundry access so you can wash clothes between wears, lending to your need for less clothing.
This item on our list depends entirely on the activities you and the family will do during your stay. For example, if you plan to do a rafting or biking day, plan to rent equipment there so you don't have to worry about flying it over with you. Other activities requiring equipment will be more leisurely if you rent the equipment there and keep your luggage light.
Flying with children is among the most stressful situations you will encounter during your travels, so planning is essential to make it easier on yourself.
Bring plenty of snacks. Otherwise, your airport bill will only keep climbing. Everything is overpriced in the airport, so bringing snacks and empty reusable water bottles will provide a great advantage for keeping the children happy and fed. This snack sentiment carries on past the flight — on your daily travels, always bring snacks and water with you in lunch boxes.
If the children are old enough to carry their backpacks, you can keep all their goodies and toys with them by packing a small bag for each of them. Be aware that you or your partner may be the ones carrying the bags (and children) in case of meltdowns.
Bring plenty of entertainment for the kids, including children's toys, iPads, electronics, video games, headphones, and easily transportable crafts like markers, paper, etc. Even though your kids might have caps on screen time in regular life, when on vacation, it's sometimes easier to allow longer screen time to keep them entertained.
Regarding your electronics and medical devices, you'll want to bring plenty of chargers so devices don't run out of battery. In Spain, wall outlets differ from the US, so you want to invest in some adaptors, as well.
If you're bringing fido, bring all the pet accessories that keep him happy and healthy.
The kids won't be their age forever, so capturing the moment is vital. The family vacation is perfect for catching photos you'll cherish for years. When the trip eventually ends, you will have pictures to remember the fantastic time you had and look back on fondly.
Have a plan for if you get separated from your children. Educate them on how to spot a safe adult to approach for help, and consider providing each child with an information bracelet that provides your contact information. It might be worth buying track phones for children old enough to carry a phone but don't ordinarily have one. That way, if you're separated, you'll quickly reunite.
With so much to do in Spain, you'll find that your travels are jam-packed and full of photo-worthy moments. The emphasis of the family vacation is having a blast together. It's an excellent opportunity for family bonding and strengthening your connections.