Prepping for a family getaway can be enough work to warrant a vacation on its own—from booking travel and lodging to organizing activities to making sure you have enough luggage for every family member. You’ll certainly be ready to take it easy when you’re done if you weren’t already. And while it can be tempting to put off packing until the last minute and simply empty the contents of your dresser into a big suitcase, there are so many benefits to making a packing plan and starting to pack early. First of all, it saves you the stress of worrying about all that you have to organize and shop for ahead of time, so you can start getting excited for your trip well in advance. It also ensures that when you finally hit the road, you have everything you need, saving you that last-minute trip to the mall during your valuable vacation time. While every vacation, and every family, is different, these are a few things that will likely come in handy during your summer getaway and help you to have the best vacation ever.
Before you get where you’re going, you have to think about the trip there. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, when your whole family’s along for the ride, people are gonna get hungry. We suggest bringing along a range of healthy, fun snacks for kids to enjoy en route, to keep you from needing to pull over to buy an unhealthy fast food meal, or having to buy overpriced airport food. Trail mix, fruit leather, whole grain crackers, and fruit are great choices to keep kids and adults full during your trip. It’s also nice to pack a sandwich or other easy lunch food if you’re going for a longer trip that will cross over with a mealtime, allowing you to have a wholesome option to enjoy together.
Once you get to your destination, having snacks on hand should also be a priority! Keeping a good assortment of healthy snack options in your vacation home or hotel room is a great idea, for those awkward in-between meal times, as well as any outdoor outings you embark on. It’s particularly good to have a healthy range of snacks on hand for trips to the beach or pool, where busy bodies get hungry fast under the hot sun. Packing along a cooler, as well as some wipes and napkins with you wherever you go is sure to keep everyone happy and energized for whatever you have planned for your family getaway.
Summer is all about getting outside and taking in the great outdoors, so we suggest making sure you have a well-packed arsenal of outdoor games to enjoy together. Playing family games together outdoors is a great way to bond with your immediate and extended family, and the endorphins from physical exercise help to make it an even better time. Team games like bocce, cornhole, and horseshoes are super fun and exciting for pretty much any age, as well as fun lawn and beach games like badminton and Kadima.
This brings us to sun protection, perhaps one of the most important items on the list of what to pack for your family getaway. Almost everything associated with vacation fun—from trips to the beach, to barbeques, to boat trips and lawn games—isn’t complete without a good amount of SPF, along with other forms of sun protection. A bad sunburn can ruin someone’s trip, not to mention the lasting effects on your skin, so take sunscreen and sun protection seriously. Beyond a good, waterproof SPF (ideally one with zinc oxide for maximum protection), there are loads of other ways to stay sun safe during vacation. You can armor yourself and your kids with sun protection swimwear to add an extra, super protective layer for time spent in the sun. Sunglasses with UV protection help guard the eyes against damage and look super cool at the same time. Keeping extra towels and cover-ups on hand for you and your children is a smart move too.
Outfit planning for a family vacation can be tricky—the line between being prepared and overpacking is a fine one. And while summer usually spells warm weather, any vacation always has its weird weather days, from a rainstorm to a sudden dip in temperature that leaves you wondering where you put your hoodie—if you even brought one. Our best advice? Layer. Packing a wide range of options for whatever temperature comes your way is always safest, from the thinnest summer tanks to your warmest, coziest sweatshirt for nights by the beach. Make sure you bring at least one pair of jeans and a nice top for yourself and your family for any nicer nights out.
While the nitty-gritty of packing for a family trip can get super detailed, we recommend you pay the most attention to these four things for ultimate family fun. Check out the links below for more tips and tricks from Lands’ End!