One of the trickiest things about family travel can be making sure you have everything you need on hand – without racking up high baggage fees or lugging heavy suitcases. But with some attention to detail and advance planning, you can lighten your load and make sure your family has everything they need to have a great vacation.
Start your packing by making piles of all the clothing you think your family will need. Then remove at least one item from everyone’s pile – even your own. When planning what to bring, a good rule of thumb is to have more tops than you do bottoms for every member of your family, since the former are more likely to get dirty. And have everyone wear their heaviest clothing and shoes on the plane, and you’ll give yourself even more room in your luggage.
Although babies and toddlers require lots of changes of clothes, one advantage you have is that their clothing is small. You can also reduce the load you have to pack by to finding a hotel that offers some of the equipment you’ll need, such as: portable cribs, high chairs, baby bathtubs, and booster seats. Some hotels such as the Four Seasons in San Francisco will arrange to have diapers, formula, or other baby items on hand when you arrive – just let them know what you need.
It is possible to pack only carry-on bags when traveling with kids, especially if your children are older. Remember that when you’re flying and have purchased tickets for your children, each one of you can bring a small rolling suitcase, a backpack, and a baggie of toiletry items on the plane. Children as young as six can carry and wheel their own luggage.
Divide your family’s belongings among the allotted luggage and baggies, and let your children pack their own books and toys in their backpacks; they’re less likely to overload their bags if they have to carry them. Another way to make sure you have enough room? Stay in a hotel offering laundry facilities like the Affinia 50 in Manhattan (which also offers family-friendly amenities such as movie nights, bath toys, and custom walking tour guides) and plan to do a load or two in the middle of your stay.
Even in the winter, make sure you check the hotel website to see if there’s a pool, because your kids will surely want to swim in it. Some hotels like the Lodge at Vail in Colorado have heated outdoor pools that are available for use year round. Make sure to pack swimsuits and also a few plastic bags to put them in if they’re still damp when you leave.
So what if you forget something? Remember that many hotels will replace items that you didn’t bring along. The Hotel Monaco in Baltimore can provide you with many toiletry items as well as crucial items for families, like stain remover, sewing kits, super glue, nail clippers, and night lights.
When it comes to packing for your family, your buzzwords should be light and smart. You’ll be surprised at how little you actually need to have a great time on the road with kids.Google+