What to Remember to Pack for Your Vacation

by Tracy Kunzler

From the editor: Sometimes packing for your escape can make or break your vacation. The most important part of preparing is often what you pack and don’t pack for your vacation. Read on to find out Tracy’s suggestions to optimize packing. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

In all the chaos of packing for a family trip, it’s easy to forget some essentials. (We can tell you’re way more together than the people in that “Home Alone” movie, so we won’t list “ALL of your children”.) Below is a checklist of things to pack to help ensure your family trip near the water goes swimmingly.

What to pack for your vacation


Sure, the cute little gift shop at the resort or general store at the campground might carry it, but it’s likely to cost a lot more than you’d pay at home – that’s money you could spend on vacation beverages! If flying, be sure to pack sunscreen in checked luggage to comply with TSA guidelines and in a Ziploc bag to keep it from leaking onto your clothes. Don’t forget sunscreen for lips, too!


Seems like a no-brainer, but this is something we can forget to add to our bags after a long, gray winter. You’ll want to have a pair for every member of the family. Added bonus: You can check out that cute cabana guy without anyone being the wiser.

Swim Goggles

Speaking of eyewear, you don’t want to forget swimming goggles for your swimmers! If you need a few new pairs for the kids, get them goggles they’ll want to wear with bright colors or featuring favorite characters. The Disney and Marvel character themed swim masks have a see through scrim, so kids can see out, while everyone else sees the character – great for children who love to play pretend!

Two Bathing Suits Per Person

Bathing suits don’t always dry completely overnight – especially in humid regions. Getting into a wet bathing suit is no fun. Packing two (or three) suits per person eliminates this problem. If traveling by plane, each person should have one suit packed in a carry-on bag in case the airline misplaces some luggage. I don’t know about you, but I have to go through about 73 bathing suits to find one that will adequately camouflage “things,” and don’t want to go through the torturous process of swimsuit shopping on vacation!

A Few Towels

Yes, many hotels provide beach and pool towels, but the service is not always reliable. Also, their towels might be kind of scratchy and not washed as often as you’d like, so pack a few of your own to be on the safe side.

Beach Bag

It’s easy to forget to pack a beach bag, and not so easy to carry all your gear to the pool and shore without one once you reach your destination. A nylon type bag that rolls up to the size of a pair of socks in your luggage is ideal. It can also double as a carryon bag filled with souvenirs on the trip home.

Underwater camera

Capture the water-full fun of your spring break trip on a waterproof camera. If you don’t own one, borrow a friend’s or get a few disposable ones,like these ones from Walmart that will keep the kids happily occupied.

Carry-On Essentials

Finally, things you’ll want to have in carry-on luggage include:

  • ID, passports, copies of airline tickets and itinerary
  • Money, credit cards
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Distractions and entertainment for little ones (Including pacifiers or gum to help with ear discomfort that can come with changes in altitude on planes)
  • All prescription and over-the-counter meds for each family member
  • Contact lenses, spare eyeglasses
  • Hand sanitizer (make sure it’s 3 oz. or less) and some sanitary wipes
  • One swimsuit and one change of clothing per person
  • Snacks
  • Tissues

Additionally, it’s a good idea to have a photocopy of your complete itinerary, including your home address, all flight information, hotel addresses and travel dates in each piece of checked luggage. That way, if a bag gets lost in transit, airline staff will know where to find you.

Real Simple Magazine has a great travel checklist for young families. You can access it here.

Follow these tips, and you’ll have a water-full vacation! Remember to bring me something back! I’ll take a cute cabana boy!

Check out the links below for more of Tracy’s series on spring break travel and packing tips!


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Tracy Kunzler knows relaxing like no other. As a young woman, she studied relaxation at Radford University in Virginia and then devoted herself to a career in relaxation, earning her LCT (License To Chill) status early on. Consequently, she has developed a high level of relaxation skills few can match. Tracy lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia where she regularly relaxes and entertains beachside and at her backyard pool with husband Neil, their twin sons Cole and Duke (when not away at college), and their beloved mixed breed Bogie.

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