Are you planning to travel this summer? Don’t forget these 8 summer travel bag necessities that will make traveling as a family a little better.
By contributing writer, Victoria
Summer time and family vacations just go together hand in hand.
Most of us have wonderful memories of family vacations when we were kids and can’t wait to create similar memories with our own families.
Whether it be the all-American road trip or a vacation where you travel by plane, vacations can create once in a life time memories. But they can also create a little stress, especially for mom as she usually packs for the entire family.
If you are traveling with kids, especially young ones, it can seem overwhelming to pack for all their needs not to mention packing for everyone else too!
Today I wanted to share with you 8 summer travel bag necessities that I think are not only important to have, but also useful and practical too.
I hope it helps relieves some of the stress as you prepare to pack for your summer vacation this summer or any time of year.
Traveling usually means that you are eating out a lot… if not all of your meals. While you try to eat healthy well balanced meals, chances are that most restaurants aren’t providing the most nutritious food options.
You can do your best, even enjoying your occasional “cheat” treats. However, if you are used to eating a mostly whole foods diet then chances are your digestive system might be in for a shock.
If you know that you probably won’t be able to cook or prepare many of your meals yourself, consider packing a high quality multivitamin or supplements for your family to consume during your trip.
I’m not a vitamin expert, but I do know that not all are created equal and most contain a whole lot of unhealthy and unnecessary ingredients (soy, sugar, gluten, artificial flavors, food dyes, etc.). So take the time to research and shop for some higher quality vitamins.
Also a good probiotic or magnesium citrate capsules will also help to keep you regular as you travel if you are prone to suffer from constipation or other stomach discomforts while traveling.
Natural First Aid Kit
Trust me there is nothing worse than traveling AND getting injured or sick. It’s just not fun!
I’m pretty accident prone myself which is why I always carry a small first aid kit with band aids in my purse, but I like to kick it up a notch when traveling. I’ve also been slowly switching out some conventional medicines to build a more natural medicine cabinet and first aid kit. Some things to consider including are:
- A variety of different size bandages
- Medical tape
- DIY Bug Repellent
- Essential oils – My personal favorites are Tea Tree, Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Lavender
- Antibiotic ointment
- Emergen-C packets
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Lip balm
As I have been on the move to re-stock our medicine cabinet and first aid kits with more natural ingredients, this post from Keeper of the Home is truly helpful, not to mention inspiring that she was able to pack a natural first aid kit to last her family of six a whole year as they traveled around the world!
Reusable Water Bottles
I have gotten in the habit of always having a reusable water bottle with me at all times to make sure I’m staying hydrated. I also make sure that each member of the family also has one too.
We fill our water bottles up every morning and take them with us. At night I wash them with soap and water (you might also pack a small bottle of dish washing soap too) so they are ready to go the next day.
If you are going to be traveling to an area where clean drinking water might not be available, be sure to leave room in your budget to buy some bottled water.
Plenty of Extra Underwear
Funny? Yes, but so practical!
If your children are young and newly potty trained, I bet you never leave the house without a few extra pair for them. But don’t forget about the other members of your family as well.
You can usually get away with wearing the same shorts, pants or skirts over and over for a few days, but underwear is not something that you normally want to wear more than one time. Also don’t forget extra socks and an extra set of clothing.
My rule of thumb is to always pack one extra set of clothing per person for an emergency, especially if you don’t have access to a washing machine.
Let’s be honest, road trips and the munchies go hand in hand! Many memories do I have of traveling in the back seat of our family car with some sort of snack to help occupy the time.
In truth most of it was junk food, and to this day I always think of one particular vacation whenever I see a bag of Cheetos (not something that I normally eat).
There is always room for the occasional junk food treat, but I think it’s also safe to say that we tend to feel better about feeding our children a little bit of a healthier snack.
There are plenty of healthy and delicious snacks that can be packed and travel well if you are traveling by car or plane. Some options include are:
- Trail mixes
- Granola bars
- Nuts and Popcorn stored in plastic baggies
- Fruit snacks (for a special treat)
- Freeze dried fruits
- Applesauce or fruit pouches (one of the greatest inventions in my opinion!)
- Multigrain crackers or pretzels
It’s nice to have some of these available especially if you are traveling by car. If you have a snack bag available, you are free to steer clear of some unhealthy gas station snacks. Once we get to our hotel room I usually like to track down a nearby grocery store and stock up on some fresh fruit and vegetables to have on hand too.
Activity Bags for Children
Putting together a small backpack filled with activities and toys to keep your children amused while traveling is a life saver!
It doesn’t have to be much, but taking the time to think through a few items that you know your child would love can really make a big difference in behavior while traveling.
Also, take it a step further and make it a theme based on where you are traveling. If you’re not super creative, Pinterest is a great resource for pooling ideas of all different themes together. Some frugal items to include:
- Coloring or activity books
- Picture or chapter books
- Favorite stuffed animal, doll or lovey
- Lap books or busy bags
- Handheld video game, music player or electronic device (if you are comfortable with your child using one and have set rules and limits in place)
I love the idea to include a special new pair of sunglasses or flip flops too. Make their activity bag a special surprise and don’t give it to them until the day you actually travel. Think of how excited they will be to discover what’s in their special bag!
Chargers and Batteries
While it may seem obvious to take your cell phone charger, don’t forget about other chargers for other electrical devices.
Does your camera or camcorder have a rechargeable battery or power cord? It would be heart breaking to miss out on special memories because the camera battery was out.
Are you taking your laptop, eReader, handheld game or movie player? While some might argue those would be good chargers to forget on a family vacation (and you are probably right) 🙂 sometimes they are a necessity. Any electrical device you take, make sure you have backup batteries or a cord charger packed in your bag.
Family vacations are such a special time no matter if you are taking an elaborate Disney vacation or just heading to a nearby campsite. With family vacations come memories, memories that you want to cherish and even preserve.
Cameras and video cameras do a great job at catching the visual memories, but don’t forget about those special moments that can’t be captured on film.
Take a memory journal to record highlights from the trip, funny sayings, or even those moments that didn’t seem funny at the time but you can’t stop smiling just thinking about it (I’m sure every family has at least one of THOSE moments, right?)
If your children are old enough, include a memory journal in their activity bags for them to fill out throughout the trip. You could even create a pre-made sheet for them to fill in the blanks such as, “My favorite thing about today was…” or “One funny thing that happened today was…” Again Pinterest can be a valuable resource with many ready made templates available.
There are many other things that you could pack but these are some that I think are necessities for our summer travels.