Going on a vacation? Planning for that vacation is part of the fun. Packing for that vacation is the part of the planning stage that I love.
Ok, I was once a girl guide. The motto, Be Prepared still sticks with me. To be prepared for anything. On vacation, I often pull out from my bag all sorts of things when necessary. I used to carry a swiss knife with me as it is so handy, until I got sick of setting up alerts at airports and having to submit to body checks, just because of that swiss knife in my bag.
# 1 Roll your clothes
Your luggage can only pack in so many things. How are you going to pack your clothes, your kids clothes and your other travel essentials into that one bag? How do you get your clothes in without too many ugly wrinkles. Fold each item lengthwise, then roll it tightly. Pack in the large items first, then stick the smaller rolls into the empty spaces. Pack in the sock (also rolled into little balls) last as these can fit into the small spaces in your luggage. Oh, and stick to fabrics that do not wrinkle easily. Cotton polyester mix is great for a warm vacation while wool is great for a cold vacation.
# 2 Bring along some detergent
Your kids are going to run, play, sweat, get dirty over and over again during the vacation. At least that's what mine do anyway. Every family vacation calls for a bag of detergent. When I can find detergent bars, I'll bring those along, packing them in only when dry, to avoid messing up my luggage. When I can not find detergent bars, detergent powder would have to do. Either way, every night after we get back to the hotel, if we are going to stay in that same hotel for more than 1 night in a row, I'd wash everyone's clothes and dry them before I go to sleep. That way, we do not run out of clean clothes halfway through the vacation. After washing the clothes, I'm wring them as dry as possible and hang them up to dry. To make them dry faster, I'd drape them over the lamp shades and leave the lamps on when we go out. The heat from the lamps would dry the clothes faster than normal. Be careful you do not burn the clothes though. Keep the clothes off the bulbs.
# 3 Bring a tiny light
What I find handy is a tiny little torchlight. I use that to find my child's lost toy in the dark. On holiday, that mini torch is very useful at night. I even carry one in my purse when I go to the movies. We lost the car keys before and I used the mini torch to help me find them again. When it is dark, light the way with your torch. When the children are bored, you can entertain them with your mini light and fan. Blow a paper toy you fold with the fan. Tell stories with shadows cast by that light at night.
# 4 Bring non spillables where possible
Ever opened your luggage only to find that your lotion bottle exploded? Happened to me a couple of times. Everything in the suitcase is all messed up. A rotten way to start a vacation if you ask me. Instead, use single dose skin care, bring along solid lotion for your body and bar soap to bathe with. If you can find a shampoo bar that would be great. At least these would not mess up your bag. Dry them before you pack them into their containers or plastic bag and then put them in your luggage.
# 5 Bring your camera. You would want to capture the happy moments on your vacation. If you are going to the beach, bring along a water proof camera. If you can, bring along a digital camcorder so you can capture your vacation in motion and even turn that into a home movie.