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Travel Packing Tips

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It’s frustrating to be on vacation realizing that you forgot to pack something important. After many years of not doing it right, I now have packing down to a science for my family. Here are my best travel packing tips:

Packing List App

I have an ongoing packing list for every trip. I use an app called Packing Pro ($2.99). It will help you create a list by inputting your destination, weather and number of people going on the trip. It makes a list of suggestions and then you can add or delete as you wish. My favorite part about this app is that I can add items as I think of them. I am often on the go when I think of something I want to bring. My phone is always with me so I can easily update my list.

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes have been a lifesaver. I found them many years ago at eBags.com, but there are many different brands now available. Each member of my family has a different color bag. After you fill the bags, they fit neatly in your suitcase. You can take the bags and put them right in a dresser at your hotel and then pack them back up again just as quickly. Everyone’s clothes stay organized and we never feel like we are living out of a suitcase.


Minimizing what we bring has been the most important aspect to packing for us. There are a few trip exceptions, but for the most part we are a carry-on family. It has made life so much easier.

  • Each member of my family brings a backpack filled with activities and snacks plus a carry-on suitcase.
  • We always wear tennis shoes on the plane because they take up the most room in our suitcases and pack the less bulky shoes.
  • Don’t be afraid to do laundry if it is convenient. It takes a lot less time for me to throw a quick load of laundry in then waiting at baggage claim or trying to manage all of the bags.

Packing Staples

There are staple items that I always pack:

  • Plastic bags in assorted sizes are great for storing a snack, wet clothes or treasures.
  • I have a small medicine kit with pain reliever for the kids and adults, upset stomach relief and cough medicine.
  • I also always bring a travel folder where I keep any printed confirmations or schedules, tickets, maps, and coupons. If you are visiting attractions go to their websites before you go on vacation and check for coupons.

We Forgot What, Mom?

If you do forget anything, an app will help you find a store to replace it. The app FastFood (free) uses your location to show you drug stores, malls, banks, gas stations and restaurants nearby. The front desk at the hotel usually has toiletries, but if you forget medication or another necessity, you will have to know where to go to replace it. Have a plan, minimize, and you can enjoy your vacation!

Getting ready to travel? Find more packing tips.

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Tricia lives in Phoenix with her husband, 14 year-old daughter and 12 year-old son. She is a special education teacher for elementary students. Her family’s favorite memories…

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