Travel: 9 Quick Tips to Make a Family Travel Routine

traveltips for traveling with children

Summer vacations are a great American pastime. We all love getting away, doing something different, and escaping our everyday lives and routines. However, just because you’re away does not mean that you can’t be organized. Having the same travel routine every time you travel will keep things calm and allow you and your family to enjoy your vacation even more.

How to Make a Family Travel Routine

1. Make a list of everything you need to pack. Instead of throwing that list out, keep it in your files and add to it when you return home, then you can use it next year to remember exactly what you need.

2. Plan your wardrobe around three pairs of shoes (think metallic). If you can pack one pair of shoes for all of your night time outfits, one pair of shoes for your daytime wear, and one pair of sneakers, you have simplified and lightened your load.

3. Consider traveling with pop-up laundry hampers for your whites and colors. Your hotel room/beach house will look much neater, and at the end of the vacation, pack the dirty laundry and fold up the hampers.

4. If you have clothes that are specific to a type of vacation (e.g., ski clothes), don’t integrate them into general clothing drawers. By keeping this type of clothing separate, you free up room in your drawers, and you save time packing by only having to gather supplies in one area.

5. Don’t be  the only one not taking advantage of the “2-for-1 special.” Do your research ahead of time. Often there are coupons and discounts available for popular attractions and venues that can be found through a simple online search. This is a great activity for your older kids to help you with.

6. For longer trips, ship toiletries to your destination one week in advance through an online drugstore, such as If you order enough, you may even qualify for free shipping. You’d be surprised how much sunblock, diapers, and shampoo can weigh.

7. Bring a jump rope. You can always find a corner of the airport, train, or bus station to let your child get rid of excess energy before boarding the plane. Your kids can also use it at rest stops when on long car trips. And you can use it to exercise if you can’t get to a gym.

8. Strike a balance between packing too far in advance and not waiting until the night before the trip. I always recommend packing the weekend before the trip. Generally, you're calmer then, and if there are things you need, you’ll have time to purchase them.

9. If you go to the same location every year, keep a running list of places that you’ve been and rate them so you make sure you hit your favorite spots every year and avoid the spots you didn’t enjoy.

How do you stay organized while packing and planning for your vacations?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

Barbara Reich is a professional organizer based in New York, NY. Her tough-love approach turns organization and clutter from chore to lifestyle. Barbara’s book “Secrets of an Organized Mom” will be on shelves in February 2013. To find more tips from Barbara, please visit or or @BarbaraReich.


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Barbara Reich is a professional organizer based in New York, NY. Her tough love approach turns organization and clutter from chore to lifestyle. Barbara’s book, “Secrets of an Organized Mom” hit bookshelves in February 2013.


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