Planning regular family vacations is important; whether it’s a trip that’s been in the works for a while or an impromptu getaway you’re sneaking in before fall really hits, you’ll want to be prepared. No one wants to hear the dreaded, “I’m bored!” Read on for five things you should take on your vacation to make the most out of it.

  1. Sun Protection

Let’s get the must-haves out of the way first. Even if it’s begun to cool down in your destination spot, sun protection is key—whether it’s the middle of summer or the dead of winter. Keep yourself from doing the dreaded first-day-sunburn that causes you to stay indoors for the next three days. Get wide brimmed hats for you and the kiddos, and remember to reapply sunscreen often. Don’t forget those peepers! Invest in sunglasses for women, men, and kids and keep everyone’s eyes protected from the sun’s bright rays.

  1. Books, Games, and Toys

While your trip will probably involve a lot of entertainment (think mini golf, waterslides, and snorkeling), there will inevitably be some downtime, too. Come prepared! Bring that beach read you’ve wanted to tackle for a while. Board games are great for whiling away that time post-pool, pre-dinner, too. If you’re staying in a place that has a yard, bring balls and other toys for early morning and late-in-the-day play sessions. If you’re headed out on a weekend trip, bring along school work that they can get done in the car.

  1. Road Trip Round Up

We’ve all heard those four dreaded words: “Are we there yet?” If you’re going on a road trip, you need to be prepared or be prepared to lose your ever-loving mind. Kids get bored easily after 50 games of “I Spy”. Make sure to pack your iPads, DVDS, or other tablets, as these are handy for keeping your kids busy for many hours. If you prefer to have them unplug, consider some free printables with things like “Road Trip Bingo” and state checklists. Either way, you’ll be glad that you can have some peace of mind and perhaps some tunes of your choosing in the front seat.

  1. Airplane Sanity Packs

Much like with road trips, traveling with kids on an airplane can present challenges, especially if they are young. Make sure to bring plenty of healthy snacks and get your drinks once you get past security in the airport. You’ll be surprised by how much eating alone can pass the time. Of course, a portable DVD player and headphones will be your best friend. Books, coloring books, and even Play-Doh can be used to distract kids during your hours in the air. If you roll out the latter on those airplane trays, we suggest throwing it away and buying a new container for the flight home. Those airplane trays are loaded with germs! When those wheels finally hit down in your destination city, you—and your fellow flight mates—will be so glad you came prepared.

  1. The Right Clothes

Do your homework on the climate of the city or cities to which you’re traveling. Is it hot all day and all night? Even then, will you be in a lot of air-conditioned places and need sweaters? Will you have access to a washing machine? Will you be moving around a lot and need to pack light? These are all things you need to ask yourself, as there truly is an art to packing. Bear in mind what you want to keep in your carry-on (valuables and things to pass the time) versus what you want to pack in your checked bag. There is nothing worse than getting to your destination and feeling unprepared for the weather or formal dinners. Of course, there is usually a chance to shop but it’s best to be prepared in advance, especially if you already have a lot of ideas for your travel agenda.

 

Hitting the road or flying the (hopefully!) friendly skies before the summer ends? Pack by using this list and you’ll have a trip to remember.