Oregon tide pool

Pack ‘em up and move ‘em out!

We are leaving for Disney early next week, and I have some tips for packing up a family for a road trip or flight to somewhere warm and sunny!

I have different lists depending on the destination and time of year. For Spring break, I figure most families are going somewhere warm like Mexico or Southern California, so I’ll go with that.

Tips to make Packing for family vacation easier:

  1. A day or two before the trip, catch up on laundry and make sure all the clothes you want to bring are clean.
  2. The day before, go shopping for any special trip food/supplies you need.
  3. Sit down and make a comprehensive list of everything you think you might need. If you’re going on a road trip, you can bring a lot more than if you are flying.
  4. Check out this link for the Fly Lady packing list. This is a comprehensive list of everything you might need on vacation. What I did was copy it, personalize it to me by taking out the items I don’t need.  My list is at the end of this post.
  5. Moms: pack for yourself first. At least pick out your clothes, lay them out on the bed and pack your ditty bag with all your toiletries. Then your mind will be more clear to pack the rest of the family.
  6. Make a “kid list” so each child over 5 can pack their own things. Before my kids could read, I would make them a list with pictures. 4 shorts with a picture of shorts, and 4 t-shirts with a drawing of a T-shirt, and so on. I’d have them put their clothes on the bed then we would go through them together so I could make sure everything was clean! (At least we started out with clean clothes, right?) The fly lady has a printable list on her site. http://www.flylady.net/i/pdf/packing_coj.pdf
  7. Ask one of your older, organized kids to pack the food for the road trip, (or snacks for the plane) according to a list you provide. That way, you just have to answer questions about amounts, etc. Don’t forget water!
  8. Ask your husband/wife to gather the sports equipment, camping supplies, whatever they are comfortable with packing. One job my husband loves to do is actually pack the back of the van as tightly as possible. It’s like a fun challenge for him to see if he can fit everything without it falling out when we open the back hatch.
  9. Emergency supplies: One thing easily forgotten, but when you need it, you need it! For plane rides, I usually bring antibiotic ointment, bandaids, ibuprofen and Dramamine. If you are on a road trip, a bigger first-aid kit is a good idea, with an instant ice-pack, ace bandage, large bandages, moleskin, a bandanna, safety pins, etc.
  10. Don’t forget your dressy clothes! And your dress shoes—I don’t know how many times I brought my dress but forgot heels! A great tip for families with young children: put all the family’s dress clothes into one duffel bag so the kids don’t wrinkle them up while rifling through their bags for other clothes.

Fun day-trip destinations on the West Coast:

  1. Try out horseback riding on Bandon beach. I went last year, and as long as you can pick your day (wait for sun!) it is a lot of fun. http://thebandonguide.com/horseback-riding-on-the-beach
  2.  How about crabbing? The Oregon coast is a great place to try crabbing as a family, then enjoy the catch of the day! bestfishinginamerica.com/or-crabbing-bays-in-oregon.html
  3. Hike to a waterfall. In springtime, the waterfalls are amazing. Be prepared to get wet!  http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2015/04/oregons_best_waterfalls_for_sp.html
  4. Try out Bend for a couple days. Ski Mt. Bachelor and check out the artsy downtown area loaded with good restaurants and some music venues on weekends. For families that don’t ski, the lava tube caves are a great way to get underground. You can literally walk fully upright in the lava tubes for a mile! I’ve done this with my family and we loved it. Definitely the biggest cave I had been to. No claustrophobia at all!
  5. Easy day trip in Southern Oregon: The Oregon Caves. The temperature stays pretty even year-round. About 50 degrees. These caves are made of marble, and are loaded with stalactites and stalagmites. It’s a must-see if you live in the area. https://www.nps.gov/ORCA/planyourvisit/index.htm
  6. Mammoth Beach, CA. Imagine the Swiss Alps transported to California. This is what Mammoth looks like! It’s a great choice for a couple days of skiing. Snowshoeing and natural hot-springs are other adventures to be had in this beautiful spot.  http://www.sunset.com/travel/family-vacation-ideas

My adapted Fly-lady packing list:

A couple weeks before the trip: ask neighbor to bring in recycling, newspaper and mail, and arrange pet care.


  • ____changes of clothes in carry on chargers
  • ____sets of underwear (underpants, socks)
  • ____sleep shirts/pjs laptop, charger
  • ____dress outfits (pantyhose/tights)
  • ____shoes (sneakers, sandals, dress, slippers, boots)
  • ____robes (swim cover ups)
  • ____special sports wear (tennis, golf, skiing)
  • ____swimsuits
  • ____swim towels
  • ____goggles,
  • ____sweaters, sweatshirts
  • ____jackets or raincoats
  • ____ dress shoes


  • ____toothbrushes
  • ____toothpaste
  • ____deodorant
  • ____hairbrush, comb
  • ____shampoo
  • ____kids’ shampoo
  • ____ elastics
  • ____lotion
  • ____bugspray
  • ____sun block
  • ____medications
  • ____nailfile
  • ____shaving kit
  • ____make up bag
  • ____nail clippers
  • ____Super absorbent hair towel
  • ­____ candle, matches
  • ___ Mom nightstand bag
  • Mom toiletries: ___Pillow  ___Mp3 ___mask   ___toothbrush charger       ___nail clippers ____shaving kit  ___medicines  ____makeup  ___vitamins


__Money belts           ____passport copies

  • ____sleeping bags
  • ____cell phone, cord,
  • ____chargers
  • ____MP3 CHARGER
  • ___ CAMERA, charger
  • ____ Camcorder, charger
  • ____Pillows, u-shaped pillows
  • ____books, magazines
  • ____stamps, pen, paper
  • ____sporting equipment:
  • ____map(s) , directions
  • ____resort information
    •        MOVIES
    • ____GAMES
    • ____extra batteries


  • ____feed, water pet
  • ____turn on porch light, set timers
  • ____water plants
  • ____check doors, all appliances off
  • ____turn down heat/air conditioning
    • ____large garbage bags for dirty clothes

Kids: Special blankets or stuffed animal  ___   Books____

Activities for plane ride

  • Something to draw with. Colored pencils or crayons.
  • Notebook
  • Erasers, pencils
  • Candy, snacks
  • Juice boxes


Hats, sunglasses

Voice recorder


First aid kit

Book lights

Playing cards

Plane survival kit:

Gum, eye drops, Mask, comfy pants, earplugs, mp3, headphones, book, handicraft, Compression socks and foot rest, seat cushions, light blanket