Thursday, October 6, 2011

5 Items Mom Should Pack But Probably Didn't Think Of

The Packing List

Once I had three kids, I had to start making packing lists.  I usually started them a couple of weeks before the trip and then would add items as I thought of them.  And still I would forget something--sunblock, a camera, my phone charger, pjs, a swimsuit.  On one memorable anniversary weekend, my husband wore sneakers with his suit to our fancy dinner.  I also realized that some items would have come in handy if only I had thought to pack them--a roll of paper towels on a car trip, a travel game when the heated motel pool wasn't working, breath mints (you don't really need an explanation for that one).  From all my mishaps, here are a few items I think every mom should pack.

#5--Keep a pair of socks for each person somewhere handy in the car.  Many fast food restaurants require socks at their play lands (as do some children's museums, roller skating rinks, bowling alleys, etc.).  Because we wear sandals in the summer, we never had socks.  After fishing a pair for each child out of suitcases more than once, I finally just kept a pair per person in the glove box or in the driver's door cubby.  

#4--For "large" vacations, buy disposable cameras for children aged 5-8.   I have always just let my children take picture with a children's digital camera or take a few clicks with mine.  I still plan on doing that for weekend camping trips or day trips.  But for the extra special occasions (like Disneyland), letting  children in this age group have their own camera without the worry is well worth the money.  Not only will your child be thrilled, but you will get insight into how they see the world--what did they pictures of? I have found children under 5 will beg to take pictures but are better off with a child's digital camera so they can take multiple out-of-focus, low quality pictures that are easily deleted (just pack extra batteries).  Children 9 and older are generally old enough to have a point-and-click digital camera (as cheap as $60) which is about twice the cost of a disposable camera including the cost of developing the film.  

#3--Nail Clippers are a woman's pocket knife.  They can be used like scissors to clip tags, to clean nails, as a file, or to clip a hanging toe nail (guaranteed if your vacation takes you to the beach or involves a lot of walking).  It is a helpful little tool and slips right into your make-up bag.

#2--Keep a spare set of earphones in your purse.  Something I would have laughed at a decade ago, I now keep a set in my diaper bag (they weigh nothing) but have come in handy more than once.  When the toddler has had it, I can plug the earphones into my iPhone and let him play a few games.  When my tween has forgotten hers, she can borrow mine.  When I need a little break on the road trip, I can just plug myself in for a few songs.

#1--Pack some Pocket Change, actual coins.  I have found between motel laundry machines at midnight to machines that stretch and stamp a penny to a vending machine at a rest stop to a toy at a restaurant table (lining them up, sorting, spinning the coins), pocket change is a must on vacation.

Bonus Note:  If traveling with a beloved stuffed animal, pin a note with your name and cell number to the animal.   Most strangers will gladly reunite a ragged stuffed animal with its child (they may even be willing to mail it to you).

So when you are making your packing list for your next vacation, try some of these suggestions and see if your vacation goes a little smoother.  


  1. We always had bananas and a spoon available to feed a hungry toddler. The spoon was for the kids too young to eat banana by themselves. Mashed banana was always popular.

  2. Great idea. I love packing fresh fruit.