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.
#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.
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.