Packing for a family vacation is always a challenge.

Ziploc Bag Tip

Ziploc bags come in various sizes and are handy for packing clothing, toiletries and snacks. When I start the packing process, I follow a list, which helps me avoid forgetting to pack something. I keep the list on my computer and print a copy for each trip. I get the kids to help me check off the list and collect the items that we need as we go along. To make it easy, we pack outfits – shorts, shirt, socks and underwear. We roll the items and put each outfit in a large gallon size bag that we mark with their name. One outfit is a “nice” outfit in case we go out for a fancy dinner or go to church. If we are going away for five days, for example, I set aside four outfits for the suitcase and the fifth outfit will get packed in their carryon.

I also use Ziploc bags for our toiletries, especially anything that might open and spill in our suitcase. The quart size usually is just right for bottles. This tip has saved me a few times from ruining some clothes! I also pack a few extra bags on the side of the suitcase just in case someone has an accident or spills something.

Space Bag Tip

Space bags are awesome for packing bulky items either in the suitcase or in the car. When we went to California a couple of years ago for a ski trip, we all had to bring our ski gear in addition to our regular clothes. We found that we could fit four sets of ski pants, winter coats, gloves and hats all in one large Space bag. After sucking out all of the air, we still had plenty of room in the suitcase to pack the rest of our items. We were able to get all of our belongings for a week long vacation in one big suitcase. The rest we were able to fit in our carry on bags. For the return trip, we just borrowed the vacuum from the hotel staff and we were set for the plane ride home. This summer we took a big car trip and used the Space bags for all of the pillows, blankets and towels that we needed to bring with us to the beach house we rented. We prefer to bring some of our own items with us even if they are provided because sometimes you just can’t sleep as well without your own pillow. Well, in one Space bag, we fit 2 pillows, 2 blankets and 2 towels. After we sucked all of the air out, both bags fit underneath the seat of the car.

Garbage Bag Tipkitchen-garbage-bags_sm

The last must-have bag for any trip is a couple of kitchen size garbage bags with tie strings. We use one for dirty laundry and have even put the entire bag of dirty laundry inside a Space bag and that worked really well for saving space. Then you can take the laundry bag straight to the washing machine when you get home. The second bag has been useful to hold dirty boots, snowshoes or even to hold garbage!

Here’s an extra little tip…use the shower caps from the hotel to cover the bottoms of your shoes before you pack them in your suitcase. The shower caps are just the right size and will keep the dirt from the bottom of your shoes from getting on your clothes.

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