Family fun vacations are as varied as the families who enjoy them. Your family may be a beachy bunch, or they may prefer the natural splendor of the mountains, or the rugged beauty of the desert. One thing that every vacation has in common, though, is that packing the right items is very important. Here are some must-pack items, no matter where you are headed:

  • A good camera. Do not miss a moment of the fun! Make sure you have a record that will be enjoyed for years to come.
  • Effective sunscreen. Not all sunscreens are created equal, but protecting your family from UV rays is crucial. Do your research ahead of time, and bring the correct sunblock.
  • Sunglasses and hats. Another important way to block harmful sun exposure is by using glasses and hats. Whether you are in the car, on the trail, at the pool, on the beach, or at a baseball game, remember to protect your skin and eyes.
  • Extra swimsuits. Chances are, no matter where you are headed, you will be spending some time in the water. Few things are more uncomfortable than squishing back into a cold, wet swimsuit, so make sure to bring an extra suit for each member of the family.
  • Good reads. Whether old or young, everyone in your group should have some quality books to devour during downtime.
  • Maps and travel guides. You cannot arrive if you do not know where you are going! Be sure to research your location ahead of time, and bring along some helpful guides.
  • Hand sanitizer. This is the parents’ best friend. Whether you prefer wipes or gel, make sure you have some tucked in a few places, so that you never end up with a germ situation that you cannot handle.
  • An extra bag. Most people find that the contents of the suitcase seem to expand during vacation. Make sure you have an extra bag, so that you can get it all home.
  • Needed medicines. In addition to any prescriptions, make sure you have pain and allergy medication.  Vacations can be unpredictable, and you never know when someone is going to fall, get stung, or have some other minor crisis.
  • Comfortable clothes.  It is imperative to have clothes in which to go out to dinner, or meet someone important. However, the clothes for traveling should be as soft and cozy as pajamas. In fact, for small children, pjs are the perfect travel wear!
  • Entertainment. For some families, this may mean a portable DVD player. For others, travel-sized board games. Whatever it means to your family, smart parents know that even top family vacations can sometimes be sullied by children whining about boredom. Plan ahead, and you will have a ready answer.

Vacation is the perfect time to bond with your family and take a break from your everyday surroundings. No matter where you choose to travel, it is important for people to have time to relax and recharge their batteries. Be sure to plan your packing lists carefully, so that you have less to worry about while you are away.