Less is always more. That is our motto and that is our rule.
We are a family of five. Traveling as a family of five has its joys. Memories made, adventures, experiencing new places, new food and enjoying travel the eyes of our children.
But lets be frank, it also has its inconveniences.
Over the years we have learned some hard lessons about traveling together and making it all work. We have learned what leads to wonderful experiences and what leads to struggles. We now make our best effort to ensure everyone has a bed of their own, which generally means rental homes vs hotels. We do our best to ensure our car is large enough to accommodate, which also means extra large vehicles for this crew. We ensure to ask each kiddo what they are really looking forward to each trip, give them the opportunity to plan one outing for the family so that everyone walks away with wonderful memories. And we have created fairly strict rules around packing and luggage which equals space and tidiness.
- Only carry-on size luggage allowed
There are 4 ladies traveling with our fella. There is no doubt that we can easily lose track of what we are packing and go slightly overboard. Fitting 5 large suit cases into any rental car can be a challenge. Finding room for 5 full-sized suit cases in a hotel room is nearly impossible. And controlling chaos as luggage is opened and clothes are selected is key to a successful trip. We have experienced this struggle in travels past, full-sized luggage and untidy luggage management has always lead to frustration. So, we created a family rule: Carry-On Luggage Only.
- Bring only what you need
We’ve had trips in which our girls brought 20 unique outfits for a 7 day trip because they just didn’t know what they wanted to wear. I’ve been there too. But, now we reduce our selection to only favorites and what we truly need. With smaller suit cases this almost resolves itself. Additionally, if over packing doesn’t occur, souvenirs always have a place. Another idea… challenge yourself. We have always given one another challenges in years past. When we traveled to St. Thomas I did not bring make-up and I challenged our teens to do the same. I knew we would be spending our days in the sun and I wanted to give my skin the break it deserved. Sun kissed, clean and clear skin is the best make-up after all.
- Bring things that can be worn twice
Swim suit cover-ups, shorts, jeans, shoes, coats. You name it. Pick a favorite and wear it throughout the trip. Yes, we all love options, me included. But, logic needs to prevail and frankly, jean shorts are just jean shorts, but the fabulous tops you rotate on top really make the outfit. So, pack that which you can wear more than once.
- Think when packing
I own plenty of swim suits, but I don’t need to bring them all with me on each trip simply so I can emotionally pick my favorite suit each and every day. No, instead I pack my top three favorites. I love sweaters, but I don’t need four for a seven day trip, two will do. I love bringing fancy clothes “just in case”, but if we haven’t planned for fancy in advance, there is no need to prepare for something that probably won’t happen. Family of five travel usually lends itself to far more casual and spontaneous meals.
- Plan ahead
Arrange some travel plans in advance. Make a few reservations for meals. Plan an outing or two. Have enough planned so that the kids will have a loose understanding of their schedule and can pack for said planned events. This too saves from over-packing as it will be evident that swim suits will be our primary uniform for three days. Or the kids will know three days we will be road warriors so yoga pants and tanks make the most sense.
Now, go have fun. The primary function of family vacation is magic and memories. Take these tips, interpret them for your gang and enjoy the time you spend together. Happy travels y’all!