This is the week where I start putting together my packing list. It has been our experience that if children have the correct gear and clothing the enjoyment factor increases substantially. I learned long ago that whether it was in a baby back pack, hiking in the rain, or winter camping, gear is essential for a happy child. We made the mistake of not having good gear once...the tears, the misery, the complaining was enough to never venture back out if we would have let it stop us. Most of the time you get what you pay for. $10 ski gloves are bound to leave fingers red and freezing cold. That isn't all it does. It leaves a bad taste in the child's mouth for the sport or activity associated with that gear. We are trying to increase our children's love for the outdoors not the opposite.
Now, back to our packing list. Some things to consider:
1. Temperature, climate and time of year.
2. Types of activities.
3. Length of trip.
4. Laundry opportunities.
5. Walking, hiking, needed footwear.
My number one rule for what we take is this:
Can we layer what we have to accommodate temperature and weather variations?
An example of a packing list for Europe -
2 Pair Shoes
4 Pair Pants (quick dry or travel type pants)
6-7 Shirts (including church shirt, performance shirts, a collared shirt, t-shirts and a long sleeved shirt)
2 Pair Shorts
Underwear for a week
Wool Socks for a week
Backpacking Quick Dry Towel
Swim Suit (if needed)
Flip Flops for shower
Reusable Lunch Bags for snacks
Reusable Grocery Sacks
Medicine (Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Stomach Acid Aid, Eye Drops, Neosporin, Allergy Meds, etc.)
Europe doesn't offer plastic bags for groceries or ziplock bags for snacks so we take our own reusable bags to make it easy to buy food and take it with us for the day.
This list would change for a tropical vacation or a summer versus winter vacation.
Taking as little as possible helps tremendously when traveling as a family. Trust me when I say that it is not easy trying to get around your destination with too many bags. The fewer the better.