Yesterday I raved about a cheap toy that is essential to have when visiting the beach with young children. The 99-cent rubber duck was a priceless commodity on our family’s recent trip to Hawaii. So what other basic, but often overlooked items should you also consider packing before you head off on your next family trip? Take a look:
Not only are they affordable, but they are also a cinch to pack. What’s more, if they get played with a half dozen times you’ve probably got your money’s worth and you won’t feel bad leaving them behind before heading home. Finally, you never know when you’ll need them–my 3-year-old’s inflatable beach ball came in handy when our flight from Chicago was delayed. I simply blew it up in the terminal and she had a blast batting it back and forth until it was time to board the plane.
I wish I would have thought of this one myself, but I actually got this one from a savvy mom of three who was standing in front of us in line at the aquarium. Just as her kids started to whine and squirm she whipped out a bottle of bubbles and started blowing. My daughter couldn’t believe her eyes when a string of bubbles floated by her face. Now I don’t go anywhere without having a cheap bottle of bubbles tucked inside my bag.
It’s another must-have item that I always bring along in my carry-on. It comes in handy at hotels to childproof electrical sockets; in the car when your child wants to hang up his or her artwork; and it saved the day during our recent trip to the children’s museum when my camera case fell off the dinosaur exhibit and cracked in three places.
The power of a thin duffel bag… It’s a lesson I learned the hard way when my suitcase went beyond the weight limit allotted by the airlines. After that unfortunate experience (which included shelling out $50) I never leave home without tucking a thin plastic foldable duffle bag into the outside zippered compartment on my suitcase. Not only does it come in handy should you need to lighten the load in your check-in bag, but it has been invaluable when I go overboard on the souvenirs and need extra space on the trip home.
My 3-year-old doesn’t care what kind of camera she gets to bring along on vacation so long as she has something to take pictures with. I stock up on disposable cameras (you could invest in a kid-friendly digital one if you have older kids) so she can snap photos from her point of view. Not only does it keep her busy, but the developed pictures also make for great scrapbooking material.