Things to Pack for a Short Trip With a Child

by Maggie McCormick

    You might only be going away for the weekend, but it can feel like you're packing for a year. Children often have a lot of necessities that need to come along in the suitcase. Though you're likely to have a lot of items on your "just in case" list, take care not to bring too many things you probably won't need to keep your load lighter. If something really becomes necessary, you can always make a trip to the store.

    You'll undoubtedly need clothes for you and your child. According to Frommer's, it's best to pack denim and other bright colors. These types of clothes are easier to spot-clean and won't show stains as easily as white or khaki clothes will. Bring a few extra outfits in case of spills or accidents. A potty-training child might need extra pants and underwear as well.

    Whether you're going in the car or the airplane, staying at a hotel or a relative's house, it's smart to bring a few things that can keep her entertained. Laptops, tablet computers, portable DVD players and handheld video games can occupy her time during long trips. Books and small toys are also smart ideas. Consider purchasing a few small toys just before the trip. Since they're new, they may capture your child's attention a bit longer.

    Don't forget any of the things your child might need. A baby will need extra diapers and wipes, and you might consider packing a small stroller or a baby carrier. An older child might have a favorite lovey he won't want to forget. You'll also need the right accessories for the weather -- sun block and sun glasses for your trip to the beach; boots and gloves for your ski trip. If your child has allergies or requires medication, include those as well.

    No matter how short your trip, consider packing important papers with you. If you're going on a plane, you'll need your child's passport or birth certificate. You should also have your health insurance card in case of emergencies, and paperwork pertaining to your travel plans, such as copies of hotel or car reservations. You probably have everyone's phone numbers stored in your cell, but write them down on a piece of paper in your wallet, too. You never know when your phone might be dead and you won't be able to charge it.

    About the Author

    Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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