Packing Checklist

Develop a master packing list that you can use for all of your trips. From necessity, you are probably a master at being prepared for any situation or emergency, but everyone needs a checklist when they are packing in the midst of the busyness of every day.

Clothes

Pack a variety and pack extra. You needn't pack every article of clothing that your child owns, especially if you will have access to a washer and dryer, but you should, however, be prepared for temperature changes. Layers of clothing work well during the seasons when temperatures are unpredictable.

  • Pants

  • Shirts

  • Underwear

  • Socks

  • Shoes

  • Pajamas

  • Jacket or sweater

  • Umbrella

  • Blanket and pillow

  • Coat, hat, gloves, and boots (for cold weather)

  • Bibs (for infants or children with exceptional feeding needs)

You should also be prepared for spills and accidents. Even if you travel light and Grandma's washer is waiting to be used, you will want to include clothing changes.

Entertainment

You may be looking forward to catching up on old times with your college roommate, or you might be looking forward to sleeping in and enjoying some of Mom's great home cooking. Although your child might share your excitement for the trip, he will need some activities to pass the time or at least fill in the gaps.

  • Small manipulative toys

  • Books for independent reading and for reading with a parent

  • Crayons and coloring books or paper

  • Paper and pencil for older children

  • Sports equipment

  • DVDs, CDs, video and conventional games, music

Plan which activities you can take that will offer entertainment that's not disruptive. That is not to say that you should park your child in front of a television set for the duration of your visit. However, if he lives to watch a popular cartoon, pack those DVDs to take along for breaks. Your child deserves to relax on the trip as much as you do.

Not every child is “hooked” on DVDs. Some are obsessed with other kinds of technology. Some child love more traditional activities (books, sports, art, cars, or dolls). The idea is to pack some familiar kinds of activities that will pass the time.

Medical Supplies and Special Equipment

Consider whether or not your child will need medical supplies or specialized equipment on the trip. It may seem like this is obvious to include on your packing list, but a complete checklist can prevent scrambling to find a needed item in an unfamiliar area.

  • Orthopedic equipment

  • Feeding equipment

  • Oxygen (if needed)

  • Emergency contact information: doctors, pharmacies, relatives

  • Emergency information for the destination: hospitals and pharmacies

  • General medical supplies: sunscreen, lotion for sunburn, vitamins, antiseptic, bandages, pain relievers, thermometer

As you travel, make revisions to your packing lists. When preparing for future trips, you will be able to tell quickly whether or not you remembered everything.

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