Delta baggage check in at Atlanta airport (Flickr photo credit: hoyasmeg)

 

Passengers wait in line to check their bags at Atlanta airport
 

 

Since many airlines started charging baggage fees, families need to stop stuffing suitcases and pack light.  If you are traveling with kids this holiday, make sure that each family member old enough to walk brings only one carry-on (with wheels so they can carry it themselves).

 

Being organized can now save you a ton of money when you fly.  Trust me, I now have packing down to a science.   Here are some tips to make packing a cinch:

 

  • Try rolling smaller items like bathing suits and underwear in various sized plastic bags; you’ll be amazed at how much space you will find in your suitcase.
  • Before you go, check all airport security measures. Follow the 3-1-1 Rules for carry-on bags:  3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin.
  • 3-1-1 is for short trips.  If in doubt, put your liquids in checked luggage.
  • Arrive at the airport early and be patient. Heavy travel volumes and the enhanced security process may mean longer lines at security checkpoints.
  • Use one “family carry-on like a giant purse or over-the-shoulder bag.  In it, I suggest carrying the whole family’s phones, electronic games and chargers, sunglasses, sunscreen, first-aid items, etc. This way, they won’t get lost in transit.
  • Travel with some mild detergent so that you can pack fewer items and hand-wash delicates like bathing suits at your destination.
  • Pack basics to mix and match outfits and pair with just a few simple accessories. For little ones, think comfort over fashion. Tell your teenagers that if they pack fewer clothes, they’ll have room to bring something home.
  • Ship ahead whatever you can. There are services that will send diapers and formula directly to your hotel so you are set when you arrive.
  • Rent larger baby equipment items once you arrive destination.
  • Pack a self-made first aid kit with bandages, instant cold packs and anti-bacterial lotion for minor cuts and scrapes.  (I have been at amusement parks in Orlando, where it takes longer to get a bandage than wait in line to ride a rollercoaster!)
  • Pack walkie-talkies so that when you are separated from your traveling companions or family members, you can reconnect; they usually have an 8-mile radius.
  • At the end of trip, make a list of what you actually wore vs. what you packed and keep that as a reminder for your next trip!

 

Happy Packing!

 

Flickr photo credit: hoyasmeg

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