Traveling with one kid can be a daunting task to undertake. Traveling with more than one, well, that is a whole new world. You must be quick, efficient and on top of things. How do you choose the best method of packing? How do you make sure that they have all that they need? What happens when you are on vacation? Is it possible for everything to go smoothly? That’s why I am here. I am here to let you know the method that I have used over the years, and it has proven effective time and time again.

First of all, use one small rolling luggage suitcase OR one small rolling duffel bag per child. This will help you keep everyone’s things separated and easy to find. Second, find a small backpack that your child can carry with ease. Third, bring on the patience; you will need it at the beginning. Do not worry; it will pay off in the end.

If your kids are old enough to read, make them a packing list. Include everything that they will need for the trip. This will free you up for a few minutes to do your own packing. For younger kids, make a list with pictures and help them choose their clothes, toiletries, etc. to take with them. After they have completed packing their bags, have them bring them to you to be double checked.

This will help you not to forget anything. Unless you are similar to me; I always forget at least one item for every person when traveling. It can be very inconvenient if there is no store close by. Also, now is the time to put their clothes in a plastic bag for easy use. (Again, older children may not need this, but for my 6 and 8-year-old, it is a big time saver on vacation.) Label each bag with what day the clothes will need to be worn. Include a shirt, pants, underwear and socks in each plastic bag, that way there is no question where items are while you are on your trip. In order to cut waste with plastic bags, keep the bags in their luggage suitcase, and use them for the following trip.

Traveling with kids to amusement parks can also be a little intimidating. We always pack our own snacks to save money inside the park, and if it is allowed we pack our lunch as well. When we decided to do this, we bought small backpacks for each child. Our 6-year-old has been carrying her own backpack since she was 3. This frees us up to enjoy all of the kiddos and not feel overwhelmed, which in turn, allows everyone to have a great time.

I am a firm believer in helping kids to help themselves. Rolling luggage suitcases and rolling duffel bags often can be a little costly; however, it is well worth the extra investment. When your kids become old enough to walk, they can begin to roll their suitcase around. This makes a trip much more relaxing and enjoyable for us parents. Family vacations are meant to be fun and exciting. After all, that is why we spend the cash to take our kiddos out. Whether it is to the beach, to the mountains, or to a local attraction, we should do our best to work smarter, not harder. Take the advice from a mom who tries to save every penny she can. Spend the extra dough to buy a rolling luggage suitcase for your babies. You won’t regret it.

Grace A.