When ‘fun’ comes to mind, packing is usually not the number one activity. There’s a lot of stress involved in remembering every small detail- from toiletries, to medication, to electronics. In this day and age there’s a lot to keep track of when you’re away from home- and this guide is aimed at helping the cautious traveler prepare for the road ahead.
Make a List I used to think that my best friend was crazy for writing down everything she needed when we would go on vacation in college. As I got older, and traveled more and more, I saw the necessity for it. Use your phone, tablet, or even a piece of paper to jot down the importances of your trip- especially if you’re on medication or on your way to a family reunion. It could save a lot of headaches in the long run.
For the Kiddos
There’s nothing worse than bored children on a family vacation. They’re irritable and can push any calm parent to the breaking point. Before any tears are involved, prepare your family with an easy arsenal of activities that can be brought out in the hotel, the restaurant, or even at the beach.
Arts and Crafts– The simplest idea of keeping a coloring book and crayons in the car is something every parent should have on their to-do list. For vacations, purchase small ‘art packs’ from the dollar store or Target. They’re ready made, no fuss, and easy to hand to a child even if you’re driving long distance. Colored pencils are a crayon alternative that won’t melt in the heat. Stay away from glue, scissors, or anything that could cause damage. For the younger ones, give them those markers from Crayola that only write on specific paper. That way they can’t color their sleeping siblings.
Sand Toys– Children will get bored at the beach. They can only play in the water for so long before it becomes a nuisance, especially if the waves are crashing around them. Bring some basic sand toys- shovels, buckets, molds- to give them something to do when they tire of the salty madness.
Books– Especially if your child is a reader, bring plenty of books. Bring books of every kind- harder to read, easy to read, interactive- basically any topic that could capture their attention for more than five minutes. This is also a must if your child loves reading before they go to sleep.
Their Favorites– Pack their favorite EVERYTHING! Toys, blankets, food- if they can’t live without it at home, they’re going to want it on vacation.
Changes of Clothes– With kids, never pack just enough clothes to last the week. Pack more than you need. You never know when Suzy is going to spill her grape juice all over that brand new white tank top from Aunt Emma.
Electronics– It’s a necessity in this day and age to give a child some sort of learning apparatus through electronics. Whether it’s your iPad or a Nintendo DS, bring at least one for the road. Suggest a time limit since you’re on vacation, and use it as a last resort. Especially for older kids.
For the Beach Chances are if you’re vacationing to Destin or the surrounding area, you’ll be going to the beach (or even the pool) more than a few times. The most important thing to remember (or plan to buy) is sunscreen. Also, don’t forget your favorite swimsuit, pool toys, large beach towels, plenty of bottled water, and a large beach bag to carry everything with you. If you want to pack light, leave the umbrella and beach chairs at home- there are plenty of beach services available for the public.
Necessities Whether you’re packing for one or five, a list of necessities is something you can make and keep with you from vacation to vacation. The good thing about necessities is that you can always buy them when you arrive- but sometimes it’s easier to just remember them in the first place.
Medication– If you have daily medication needs, take vitamins, or are coming off of the flu, you’re going to need your prescription and/or over the counter medications. Pack them in a separate, easy-to-reach package with the rest of your belongings. Keeping them readily available could be the difference between pain and no pain, or even life and death. If you’re traveling by plane, always put your medication in a carry-on bag.
Toiletries– Everyone needs toothpaste, shampoo, soap, their toothbrush, their hairbrush, etc. If you use it everyday, bring it with you. Forgetting something won’t be the end of the world, but it sure won’t feel like home either.
Makeup– Makeup is one of the most expensive items in a daily routine. It’s a good idea to double check and bring everything with you. Replacing everything you leave at home could get costly.
Clothes– Check the weather. Bring clothes for every occasion- swimsuits for the beach, casual clothes for a day at Destin Commons, and something dressier for a night out in Baytowne Wharf. Be prepared for just about anything.
Chargers– Speaking of electronics- don’t leave your chargers at home! Cell phones, laptops, tablets- the best thing to do is to set them aside and pack them separately from everything else. You’re going to miss your phone if you can’t charge it.
Money– It’s always easiest to carry credit cards, but cash should also be a necessity. Even if you stop at an ATM upon arrival, paying for valet or tipping the beach service won’t be as hard if you have something more than plastic.
When visiting Destin, be prepared to have fun! Make packing an adventure and bring anything you think you may want or need- after all, there’s something for everyone here on the Emerald Coast!