Melany: Preparing for a summer vacation

A lot of us moms and dads are preparing for a family vacation, and the whole process of preparing for a big getaway can be daunting. First things first: make a list. You'll want a packing list for carry-on stuff or the car ride (depending on your mode of transportation), a packing list for suitcases, and a shopping list. Having a list will help to ensure that you don't forget anything. Some suggestions for your in-transit bag:

- Chargers

- Colouring books, crayons and other basic art supplies (stamp pads, stickers, and more)

- Journals and blank paper

- Fun books like Where's Waldo, nature or learning books, or activity/art books - get loads of ideas for great kids' reads, plus activities to go along with those books, in our Little Readers blog section.

- Healthy snacks and water (from here or here)

- Folder for travel docs, brochures, print-outs of reservations, etc.

Try and stay organized as much as possible. Organization is key to a successful family vacation (especially road trips). Having an organized car, as well as well-planned-out luggage, will make the entire process all the smoother.

Group "like" items together to make packing (and living out of a suitcase) all the easier. This means keeping toiletries together, swimming stuff (bathing suits, towels and pool toys), shoes and outdoor gear, medication, your jewellery and accessories, and so on. Smaller clear cases or bags work well for smaller items, while more durable reuseable bags like these are ideal for the bigger stuff.

Use labels to keep everyone organized. That way, everyone knows where to get their clothes and other necessities, as well as where to put things like dirty clothes.

Come up with a schedule for your travel days, and discuss it as a family so there are no unexpected surprises on the day of. If it's going to be a longer day of travelling, consider having a few "markers" along the way where you'll celebrate or do something fun/special/different (each hour of a car ride, or during a layover).

Happy and safe travels!

Melany xx