Maximize space and don’t forget a thing!

The family vacation can certainly be a satisfying, relaxing way to kick back and spend some time together. But arrangements can be a hassle, including planning and packing a list of belongings. From choosing what to bring as well as finding the space to carry it all, packing for the family vacation can be a nightmare. We’ve got a few tips for less stress and more space when it comes to filling that suitcase.

1. Roll up your clothes

Everyone seems to think that folding shirts is the only way to keep them wrinkle-free outside of hanging–but this isn’t the case! Roll up your clothes instead of folding them. Not only does this technique free up a lot more space, but it will also keep your wardrobe free of wrinkles and creases from folding.

2. Pack some detergent

Cleaning clothes during your vacation means you’ll need fewer clothes to bring with you. Have some detergent on-hand, and set aside some time for doing some laundry at some point in your journey. Ask your hotel if they have washing machines available (and what the fees for using them would be), or use your sink for washing by hand and shower for drying.

3, Use air compression bags

You may have seen these on TV: space-saving bags that you can fill with clothes or pillows before vacuuming the air out. These dramatically cut the amount of room your belongings will take up in a suitcase.

4. Consider shipping

Depending on where you are going, it may make more sense to ship your belongings instead of checking luggage on a flight. Assess the fees for luggage with your airline, and compare that versus the cost of shipping. Not only will it be easier on your wallet, but traveling luggage-free can make for a huge reduction of stress in the airport.

5. Have activities packed for the kids

Take something with you that the kids can be entertained by on long flights or car rides. This can be an activity set full of games, a personal DVD player or some other device. 

6. Charge everything beforehand

Perhaps you’ve seen groups of people huddled around outlets at airports, charging their laptops or cell phones. Don’t become one of them! Charge everything before you leave the house: phones, laptops, handheld game systems and more. Whatever won’t be used over a long period of time should be shut off. Charging ahead of time means your and your kids’ favorite entertainment devices will have enough juice for the whole journey.

7.  Take a power strip with you

Packing a power strip is important for those staying in a hotel or on a cruise. Often, your living quarters won’t have enough outlets for everyone and everything; a power strip boosts the amount of devices that can be connected at once.

8. Be safe with all belongings

Never check essential documents such as a passport; keep those in carry-on bags. When packing for a flight, do include a printed itinerary as well as your address and other contact information in all bags, so your airline knows where to send your things if they get lost.

9. Bring a souvenir bag

Got an extra foldable bag lying around? Fold (or roll!) up an old tote and throw it in your suitcase. You now have some extra space to carry any souvenirs or things you might buy during your trip. This bag can also be used for any day trips or excursions that you may need to bring some supplies for.

10. Make a list

When doing your packing, make a list of the things you absolutely need. The obvious reason for this is that you won’t forget the essentials–but by seeing a list of everything you intend to bring beforehand, you will also realize that some things that seemed like a good idea may not actually be necessary for the amount of space you have,