For some of us, it’s the night before. While family vacations are just one slice of the much larger “vacation” pie (which could include resorts, ice fishing, and safaris) there are a few common buckets that all the different details fall into. Planning the perfect, mishap-free family vacation is usually something we start thinking about the week that we are about to leave.
The master list of things to bring varies greatly on where you’re going, but we’ve drafted up a few handy categories to run through everything from week-long tropical vacations to family vacations in Ontario.
If you’re planning on doing any outdoor activities, this is the most important category for someone like me because I am always forgetting things. The most important thing to do is to plan for all types of weather, and pay close attention to water. Aside from obvious things like swimwear and extra clothes in the event you’re pushed into a pool/lake as the result of general hijinks, plan for rain. Even short family vacations favour those who prepare for inclement weather, sometimes at the drop of a hat. This can be anything from something simple like an umbrella to full-on rain gear (raincoat, boots, gloves.) If you’re out in the Ontario rural areas and have a passion for hiking, these things will be close to the top of the list. In that same vein we can include running shoes that you don’t mind being ruined by water or overzealous ants. A good pair of heavily broken in sneakers has airflow similar to sandals, so you’re checking two boxes at once!
The Issue of Snacks
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from trips as short as weekend getaways is that your favourite snacks run out first and you end up with seven pounds of raisins left over. There’s no shame in overstocking peanut butter sandwiches and cereal if that’s what people are going to enjoy the most because you want to limit the amount of food you have to bring back once everything is over; food is the one big area where people waste money unnecessarily on family vacations.
If you are bringing the kids, a helpful tip would be to make sure everything is divided evenly between them; pack snacks for the individually rather than just sharing one large cache between them.
There are a lot of places like Loughborough Inn that offer cabin or cottage rentals, and even if you own your own cottage/cabin, it’s always a good idea to leave things in as good a condition as you can. A good all-purpose solution for counters, porcelain, or personal use are wet wipes. You can mix and match with paper towels and all-purpose cleaner, but if you’re trying to limit the amount of things you take with you, just grab a container of these; you’ll probably be out of them by the time you leave, anyway.
Another good thing to pack is Ziploc bags. These can be used for used soap, dish washing detergent, spilled medication, or as an extra precaution to waterproof liquid containers before a trip. A single box of Ziploc bags will be more than enough to service your vacation needs, and they have a practical purpose for when you return home.
Emergencies, Big and Small
Depending on where you are staying, these things will likely be provided already. If you’re going on a cruise or visiting a resort, there will be a plethora of emergency supplies on hand for any emergency. If you’re renting a cottage or you’re staying somewhere without supervision, you will want to be sure that there is a basic first aid kit on hand, especially for small things like cuts or blisters. It should go without saying to bring whatever necessary medication you or your loved ones require, but the most frequent injuries sustained on most excursions are minor cuts, bug bites, sun burns, and foot blisters.
During the planning stages of the trip, it’s also a good idea to quickly scout out the emergency services in the area, including hospitals. For the Loughborough Inn, the closest major hospital would be Kingston General, but if you’re going out of the country you should take extra care to find out where you will be staying and what services are provided either on-site or nearby. It’s much easier to plan for these things if you’re into Ontario vacations, but you can readily find this info if you look hard enough.
Additionally, if you’re staying in a rural place like Loughborough Inn, make sure you have at least one flashlight with you. Any size, any strength; like a plunger, you don’t want to have to go buy one when you actually need one. This sentiment can be expanded to insect repellent and after bite. It’s not necessarily life threatening and could probably be included in the “toiletries” section, but let’s just throw it in here because it deals with piercing of the skin and a lot of the emotions (anger) we feel when we trip and fall on something.
Contact The Loughborough Inn today to find out what supplies are kept on site and to get more information on tips to make the most of our services!