Simplify your trip with better packing tipsThursday, June 14, 2012 1:55:03 PM
Packing everything from diapers to handy snacks to enough underwear to last a week-long vacation in Arizona can be quite taxing for any parent. Although using a deal on car rental in Phoenix will give you one less thing to think about, keeping your vacation smaller and simpler will take some of the burden off your shoulders, allowing you to really enjoy the desert sun.
Bring only what you need
Never feel like there's enough room in your suitcases to fit all you need? Try to take an economic approach to packing. Do you need to pack a beach ball? Are extra towels necessary? Limit your suitcase to items that you cannot buy at your final destination.
"Leave the extra formula, suntan lotion and Cheerios at home. Any extra cash you may spend will be offset by what you save in checked bag fees and overall inconvenience," travel expert Michelle Higgins wrote in her recent article for The New York Times. "Besides, you are inevitably going to forget something and have to make a run to the local grocery or convenience store anyway."
Be innovative with entertainment
Have a child who can't bear to part with her or his favorite toys? Although packing a sole stuffed animal or favorite blanket can provide a sense of comfort for your child, traveling is a chance to get creative with available entertainment options. Higgins recommends using items like a luggage rack with dangling toys as an impromptu activity gym for infants, and a small container of Play-Doh for toddlers.
Keep items readily accessible
Need a tissue while you're on the road, but you can't remember where you packed it? Is your lip balm inside your toiletry bag, which is tucked deep inside your suitcase? These frustrations can be easily avoided by making sure your essential items are packed in smaller bags that are easily accessible. The last thing you want to have to do is rummage through clothes and toys in search of diapers or a wet nap. We've all had a few too many juice spills or restroom accidents on the road with kids, so having a bag of extra clothes and small snacks available for trip mishaps will keep issues small and manageable.
Speaking of small, taking breaks along the journey can be great as well, as the stops make kids feel less anxious. Some of the best Phoenix-area attractions include the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, where kids and parents can pan for gold, or South Mountain Park, where Native American petroglyphs can still be found within the beautiful Sonoran Desert.