One Suitcase Family Travel: It Can Be Done!

You’ll be gone for six days.  You have 4 members of your family and each want to take a MOUNTAIN of things on your trip.  Can you, as the master of family packing, consolidate enough to get everything you REALLY need in ONE suitcase?  You BETCHA!

**Warning** Anyone over 4 will complain that there are things they desperately need to pack — and you are being unreasonable.  Each person gets a backpack for those things — and the family gets ONE suitcase for everything else.


  • Everyone gets ONE bottom (shorts, jeans, skirt) and that’s it.  You will travel in one outfit, so you will have two bottoms to interchange during your vacation.
  • Everyone gets 3 tops.  Think layering (that tank looks great stand alone or with a shirt over it and the shirt can be worn on day 3 solo).
  • Everyone gets 5 pair of undies and 2-3 pair of socks (you can cut this down if you opt to spend an evening at the hotel and do a load of laundry on day 3 or 4).
  • Everyone gets one pair of shoes.  they need to wear their bulky shoes (usually tennis shoes) during travel so you only pack things like flip flops or slip ons.
  • That’s it. Then, there are bras and bathing suits — and you’re done.

Toiletries:  toiletry bags take up tons of room so pick one that lays flat or unfolds and then pack it unfolded to conserve space.  Everyone gets a toothbrush of their own and gets to use their own deodorant (we’re not animals) but otherwise pack these essentials only:

  • hairbrush
  • hair gel
  • travel-sized shave gel
  • one razor per gender
  • toothpaste
  • floss
  • sunscreen
  • 4 make up items per girl
  • required medication
  • earplugs and eye masks (ok, this is only if you are all staying in the same room and you belong to a family that has snorers or late night video watchers).

Yeah, if you have a teenager, they will probably tell you they would rather not go than to leave their 10,000 bottles of Axe body spray or 12 colors of nail polish.  But, you’re going on vacation. . . no one cares if you don’t have your cheeks perfectly bronzed.

You have clothes and toiletries.  Everyone has their own backpack to take their various media, chargers and the things you are too stingy to pack in the suitcase.

Be RUTHLESS in your cull of items.  Make sure everyone knows in advance they will be re-wearing clothes.  You’ll be amazed at how much room you will win back in the hotel and you’ll also see how much stuff you used to pack that were just not necessary!

Is there anything we missed on our list of essentials?



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