Planning A Family-Friendly Beach Vacation: What To Pack


You’re in the homestretch of this thing called planning a family vacation. You’ve developed and stuck to your budget. You’ve decided where to go and booked your vacation rental. Now, you just have to deal with the dreaded packing for your trip before heading out.

If you’re anything like me, you tend to over pack. You end up packing enough clothing for an entire week for a simple, overnight stay. On the other hand, you may be the type of person who only packs your clothes and relies on area grocery and drug stores to get you through your vacation. (Let’s be honest, the locals HAVE to get their goods from SOMEWHERE. It’s not like you’re traveling to some remote location…or maybe you are which is why you really, really need this last post of our series.)

Items to Consider When Packing for Your Family Beach Vacation

1. What time of year are you traveling and where will you be staying? In North Carolina, we experience all of the seasons – sometimes it feels like we experience all of them in one week – so packing a swimsuit and a hoodie or coat may be your best bet.
2. How are you traveling? If your mode of transportation will be the family vehicle, you may be able to pack a bit more for your vacation home than if you were planning to fly.
3. Are you traveling with kids? If so, will you bring items to keep them occupied like toys, games, video games or other electronics. Would you rather they enjoy the simpler life by the beach and want to avoid packing all of the “extras”? If you’re traveling with babies, you may want to inquire whether the home has a high chair, pack-n-play, etc.
4. Will you be traveling with pets? If so, you’ll want to find out if your rental comes with items like food and water bowls or a crate.
5. Are you planning to bring your own linens or will you rent them? If you plan to participate in activities like biking or paddle boarding, do you plan to bring your own equipment or will you rent?

Other Tips for Packing for Your Family Beach Vacation

1. Download apps that your kids can play on your smartphone or a tablet you’ll be bringing. This will keep the kids occupied during the drive or right before bedtime while also eliminating the need to pack individual electronics.
2. Cross packing could be a lifesaver for air travel. With cross packing, you pack a set of clean clothes for each family member in each person’s suitcase. This way if a piece of luggage is lost, you’ll at least have one set of clothing for each person to get you through until you find your luggage or buy replacements.
3. Pack multi-purpose toys for children so that they can play with them in the home or on the beach. Limit your kids to packing one small bag of toys each. Items like blow-up balls work extremely well for packing purposes.
4. Pack Ziploc bags. You can use them for additional packing solutions, to pack snacks and sandwiches for your day at the beach, or even use them as souvenir collection cases for seashells.

If we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again – research the whereabouts of your vacation. From learning the weather patterns to finding out where the local grocery store is, the information on your vacation spot can be an invaluable item for your home away from home. If all else fails, simply give your rental agent a call. If they’re a valuable agent, like Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc., they should put you in the right direction for anything you need.

What amazing packing tips have you collected over the years? Are there special products that make packing for your trip more efficient? We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions so please share them in the comments section of this post.

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4 Responses to Planning A Family-Friendly Beach Vacation: What To Pack

  1. Yvette Bumgarner says:

    If you bring children that do not belong to you, always bring their insurance card and a letter from the parents saying you have permission to get them medical attention. With parents emergency numbers on the letter.It makes the unexpected easier should anything happen. Learned from experience!!

  2. Lucy Gibson says:

    My family and I are trying to plan a fun vacation for this summer. I love your tip about cross packing to save space when traveling by plane. We’d love to stay at a fun and luxurious place. I think this will help us all bond.

    • Isn’t that a great idea? No more stressing over lost luggage! And you know, Oak Island is a fun place to stay with many family-friendly options for bonding! Let us know if you want assistance in planning your stay if you do decide to head our way.

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