California is a large and well-visited state in the U.S.A. It is known for its Hollywood movie vibe, fashion, wealth, celebrities, beaches, Disneyland, national parks, Napa Valley and much more. All these attractions draw millions of visitors each year as there is something for everyone in California. The mild climate in the southern part of the state is perfect for year-round visitation to your favorite attractions and hotels too. What’s not to like about a family vacation in California? Sip wine from your Napa Valley hotel overlooking the vineyards or wake up to sounds of the crashing ocean waves just off the soft sand and beach. Have a blast at Disneyworld or see the massive Sequoia trees in the northern part of the state. The weather can vary depending on where you go in the state. Here are some tips, tricks, and advice on what to pack for a family vacation in California.
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Where Are You Going?
Where you are traveling to in California will help you decide what you should pack. Are you visiting national parks? Are you going to Disneyland or SeaWorld? Are you heading up north or staying towards the southern end of the state? Northern California can get chilly and can receive snow in higher elevations in the winter months. Southern California has a milder climate and hovers in the 50 to 60 degree Fahrenheit temperatures year round. Make sure to lay out your entire luggage in advance to help you mentally see what will be going with you.
Tips for Packing with Families
Packing for more than one or two people can be a challenge. Are you in charge for packing for your kids too? Never fear. Here are some things to consider. Think small for toiletries. Many stores have “travel” sized options which are much smaller and even meet airline regulations on some liquids you can carry on. Consider packing these smaller amounts and bottles instead. They will take up far less room in your luggage. Make sure to pack enough diapers and then add several more just in case. These can lie flat at the bottom, or stacked for easy reach in a carry-on bag or diaper bag. Use the side pockets and rings for sippy cups and bottles. Have a change of clothes for each child in a smaller bag that is easy to get to. Also, pack a few snacks for your kids to enjoy (and you too!) to help stay on a budget in case they get hungry. When packing, roll your clothes. This helps save room and makes them smaller and also less wrinkled. Place shoes along the outer edges of the case and fill the interior with clothing and toiletries.
Disneyland and Amusement Parks
When visiting amusement parks, generally most families will be on the go and their feet all day. Wear sneakers or comfortable walking shoes and make sure the rest of your family does as well. Heels and flip-flops will be a big mistake as there is not much support and can hurt your feet after a long day of walking. Bring a camera and back up batteries or charger to capture all your special moments. Backpacks are more convenient than purses because you will be carrying it around all day. More items can fit in a backpack. Bring sunscreen and snacks for you and the kids. Food is technically not allowed, but a few small snacks can be snuck in. Bring a hat to block the sun and a sweater or light, waterproof jacket if you will be there in the cool evenings or case it rains or drizzles. Hand sanitizer is always a good idea to fight off pesky germs in a place that will have a large visitation.
Beach Vacation in California
Are you and your family heading to California for its amazing beaches? You are not alone! Thousands flock to the west coast for surfing, sand, and fun in the sun. For a day or even a week at the beach, you will need some items to keep you prepared and relaxed. A cooler with drinks, water, snacks, and lunch is a good idea. The sun can be fierce so bring plenty of water. Sunglasses and sunblock are a must. Think of bringing at least a bottle for every member of your family and reapply hourly, especially if you have children. Every member of the family will also need a beach towel to lie on or dry off with too. A large blanket can be a nice resting place for a nap or to eat lunch on. An umbrella or small sun tent can be easily put up in the sand for some shade to take a break from the sun under. Bring books, sand toys, water boards and other water toys to keep everyone entertained on your fun day at the beach.
Hiking and Camping Vacation
If you and your family are planning on traveling to spend time in the great outdoors or at one of the many national parks or monuments or even doing some recreational activities, there are things you should pack for an easier trip. Make sure to bring good hiking or walking shoes and a backpack with at least one water bottle per person. Sunscreen and a hat and waterproof jacket are always a good idea to protect you and your family from the elements and to also be prepared. A small first aid kit and a trash bag for any accidents, for trash, or even to use as a rain cover or to keep warm should something happen. Bug spray is a good item to pack and don’t forget a cooler with snacks and food, especially if you are camping. Other items to consider are a flashlight and batteries, a whistle to call if you get lost, basic toiletries and changes of clothes for your exciting hike or family camping trip.
The More Prepared, the More Fun!
Being prepared for your trip with the proper items packed and within reach will make sure you have a smooth vacation full of good times and great memories. Laying everything out before you pack can help you see what you truly have ready. Also, laying out a least one outfit per day, pajamas, toiletries and shoes will make sure you have just the right amount of clothing and nothing less or too much. Kids need snacks and water and maybe a few things to keep them entertained on the journey like a book, game, or music. Don’t forget your camera and extra film, batteries, or power cords to make sure they’re ready to capture the special moments you and your family will have in California.