Everyone loves traveling, but packing your bags can be a bit of a drag — especially when you’re packing for your kids too. Too many of us wait until the very last possible second to throw what we can into a suitcase before we go on our merry way, only to later discover we’re short on underwear and forgot baby’s favorite blanket. Time to break that bad habit. If you’re a traveling mom, check out our tips on how to pack smart and savvy. It just might make your next vacation a lot more enjoyable!

1. Start with a solid packing list. Figure out what you’ll need to wear depending on your destination’s weather, as well as what activities you’ll be participating in. Remember some items can be worn multiple times, but always make sure there’s enough underwear and at least one very comfortable bra. When you’re traveling with your kids, you’ll want to pack extra, well, everything in the event of accidents, spilled sippy cups, and Cheeto hands.

2. Fold clothes before you go; roll clothes before you return. Many of us tend to overpack for a trip, leaving little to no room for extras (and you know your kids are going to want more than one souvenir). Before you leave, pack your suitcase with folded clothing. If you’re in need of space for your return trip, you can make some by tightly rolling those same clothes. Suddenly your kid’s new toy will fit, and you’ll avoid any tears.

3. Pack “explodables” into Ziplock bags. The last thing you want is diaper cream or your body lotion splattered all over your clothes. Make sure they’re packed securely in plastic bags where they won’t cause any damage.

4. Pack extra (empty) bags too. You’ll want bags in a variety of sizes. Ziplocks are good for any liquids or gels you might pick up. Bring some larger bags to keep dirty shoes and other items separate from clean clothes. And don’t forget a larger bag for any other just-in-case moments (like an on-the-go diaper change when there’s no trash bin around).

5. Consider investing in some vacuum-seal bags. If you’re sure you’ll be doing some serious souvenir shopping, this isn’t a bad way to go. It’s also a solid move if you’re traveling with multiple children, as you can divide their outfits into separate, clearly labeled bags, keeping everyone’s stuff nice and organized.

6. Call your destination ahead of time to inquire about borrowing or renting kid gear. You can get away with not bringing along a pack-n-play or even a high chair at many hotels. Check with your hotels ahead of time so you don’t bring unnecessary (and often bulky) items.

7. Bring along some baby wipes. For one, they keep your kids clean. For another, if you’re unable to get to a shower for a certain amount of time, these conveniently moist hankies will keep you fresher than usual.

8. Always, always, always bring along a couple of solid scarves. The possibilities here are endless; bundle it up as a pillow, lay it over your kiddo as a blanket, or even use it to protect your baby’s skin from a less-than-pristine changing table.

9. Organize an emergency supplies kit. It’s always best to be prepared for the worst. Pain and indigestion meds are a good thing to have on hand. Duct tape, a small pair of scissors, and a sewing kit can also prove to be handy. Figure out what works best for you and your family, and keep it all together in one handy kit.

10. Don’t forget the toothpaste. For some reason, even the nicest hotels rarely offer toothpaste. You nor your kids want to get caught with funky breath on the road.

Have a tip we missed? Tweet it to us at @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)