1. Start thinking about packing a month in advance. Do you have enough luggage? Do the kids need new shoes? What will you and your kids wear? Are there holes in anyone's wardrobes?
2. Make a packing list also a month in advance. That way you know what you're missing and what you need to buy.
3. Do most of your travel shopping online. It takes a minute to fill up an online shopping cart vs. running from store to store. Plus, online prices seem to always be better. A few things I got for our trip: a few of these carry-ons, a new pair of leggings for me (I live in these when I travel), obsessed with these simple dresses when it's hot out, both my sons needed several pairs of shorts + some summer clothes for my daughter: a dress, a shirt, and a jacket.
4. Make a travel art bag. These are magic, they come in handy for planes, car, downtime in the hotel + restaurants. Start with a cosmetic travel bag- something like this, this or this. Fill it with notebooks, pens, crayons, coloring books, + tons of stickers. Easy to carry + fits a lot of stuff.
5. Pick up a few plastic cosmetic bags. I like to fill them with summer essentials. Bag one: sunscreen + small wet brush. Bag two: medicine (never leave home with Tylenol for everyone in your family.) Bag three: basic toiletries (toothpaste, q-tips, baby shampoo...etc.) The key is to re-stock but never unpack the cosmetic bags, then you always have everything ready to go.
6. Packing cubes! I use these for shoes, keeping kids clothes separate, pajamas, underwear...etc. I LOVE how packing cubes keep everything organized.
7. Don't forget the laundry bag. Dirty laundry is a huge part of traveling. Make sure it has a home. I really like this simple mess laundry bag.
8. My last tip, never leave home without a swimsuit for everyone in the family! I don't care if there is no pool. Or it will be raining. Or whatever. Just bring them. Always! Swimsuits don't take up that much space and you don't want to spend precious vacation hours shopping for them.