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As we gear up for annual family spring break trips to campgrounds or Galveston beaches, it’s important to build a checklist of key essentials. Before you zip up those suitcases and pack up the car, make sure to secure these six must-have items and ensure that nothing stands in the way of your week of family fun.
Accidents are bound to happen when traveling with toddlers, or even dads. From spills to sunburns and cuts, it would be a miracle if no one experienced any of these during the trip. Having first aid kits, sunscreen and even a couple of backup shirts handy will make you the family hero, which is most likely already the case if you’re a mom. Whether you’re going on a road trip to the Blue Bell factory or catching a wave at Schlitterbahn, it’s never a bad time to make sure that you’re prepared for those unexpected mishaps.
Scroll ahead to check off our checklist of spring break essentials:
First Aid Kit
Sometimes having fun can unexpectedly cause minor cuts or bruises. Stay prepared by having a first aid kit in your car or tote bag to get your close ones patched up and ready to play again. One of the best places to snag a quality kit is the American Red Cross with kits such as the deluxe family kit ($41) with 115 pieces, or the be ready cross ready kit ($26) as a basic starter. If you’re aiming for a lively kit with fun prints, Band-Aid has a portable build-your-own-first aid kit ($5) that comes with a colorful designer bag and bandages, as well as brands like Neosporin, Benadryl, and Motrin.
Between making sandcastles at the beach, shopping at outdoor malls or making historical stops on a road trip, spring break will be well spent in the sun. A good sunscreen can help shield those heat rays and protect your skin with a sunny glow instead of burning redness. One of the top brands safe for babies and kids is Neutrogena’s spray on wet skin sunscreen spray ($11), which is oil-free and works on both dry and wet skin. Another option is the mineral baby sunscreen with SPF45 by CeraVe that has a creamy consistency, is dermatologist-approved, and provides nourishing ceramides and hyaluronic acid for sensitive skin. For a sunscreen to add to an everyday beauty routine, Fenty Skin’s hydra visor moisturizer ($38) with SPF30 or invisible shield ($25) with SPF35 by Glossier is both moisturizing and add skin protection without the typical white residue.
When it comes to ice cream or juice, spills happen. Instead of walking around with stains on your vacation tops, store a couple of backup shirts in your suitcase. Old Navy has great and affordable graphic tees for the whole family, including this children’s floral printed tee and unisex truck graphic, both $5, or vivid polo tee ($17) for men and blue ombre slub knit ($10) for women. If storing extra shirts takes up too much space, you can also utilize a portable detergent pen such as Tide to go ($5) to quickly clear barbecue sauce or grape juice stains without the hassle.
Lugging around extra storage isn’t always fun on vacation. Whether you’re hopping aboard rides at Kemah or the Rodeo Carnival, a fanny pack can hold everything you need to be hands-free. The ’90s bag has definitely improved in size and simplicity and has also gone designer since hanging around mom's hip. Lululemon’s everywhere belt bag ($38) and the Lola Hippy Fanny Pack ($28) by Madewell both have patterns with spring’s vivid color scheme and a square-like shape that offers more space to hold larger items. On the other hand, the Loewe mini gate bumbag ($1,550) and Bottega Venetta chain pouch belt ($2,160) have a luxe design, but in a smaller size. If you’re aiming for affordable simplicity, the Fifth Avenue by JanSport has the classic style of a fanny pack, both lightweight and spacious, available in monochromatic colors or prints for $17.
There’s nothing like great tunes to get the good times going. Whether you’re having a picnic at Discovery Green or hitting the tides in Galveston, enjoy your vacation with classic singalongs or your dad’s favorite songs from back in the day. According to Wirecutter by the New York Times, the Wonderboom 2 ($100) by Ultimate Ears was rated the best speaker of the year for its clear audio, Bluetooth capability, and durability after surviving a 5-foot drop into the water. If you’re aiming for a lot of walking, the JBL Clip 3 ($50) is both affordable and small, but packed with powerful sound. Plus, you can customize the speaker with a photo of the kids, the family dog, or the company logo.
No matter where you’re headed for spring break, hydration is the ultimate essential. And while purchasing cases of water could be an option, reusable water bottles are both ideal and super fun. Nowadays, you can find water stations or fountains at most places of interest, which makes a refill a breeze. For a basic yet durable bottle for kids, Amazon is loaded with options such as the Bubba Flo ($10) that’s BPA-free, leakproof, and easy to grip. For something that’s more upscale, the Cleo ($28) by BKR has a minimalist design and is available in aesthetically pleasing colors. However, a portable compact lid is a separate piece.
For adults, check out our list of the top 10 water bottles for every type of Houstonian.