Because 85% of parenting is yelling “GET IN THE CAR!!!!”, this one’s for all the parents that pack their suitcase last.

Most of us parents don’t struggle with the packing part, it’s all of the “other” stuff. Here’s a free printable to make sure that you can enjoy your trip without worrying about things you forgot on the home front.

Download and Print the PDF: MOM’S TRAVEL CHECKLIST


As far as the packing goes, don’t pack for your kids. Tell them how many nights you’ll be gone and let them have some ownership of the preparation process. Ride out the excitement and anticipation of the trip!

I always ask the kids to lay everything out as outfits and then call me when they think they’re ready. Usually, I’ll make a couple adjustments to their choices and explain why so that they understand the rationale behind the decision. If you do it for them, they’ll never learn. If they argue with me, I explain that I will not buy them a _____ on the trip because they chose not to pack it.

Another packing hack I like is with medication and/or vitamins. Instead of bringing a gnarly plastic bag where pills go to die a dusty and unidentified death – I made this handy pill box with labels. It allows me to pack a variety of medication in a neat way. I ordered this little case off Amazon and I printed off the labels, cut them out, and brushed Modge Podge over them. (My PDF matches this linked pill case only – not sure the sizing will be right on another one).

The only thing I bring beyond this little case is a few bandaids in my makeup bag. Here’s the downloadable PDF Travel Medication Labels of the mini logos for my pill case below – a label maker or sharpie will do just fine though!

**Remember if you’re going abroad – you’ll need all prescription medication in it’s original bottle with the prescription name on the outside matching your own;) You’ll be forced to throw away that medication if not – including birth control. Vacation conception is a great story….buuuut

Happy vacay prepping!

Mama Hickey


I’m always hesitant to download an app because I so rarely use 90% of the clutter that’s already on my phone. However, the following 3 apps not only made the cut – they are too useful not to share:

  1. My favorite and I’d-be-lost-without-it app is TRIP IT.

Thanks to my Mom for this one. It’s the easiest thing ever and all of your trip details are stored without you ever having to upload them – yahtzee!! Whenever you make a reservation and receive a confirmation email, this free app will recognize that the reservation is travel related and will organize it for you. You do nothing.

When you look at TripIt, you’ll see that each hotel, flight, excursion, rental car, and anything else you want to upload is all there, in order by date with the full details of the reservation. No more searching  your inbox for confirmation numbers, TripIt has the phone number, addresses, and full location or flight details in a neat little timeline.

For my longer trips to Peru and to the East Coast, I was able to have all my train tickets, hotels, flights, and excursions in one place for all members of the family. I would have been printing out and carrying with me a folder or sifting through screenshots without this handy lil guy. I’d wake up every morning and check out what we were going to do without having to remember anything. Vacay mode: On.

If you want people to be able to keep track of you while you’re away,  you can send them your itinerary in 2 easy clicks. No-wifi? No problemo, it’s already uploaded in the app so you don’t have to worry about loosing access to anything.

There’s also “TripIt Pro” which keeps track of your flight status and will send you alerts. The Pro version also has a seat tracker to notify you if there’s a better seat on your flight as well as a reward points tracker. I’m too cheap to spring for the $49/year but I bet it doesn’t disappoint.

Also, it counts down how many days until your trip!! Nothing gets me more pumped than a good countdown.

Finally, the app stores all of your past trips so that you can reflect and recommend places when you get home. Download this now. You’re welcome.




This app is another winner for $Free.99! Mobile Passport is officially authorized by the Customs and Border Protection and processes at most major US international airports and some cruise ports. If you don’t have Global Entry, then Mobile Passport is the next best thing.


It will save you from finding a pen on the plane and filling out the paper customs form for you and your kids. This will be your own little family VIP moment because you’ll get your own security lane at the airport and you’ll jet past people scanning their passports with the classic confused traveler face (usually accompanied by my favorite: the “under the breath grumbling about processes” mumble).


Put yourself in a Benadryl coma on the plane, ignore the stewardess announcements, and once you start to taxi into the airport make about 3 clicks on this app for each family member and be done.


Keep your passports out and your QR code from Mobile Passport and boom, the whole family back in the US of A.


More Info on Mobile Passport






“Wait… 1800 Costa Rican Colónes – what the whaaaat?! Oh that’s like 3 bucks.”


This app will make shopping easier as it’s up-to-date with the market exchange rate for almost any conversion you’ll need. Forget mental math, I need to know how much is this 100% alpaca *hat is going to set me back!


This will also monitor conversions and  you can set up to 10 currencies that you want to follow. Never have to say “How many dollars is this?!”


CNN Travel has a great list of other handy apps to help you find bathrooms, pack smart, map a run in a new city, and more. Check it out here.

Any “must have” travel resources you use? Please leave a comment.

*Sadly, I did not buy this amazing hat. I did buy an alpaca rug that I covet.