We recently took the boys on our first family beach vacation to Turks and Caicos.  The weather was perfect, the resort was great (more on that in another post), and the beach was simply unbelievable.  Toddler tantrums aside, we all had a great time.  But there are a few things I wish I had packed that would have made the trip go a little more smoothly...
1. More sunscreen!  Because Chuckles was just under the 6-month mark, I didn't want to put any ol' sunscreen on his precious, perfect skin, but I was too nervous about burns to avoid it altogether.  In the end, I settled on a tube of Green Beaver sunscreen.  It's certified organic and people swear by their kid's line.  Of course, when I went to our local supplier, they were all out.  But the salesperson said that the regular stuff has all the same ingredients, just a different package.  So I bought one tube and went on my merry way.  One tube was not enough for the 4 of us for 6 days.  By the end, we were rationing it.  You don't want to ration sunscreen, so pack twice as much as you think you'll need!

2. Sunshades.  We rented a car from Grace Bay Car Rentals for our trip.  They were fabulous and provided car seats at no extra cost.  Their promotional material says "Children's safety should not be a revenue source."   I couldn't agree more and was completely bowled over by this, so booked my car without price comparing.  Turns out, they also offer the most reasonable rates, so it was win-win.  However, we definitely could have used sunshades for the windows.  The infant seat didn't have the hood, so the poor babe had the sun directly in his face a lot of the time, as his seat is still rear-facing.  Those cheapie cling-on jobbies would have saved our kids a lot of discomfort and me a lot of worry.   They'll be at the top of my list next time!

3. Bug spray!  As usual, I was the only one who got eaten alive, so at least my neglectful parenting didn't lead to either of the kids suffering from being bitten, but I sure could've used some repellent!  There are a LOT of mosquitoes in Turks & Caicos.  Stock up on the Muskol, people!

4. Some bubble wrap or an empty jar.  Listen, if you're going to go to Turks & Caicos - or any island, really - you're going to spend some time on the beach and will probably pick up a seashell or two, or twenty.  You may even go diving for conch and want to take home the shell.  Do yourself a favour and bring some sort of vessel in which to transport all those lovely shells home!  I had to take one of my husband's favourite t-shirts and wrap the conch in it, while trying to carefully nestle it in the suitcase and hope it wouldn't get damaged in transit.  (It didn't - a miracle!) And I had to use a bunch of empty baby food jars to transport the rest!  Note: make sure you've dried your shells in the sun for a couple days before packing them, or you risk your entire suitcase smelling like something died in there!

5. DVDs.  I know this may be difficult to believe, but even JR got bored of playing with the iPad and, had I packed a movie or two, we may have avoided a tantrum or two.  When travelling with kids on different schedules, it is inevitable that there will be some downtime spent in your room. I had packed some books and toys and the iPad, but that wasn't enough.  The resort had a small DVD library, but none of the titles were toddler friendly. 

I'm sure I could list a million other things that could have made our lives easier at some point during the week, but those are the things that stood out for me.  Please feel free to add to the list of things you wish you had packed!  Together we can build one mother of a packing list!  (My underpacking nature shudders to think how many pieces of luggage we'd need to check!)