Home » Advice » Advice on Family Travel » The Dreaded Part of March Break Planning, Packing, and Preparation
March Break

The Dreaded Part of March Break Planning, Packing, and Preparation

by Mary Chong
This article may contain affiliate links. This means that clicking on or purchasing products we recommend through a link may earn us a small commission. For more information read our disclaimer page.

Share this article with your friends!

We all enjoy March break—our toes in the sand or relaxing by the poolside, but the planning, organization, and dreaded packing can lead up to wanting to literally pull your hair out

March Break is that time of year when Canadian families head south to escape the cold. It’s a welcome break between the Christmas and summer holidays, but are you ready for it?

To make your preparation easier, we’ve pulled together a few tips to consider, so you can hopefully enjoy a stress-free, relaxing vacation, on the slopes or in the sun.

March Break Planning, Packing, and Preparation

Make a List

Life gets overwhelming pretty quickly if you keep all those millions of “things to do” in your head! I’m a firm believer of THE LIST. I used to keep lists on various notepads designated for work / home / groceries / packing etc. Problem was that my notepads never seemed to be where I needed them and I would start putting home tasks on my work notepad. Now, I use a bullet journal system and keep all my lists in 1 journal book. Easy peasy and everything is all in one place.

Make a travel itinerary.

In the movie, Father of the Bride, the Dad (George) said, “I used to think a wedding was a simple affair. Boy and girl meet, they fall in love, he buys a ring, she buys a dress, they say I do. I was wrong. That’s getting married. A wedding is an entirely different proposition.” The same holds true for travelling.

Planning the event in advance, specifically by creating a travel itinerary can help you consider what you want to do, and overall, save you a lot of time and headache. For instance, if you are heading south for warmer weather, you may want to spend a day or two at a theme park, but also a day at the beach or just sitting by the pool. If you’re travelling with other people as well, creating a travel itinerary gives everyone the opportunity to agree on what you are doing before you leave.

Although there may be last-minute changes or requests, at the least, you have a structure for what your days will entail. Following find a sample itinerary for you to use and modify. Trust me, there is no greater pleasure than when someone asks you, “What’s for lunch?” or “What are we doing tonight?” than being able to simply point to the list!

Beach towel

Create excitement for the trip.

The last thing any parent wants to hear on vacation is: “I’m bored!” Showing the kids what you added to your travel itinerary, as well as pictures and videos of the adventures you are about to undertake, will not only create structure for your trip, but it will also give you the opportunity to get your kids interested. There is no greater joy in travel planning than when the kids are excited to do what you’ve worked so hard to plan.

Develop a ‘Before we leave’ pre-travel list.

No one wants to go home, tired, after a vacation to wilted plants or a driveway filled with snow. The saying goes, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”—and this couldn’t be more true than when you are planning for a trip. Creating a ‘Before we leave’ list can help you remember to water the plants, call the cat sitter, ask your neighbour to shovel snow or mow the lawn while you’re away. Although we all hope it doesn’t happen to us while travelling, god forbid, someone in your family gets sick—and you forget to buy travel insurance.

Check out: My Pre-Travel Checklist – Don’t Leave Home Without It

Make a March break packing list.

The (travelling) devil is in the details. There is probably nothing more stressful during a vacation than realizing you forgot something as simple as a toothbrush. Be sure to compare your list to the travel itinerary you developed. For instance, if you are going to the beach, you may want to pack swimsuits, shovels and buckets for the kids, as well as sunscreen, and beach towels. No one wants to arrive at the airport’s rental car stand, then realize they forgot to pack their driver’s licence.

Medication / Vaccinations

Don’t take chances when it comes to your health and make sure that you have all your vaccinations up-to-date. You may also wish to visit a Doctor specializing in Travel Medicine depending on where you plan on travelling. In terms of Medication, always bring more than you need in case of delays or emergencies.


Give your contact information to relevant people.

Create a document that outlines the address and phone number for where you are staying as well as how to contact you. Give the document to the important people in your lives (parents, house sitters, kennels). Similarly, it is a good idea to give each person in your group the contact information of your resort/hotel location and phone number/your cell phone numbers, if they get separated or get lost.

Notify the credit card company and get some cash

You are going to need some spending money on your holiday. While driving to Florida, Calculated Traveller’s Founder had her credit card cancelled because she was buying gas in different states and the company assumed her card was stolen.

Get your car tuned up

If you are going on a road trip make sure that your car is tuned up, check your fluids and that everything is road worthy.

Check out our Road Trip Car Check List

Bring travel maps and a GPS.

Before you leave, print maps and/or plan to bring your GPS so you know where you are going and aren’t wandering aimlessly, and wasting time that you could spend at your destination.

Read our article What your GPS doesn’t know may hurt you!

Passport and Identification

You can’t travel anywhere these days without a passport. Make sure it is still valid. Be aware that many countries require that your passport be valid for a specified length of time prior to the date of entry.

Technology / Cell Phone

Staying connected when we are at home is one of those things we take for granted. Wi-Fi can be slow and unsecure and roaming charges can add up quickly if you don’t have a plan.

Check airline restrictions

Each airline allows for a different number of bags to check and/or carry on as well as the weight restrictions for each bag. For instance, for the last trip we booked, the airline only allowed us to carry on one bag that can fit under the seat in front of us. If a bag must be put into the overhead bin, they charge $35 more per bag. The last thing you want to do when you are at the airport is to unpack a bag or pay because it is over in weight or size.

Sit back, relax

Once you arrive at your destination, the hard part is over, so now you can sit back and relax, drink in hand, knowing that the preparation you made means that you can now truly enjoy your March break vacation!

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” —Ernest Hemingway

Please feel free to comment or add any additional tips or advice below that you have for other travellers.

Share this article with your friends!


Allison March 3, 2013 - 5:44 pm

Ms Humphreys you once again have given our family information that we can actually use and not an article we just toss to the side. Please continue to write we look forward to it

Mary March 3, 2013 - 6:00 pm

Thanks Allison for your comment….its great to hear that the information provided was valuable.


Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept the Policy Read the Policy