I've learned to be prepared so I'm ready for every second that I can get some down time. Make the most of the flight or ride to the hotel, and imagine yourself in a relaxing atmosphere, be pampered, and enjoy special treats. This is your vacation, so make the most of it from the very beginning. Think of your carry-on as a magical bag that you can pull tricks out of when the need arises. Here's just a start of what you'll want to bring.
The Carry-On Bag(s)
Virtual Hint: Make the investment and get each member of the family their own. Starting from when my boys were young, they each had their own carry-on bag. This not only taught them responsibility for their individual belongings, but saved my husband and me from always having to retrieve the boys "wants" from our own carry-on bags.
Maui Jim's Snapback is another classic style known for extreme comfort. These are my oldest son's favorite sunglasses since they have hidden rubber nose pads and spring hinges. They also come in a variety of fashionable colors. You can go with basic black or be bold with green stripe (shown) or even tortoise.
Okay, so maybe I do have a different pair for each occasion. But these Kupuna sunglasses are perfect for a day at a luxury resort or on a cruise ship. They are lightweight and the rubber sleeves are such a fun splash of color.
As for your younger family members, Maui Jim's Baby Beach sunglasses are perfect for smaller faces (and YES, they come in cool Blue Hawaii, too.) I've always purchased high-quality sunglasses to protect my children's eyes. It never hurts to start early to teach the importance of effectively blocking the sun. Plus, kids love having their own flair!
Soft Scarf or Wrap
Have the kids throw a lightweight blanket in their own carry-on. You'll be surprised how much they'll actually use it to get comfortable in a plane seat or at your final destination.
Let me know what special items you bring in your carry-on for family travel. I'd love to hear!