As I mentioned in my December goals, we’re getting ready to head out on a family vacation. I also might have mentioned, I’m a little stressed about it. So, in order to help alleviate some of that stress, I’m trying to get my packing done early.
As we all know, when the family goes on vacation, mom doesn’t just pack for herself. At least in our family, I pack for all the children, and then I pack all the miscellaneous items (toothbrushes, deodorant, socks, wipes) that everyone else forgets, but that we all use.
So, I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to help you get ready for your next trip. Some tips are geared for an airplane, but most can be used for any type of trip. Even if you aren’t a great traveler, like me, at least the packing will be a lot easier.
I’m a huge list maker. It helps me to write things down, so that I can remember. There’s also that satisfaction of crossing things off those lists.
So, in regards to packing, I make two different lists:
List 1: What I need to pack
List 2: What I need to purchase
In regards to packing, I make one big list for everyone, and I write everything down. From underwear to toothpaste to chargers to stuffed animals.
Then, I look through that list and figure out if we need anything.
For example, we have travel toothpaste, but no travel deodorant. I also have to test out our headphones, and if there aren’t enough working sets, I need to purchase those too. I’ve actually already added them to my store list because I can always return them, if ours do work.
Even if you don’t go back through your lists and cross everything off, the act of writing things down really helps me remember.
Before the Packing
At least a week before our trip, I like to make sure everything is clean and ready to go. So, the laundry process begins.
I find clothing that I think we might take, and make sure it is washed. I then take it out of the regular rotation, so I won’t be scrambling to wash anything at the last minute.
Finally, I take those possible clothes and put them where the kids won’t take them. Kids are sneaky.
I also locate all of our suitcases and travel gear. Everything needs working zippers and no rips or holes.
I find chargers for all the devices were bringing. (side note: Why doesn’t anyone ever keep the charger with the device?! Also, why can’t everything use the same kind of charger?) Anyways, I like to charge everything at least the day before.
The Actual Packing
Finally, it’s time to get down to business.
My husband can pack in about a half hour. He just grabs a bunch of clothes, throws them in a bag, and he’s good to go.
I like to plan out each outfit, and not be rushed. So, I start a couple of days before we leave. That way I’m not overwhelmed, since I’m packing for almost all of us.
I start with the boys, then pack my own suitcase, and finally all of our toiletries. I pack the toiletries and some snacks in my carry-on bag. Plus, a couple empty, reusable water bottles. We can fill them once we get through security at the airport.
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I got some coloring books from the Dollar Spot at Target, new crayons, and some books from Half Price Books. These things do not necessarily have to make the return trip with us, if we don’t have space. There are always those little free libraries everywhere, and the coloring books can be tossed. Just don’t tell the boys!
I”m not sure where I first saw it, but I really like rolling up all the clothes before packing them. It saves space, and keeps them from getting all wrinkled. I pack the clothes together in outfits on one side of the suitcase, then pajamas, socks, and underwear on the other side. I DON’T roll the underwear!
Since I pack ahead of time, I like to do one last weather check, and one last review of what I’ve packed the night before. I tend to over-pack, so this gives me a chance to take a few items out.
What I Pack
I’m not going to get too specific, but I do have a few tips when it comes to what to pack.
I do like to pack the boys cute outfits, but I also don’t take all new stuff. For example, I’m taking all old pajamas, and if they get even worse on the trip (my boys are rough on their jammies…holes in the toes, knees, etc.) we’ll just throw them out before coming home. More room for souvenirs!
I do the same thing with toiletries. I bring all our current toothbrushes, my oldest hair brush, make-up that’s almost done, and throw it out before returning.
Also, no matter where we’re going, I always have at least one sweatshirt and sweatpants. You may be heading to 90 degree weather, but things can change at the last minute.
I also pack for comfort, rather than fashion. My boys clothes are all comfortable, so this one is more for me. We all bring comfy shoes. Even though I’d prefer to bring one cute pair, I know I’ll survive without them.
We’re all sleeping in our clothes the night before, so we can just roll out of bed and into the car. Our flight leaves early!
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As most of you know, I’m a little bit of a germ-a-phobe. Of course, I just read an article about how dirty airports and planes are, so I’ve armed myself. Not only do I have Wet Ones to wipe hands off, but I’m bringing a soft pack of Clorox wipes to wipe off handles, seats, and trays.
If people judge me, I’m perfectly fine with that. We’ve gotten pinkeye , ear infections, and the flu on vacation, so I’m not taking any chances.
Plus, the boys got their flu shots last week in preparation.
So, I think we’re good to go!
How do you pack for a trip? What is your most helpful trip?