After taking dozens of trips with my family, you'd think that I would be an expert when it comes to packing. I wish that was the case. Truth be told, I detest packing for trips, and find it all kinds of stressful. Waiting until the last minute tp pack just doesn't fly with me. I take the entire week before we leave for a trip, and do different things on different days. Breaking up the packing helps me to stay organized and sane.
Start with the kids
I find that if I pack up the kids' stuff first, I then have time to concentrate on myself, and then the family essentials. I usually pack my son's clothes first. He is always eager to help me lay out his outfits, which I appreciate. Next, I move onto Baby S' things. For each of the kids, I lay out one outfit per day, grab a pair of undies and socks for each day, and depending on the length of the trip, I'll pack one or two pairs of jammies. Each kid gets at least 2 pairs of shoes, and I throw in a nice outfit, in case we go somewhere nice for dinner one night.
Don't forget the toys
The kids share a toy bag. It's a small to medium size bag, and they're allowed to fill it with a few toys for the trip. These toys are not to be played with in the car- they are to play with once we reach our destination. I try to make sure that they both have toys that will keep them entertained, and that we're not bringing along a lot of small pieces.
Move on to your own clothes, etc...
Once I have the kids' clothes and toys laid out, I begin to lay out my own clothing, shoes, and accessories. I pack one outfit per day, figure out which shoes I want to wear with those outfits, and I also lay my jewelry across my outfits, so that I can see the full outfit, making sure I haven't forgotten anything. I also take a photo of everything laid out, in case my hubby starts packing our suitcase before I have matched everything up. This trip is a mix of business and pleasure. so I am packing appropriate clothing for days at theme parks, casual day clothing, and then a couple of dresses for dinners and conference attire. After the outfits are chosen, I pull out undergarments, socks, etc.
Pack the beach or pool essentials
If going to a beach, pool, lake, etc., don't forget to back a beach or pool bag. I pack all of our swimsuits, sun shirts, water toys, wet bag, and sunscreen into one bag, and hubby always manages to squeeze our towels into it, too. He's pretty awesome.
Pack the family essentials
Next, I pack up the family essentials like toiletries, electronics, etc. I always start with the toiletries, packing everything we need including diapers, wipes, makeup, shampoo, soap, conditioner, other hair products, feminine products. I also pack medicines, supplements, first aid supplies, and the like. When it comes to electronics, laptops are essential, because I am always working while on the road. Tablets and phones get packed last, and we make sure to charge up LeapPads and the like the night before we leave. We're loving that we can now download select Netflix shows and movies and watch them offline. We choose a few to download before we hit the road, so we don't use data on the go.
Pack the car essentials
I always save the items that we need to be able to access in the car for the very last. I make sure we have toys and books or the kids- just a couple of toys to occupy them, and plenty of activity books. B is going to be working on his travel journal during our road trip. We make one for every summer road trip we take. You can find the instructions for our DIY Travel Journal here. Other things to pack in the car- tissues, hand wipes, extra napkins or paper towels, a trash bin or bag, music, devices, extra batteries, cold water, and snacks. If the kids will be sleeping or napping in the car, bring their pillows, a small blanket for each, and lovies, if they have any.
Hubby's stuff? Oh yeah...
Hubby packs his own stuff. If I have to pack for myself, the kids, the car stuff, and the family essentials, he can pack his own suitcase. That's compromise, I guess?
It's easy to overpack. I almost always overpack, because I don't want to have to buy something we've accidentally left at home. You know what, though- it's not the worst thing in the world. It happens, and the world won't come to an end if you forget something.
The most important thing is to remember that you're getting the heck out of dodge with your loved ones, and you're going to have a great time! Don't let the stress of packing get the best of you and sour your vacation before it starts.
What are some of your vacation packing tips?