Sunday, August 30, 2015

Traveling With Kids - How I pack just enough

In real life, I've been called a pack rat.  I tend to hold on to items I don't currently need but feel I may need in the future. Like those beat up heeled dress boots that are too shabby for the office but were perfectly awesome for traversing through salty slush back in the winter when I needed nice boots for Rich's work dinner.  It was night, the restaurant was dark and no one could view the heels that had seen brighter, better days.  Even if they could have seen the heels, they would have been covered in that salty residue that lives on the winter shoes of all Northerners. 

This tendency to accumulate (unnecessary) items can easily bleed into packing but it's offset with my practicality and low maintenance attitude when it comes to travel.  Before I had kids, I was a slight over-packer, most definitely when it came to road trips.  Think about how easy it is to keep tossing items into the car, knowing that you won't have to deal with checked baggage.  When my friend, C, and I went to Maui in 1999, we had so much luggage we were barely able to move it ourselves.  And that was for a week's vacation.  (Life is completely different when you're single and childless.)  For this most recent road trip to Michigan, I wanted to pack on the lighter side.  I hate having the back of the van jam packed, crap falling out every time we open the door to retrieve something.

Example of items waiting to fall out.

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(Picture from 2012 Disney road trip)

I also dreamed of bringing the girls' bikes with us.  As in, cram the bikes in the back space.  There's a small park with a paved pathway near my grandparents' house and I thought daily bike rides would be a good way to burn off some energy.  Rich disagreed and to be practical, I finally relented.  We weren't going to be there long enough to warrant the transport of three bikes.

For the Michigan trip, which was a week long, I was able to fit all of my clothes and shoes in a carry-on size suitcase.  All of the girls' clothes and shoes were packed into a slighter (by only a few inches) larger suitcase.  I also have a small case ( 8x8x11) that I use to carry all of our toiletries and hair supplies.

Here's what I packed for each of the girls:
  • One outfit for each day - a pair of shorts and a summer top
  • Two summer dress - sometimes they like to change if we are going out to dinner
  • A pair of pants - in case we encountered a chilly night
  • One bathing suit 
  • Two pairs of pajamas
  • A hoodie for chilly restaurants - we left these in the van

We also followed the three shoe rule.  I read this in a travel/packing article and it makes sense.  Basically, there's no need to pack more than three pairs of shoes.  Here's what the girls and I packed:
  • A pair of sneakers
  • A pair of flip flops
  • A pair of sandals  

Road Trip Hotel Bag - I came up with this idea before one of our road trips to Disney.  When you're on the road and you know you'll be stopping overnight to sleep in a hotel, pack pajamas and your clothes for the next day in a smaller bag (the girls and I share) so that you don't have to lug multiple heavy suitcases in and out of the hotel.  It makes unloading and loading soooo much easier.  We used the hotel bag for this road trip too and it made life a little bit easier.  

Laundry - Okay, so here are my thoughts on laundry while on vacation.  Working full time, laundry is a huge headache for me.  It's really hard to run loads during the week so I end up cramming in all laundry over the weekends.  So I'm not a fan of laundry and because I'm not a fan of laundry, I have absolutely no desire to do any while I'm on vacation.  Sure, we could have packed half as much and then used the washer and dryer at my grandparents' house but really, why would I want to do that??    

Kids' Stuff - The girls are responsible for packing their entertainment/buddy bags.  They pack any stuffed animals they want to bring, book(s) to read and their iPods in one bag that they can carry.

They use these bags that Grammy gave them.
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(Picture also from 2012 Disney road trip.)  (Side note - I can't believe that was three years ago and how much my babies have grown!!) 

1 comment:

Andy Noremac said...

Excellent advice. Fellow packrat here - I can fill up the entire back of the car just for an overnight trip