1. Start early!
I try to start getting things ready about a week out from when we leave for our trip. Why you ask? Because I am not just packing one bag for myself..I am packing for myself, my child, 2 dogs and whatever we might need while on the road. I would be way too stressed out trying to do that a day or two before we leave.
2. Be Organized! Let me say that again...BE ORGANIZED!!!!
Make a list a few weeks out of everything you need. Include those things that you "just know you won't forget", because if it isn't on the list, chances are you will forget it! Section the list into groups for each person you are packing for, dogs, snack/other needs for the "in the car" portion of the trip. About a week out from your trip you should start packing the things you won't need between now and your trip. *I always measure out the dog food into zip lock bags for each day...this is the kind of thing to do a week out! I also like to start packing my son's bag around a week out. I get the clothing I know he doesn't need between now and then and start getting outfits together. Based off my list (that list comes in handy!) I set out the number of outfits I need and then once I have everything out on the bed, I pack the bag. Thankfully my son has a bed in his room he doesn't use yet so I can leave things laying out a couple days while I am getting things together. Most of us have enough clothing for our kids that we don't have to wait until the last minute to pack for them. I use zip lock bags for his socks, swim suit, and small items that may become hard to find in luggage.
|zip lock bags for small things.|
|Set outfits out so you can see what|
you are packing before it goes in the bag.
3. Save your stuff for last!
This may sound odd but if you get everyone and everything else out of the way first it will be less stressful packing your bag. Knowing everything else is done, you can focus on your stuff and not get distracted thinking about what else still needs packing.
4. Keep your list with you!
If you are going somewhere for more than a week and you think you may "spread out" while at the hotel or family members house...keep your list packed with you so you don't forget to bring something home with you (I told you that list gets used a lot!). put the list in an easy to find spot, like a purse or backpack so you know where to find it when it comes time to re-pack to head home.
5. Only bring what you need!
Since we are staying with my parents while away we don't need clothing for everyday, we can easily wash clothing. That right there help lessen the load we have to bring. I can also bring enough diapers to last a day or two and buy a box when I get down there for the time we are there. If you know you are going to be staying with family, take advantage of that and only pack the essentials. Staying with family? you don't need shampoo and body wash (most hotels have those things as well), you probably don't have to have your own hair dryer either, and can pack less clothes and wash.
6. Pack the car the night before you leave!
This one is key. If you are trying to be out there door at an early time, don't wait until the morning you leave to pack your car. Big mistake! Have everything you need in the car and anything you can't put in the car yet..leave on the kitchen counter/bathroom counter. Lay clothing out the night before (don't forget to wear comfortable clothing) so all you have to do is grab a shower and get dressed. No need to "find" something to wear. Have a quick breakfast planned, or something you can eat on the road. The biggest things that make people leave late are getting dressed and eating breakfast...so be prepared the night before! also, set your alarm 20 minutes or so earlier than you need to be up. If you like to snooze, don't set your alarm for the latest possible time to get up...you will wind up waking up late!
7. Pack the car to fit your needs while on the road!
For us, I will probably be sitting in the back seat with my son and one of the dogs. It works better if I am already back there and can easily get my son a snack or a toy he dropped rather than stopping several times for those things. Make sure your diaper bag and snack bag (or whatever bag you may need while driving/riding) is with you, not in the trunk under 3 other bags. The snack bag should be packed with enough snacks to get you to your destination and then a few more. That way in the event of whinny moments or you hit unexpected traffic, you have extras. We have an iPad that we will have some movies on for our little guy to enjoy (it's a 9 hr. drive!) while we are on the road. Make sure if you do that, you have chargers for the car and movies/shows your child will enjoy and you will not go crazy listening to for a couple hours!
8. Lastly, Enjoy your trip!
Don't sweat the small stuff and get frustrated when you hit traffic. Plan ahead and give time for the unexpected to happen, chances are it will! The more organized and prepared you are, the less stress you will be in when the unexpected does happen and the more you can enjoy your trip.
Until Next Time...