Today I am at home packing the car.
This week I am taking you on my "Last Minute Road-Trip Adventure!" This evening my family will leave for northern Massachusetts; the trip is three days long. We will leave tonight and be back home on Thursday. So far, all I have are my lists; I am sharing them in the hopes that they may help you walk that difficult line between overpacking and accidentally leaving essentials behind. I have also included some expert tips, to save you from some of the common pitfalls I have encountered!
- When packing I start with clothes in case I need to do laundry because it is so irritating to find that out at the last minute.
- Always pack for one more day than your trip. This is enough margin for error to get you to a laundromat in case of delay or emergency
- Think outfits: pack according to the day. Especially if you are using packing cubes.
- Always bring two bathing suits per person so your swimwear has a chance to dry completely.
- Organize your packing list by category and not by person. You will save time doing all the clothes, meds, etc. at one time.
- For my toddler:
- 3 PJs
- 6 underpants (because we’re potty training… of course!)
- socks & sneakers (she'll likely wear the sandals she wears in the car, but if the weather changes or we end up doing something more active, I want her to have proper footwear)
- 6 outfits (short sleeve shirts and shorts/skirts)
- For my big girl:
- 4 outfits
- 4 underpants
- 2 swimsuits
- 1 PJ
- 2 pairs of socks
- sandals (just in case she gets too hot, normally she wears her Converse black and white star sneakers everywhere)
- For myself:
- 3 outfits
- 2 extra t-shirts (since I often become the human handiwipe!)
- 3 underpants
- Work out stuff: sports bra, sneakers, shorts, socks and blackberry headphones (who knows, maybe I’ll get out for 40 minutes and use the hotel gym and rock out on my Pandora!)
- 1 PJ (I always think, what would I want to be seen in by other hotel guests if I’m running for my life and we all end up in the parking lot so I always pick something modest).
- For my husband:
- I make it a rule not to pack for him. If he leaves out his things I will put them in the suitcase or I will set out the things on his list and he can review and pack them up himself. This has saved us lots of traveling tension during our 10 years of marriage.
On to the next category:
Tip: Target has an extensive section of travel size products and empty bottles. I tend to buy the empty bottles and fill them myself. It’s just a little more cost effective, but sometimes for the sake of time I’ll just grab what they have off the shelves.
- Hair Stuff:
- brush & comb
- detangler (with two little girls, there is lots of tangly hair)
- rubber bands & clips (to coordinate with packed outfits)
- shampoo & conditioner for my kids (I can use the hotel stuff no problem, but it will sting eyes, and my kids have really sensitive skin so they’ll end up with rashes on top of the stingy eyes… not fun)
- contact lenses & solution
- toothbrushes & pastes (I look forward to one toothpaste travel!)
- mommy and daddy paste
- big girl paste
- baby paste
- my white strips
- I (of course) have my entire travel anti-aging regimen, which I will not leave home without any more.
- travel baby soap for the kids to wash their faces, this way they can do it themselves and not worry about getting it in their eyes.
- soap (again I’m good with the stuff at the hotel for me, but my kids will get dry skin and other irritations from it so I bring a travel bottle full of their soap from home).
- Boys, look away! You’re not going to want to know this. Ok ladies, I’m going to get a little personal. There is a great product called Always Clean. It’s an individually wrapped sanitary wipe. I’m not into these when I’m doing my day to day on the home front, but I love them for travel. It’s just one little way to feel a little fresher when you’ve been sitting in a car, plane or train for hours and hours.
- razor (let’s face it, two days of summer fun is about as much as I can get away with and not bring my razor).
- Meds & Sundries:
- sun block
- aloe (in case something goes wrong on the sun block front)
- anti-itch cream
- children’s antihistamine
- children’s fever reducer
- vitamins for all of us
- mini Desitin (it comes in little packs, which I bring just in case. If I’m going into a trip with a diaper rash I bring the biggest tube I can travel with!)
- Mommy meds (Advil, Tylenol, Tums, ect.)
- without sounding like a total commercial, I will be packing my Travel-Tot childproofing kit. If you look at my list there are lots of things that my kids should not be handling. In a hotel room, I feel most comfortable when I can hang my toiletries kit in the closet and use one of the items from my kit to lock the closet. This gives me 3 layers of protection between my children and the things I don’t want them to touch.
A few final items:
My girls have special rolling bags just for travel. My toddler has the zebra bag and my big girl has her princess bag. They are required to pick 1 snuggle buddy and I am allowed to pack two activities for each of them. And, they are allowed to pack the rest themselves. I am always tickled to see what goes into the bags after I make my selections. (I secretly have a bag of tricks that I keep with me to help keep them occupied!)
- My bag of tricks:
- dinosaur sticker book
- 2nd Grade (the grade my oldest will be in this fall) workbook
- Thomas doodle and drawing book
- 1000 reusable (because they barely stick and will come off anything) animal stickers
- Disney Fairies Color Wonder Coloring Pad and markers (which I bought unopened at a garage sale for 50 cents…SCORE!)
- 2 Imaginetics magnet play sets (which I picked up for free after the garage sale because they didn’t sell during the day…SCORE…AGAIN!!)
- 2 Highlights Puzzlemania magazines for my older one
- Leapster (which I will hold for extreme circumstances)
- finger puppets
- 4 little snacks
- potty pack (I have an old Lancôme make-up bag that I keep a package of Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, Dora toilet seat covers, and small package of travel wipes).
Tip: I have two girls, so we have different potty needs than we would if we had boys. And after several trips of pee-pee soaked shoes and socks I found “Potty on the Go;” my kids call it “the emergency potty.” It’s a small little fold out seat that comes with special absorbent lined bags. It folds down small so it’s easy to keep in the car and the bags make waste easy to contain and dispose of while you’re on the road. I keep a few gallon size zip lock bag with the potty to toss at the next rest stop.
Two big things are happening on this trip. 1. This is the first trip I am not packing the portable DVD player; I really want to start teaching my kids to find ways to entertain themselves. (I will also be packing extra Advil for myself... I’ll let you know how it goes!) 2. We are not packing the pack-n-play; instead we are using a portable bed rail... it should be interesting.