For any of you going on trips this summer (probably this would mean ALL of you), there are some GREAT tips on packing and planning and making your trip more of a vacation and less of a hassle right now at The Power of Moms. Click here to see everyone's great ideas. And here are a few ideas I've figured out over the years (or stolen from others) that work really well for us:
- Only bring 2 outfits per child (plus an extra shirt or two for younger kids) and plan on doing some laundry somewhere if at all possible. The less "stuff" we're lugging around, the better. And if the kids' clothes are only a little dirty, I spot clean. Super clean clothes just aren't worth the bother on vacations.
- Pack kids underwear and socks all together in a smaller bag inside the larger bag so it's easy to find. Pack all the pj's together (again in a smaller bag inside the larger bag) - you often need them so kids can put on their pjs in the car and fall asleep in the car and easily transfer when you arrive.
- Pack a bag with just everyone's sweatshirts (separate from the rest of the stuff) - then they can just stay in the car for when you might need them.
- If you need Sunday/dress-up clothes, pack everyone's Sunday stuff (shoes, socks and clothes) in one garment/hang-up bag. You'll just need that stuff one time so it's great to have it all together and put it away all together when you're done with it.
- When all 7 of us travel, we bring this: a large duffle with all the kids' clothes (2 sets of clothes each, a bag of 3 pairs of underwear and 3 pairs of socks each, a bag of everyone's pjs), a small bag each for me and my husband, a garment bag with everyone's dress-up clothes (if needed). My husband and I can carry all this in one load, easily. Works great. Of course, we used to have a stroller and port-a-crib (or two) and quite a few diapers and wipes stuffed into the kids' duffle bag - but still, we travelled relatively light and that made trips nice.
- Snacks in the car: we have a small collapsible cooler that we fill with fruits and veggies and a few other snacks. We give out the fruits and veggies to tide people over until a meal break, to be sure they're getting better nutrition than fast food or convenience stores alone can provide, and to keep them hydrated. Looslis don't get to drink very much in the car because drinks=bathroom breaks and we try to minimize those. If they're thirsty, an apple or carrot helps without making the bathroom break need imminent!
- We play lots of games in the car and try to hold off on DVDs until we're really needing them. We play "I Spy" and the alphabet game. We tell stories where each person adds onto a silly story. I read from chapter books or we listen to books on tape. Sometimes I sit in the back so I can do story time or a fun game and one of the big kids sits in the front with Jared to enjoy a little one-on-one with him.
Add your own ideas here or add them to the Question of the Week at Power of Moms!