Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. I love to check places off of my bucket list. My husband and I are not really big into going to the same place twice. We love to check the place off and head to a new place. I love family trips, girls trips, and couples trips, but I dread packing and unpacking. Since having a pretty large family of 6 and traveling almost once a month I have gotten pretty good at packing and packing lightly. Here are some of my ways to ‘lighten’ your load in more ways than one!
- My first priority when packing is making sure all of my laundry is done. I love to start out with every bit of our clothes in our closets so I know what I am working with. Bonus points are when you get home, you only have the laundry of the dirty clothes you took on your trip! Such a WIN WIN.
- I always start with my kids. There are a lot of them and I just think they are easier. I do each child individually. I lay out each child’s complete outfit from pants, underwear, shirt, and bows or accessory for each day. That way I am able to see exactly what they will be wearing and there won’t be anything missing when I get there.
- After all my kids clothes are all laid out, I then pick one pair of shoes to pack and leave one pair out to travel in for each child. I pick a pair that will go with everything, extremely versatile. For example, for my girls in the summer I pack either a silver or gold pair of sandals and then they are able to wear either a tennis shoe or flip flop. This keeps the packing light. No one needs a different pair of shoes for everyday you are on vacation.
- After I am all finished with dividing up the kids, I take each day’s outfit and I roll it up together. That way it saves space and when I get to my location each day is already separated out and it makes it easy for the kids to grab what they are wearing for the whole day. I even do this with the underwear and pajamas. Rolling the clothes will help keep them less wrinkled in the suitcases as well. Also each of my kids have their own small roller suitcase. If we are going somewhere for longer periods they each bring their own and yes they carry it themselves. If we are going for a shorter time I put two kids in one suitcase.
- My kids also get to each pack a backpack with a neck pillow, earphones, kindle, and a travel blanket. If it fits in the backpack it is welcome otherwise it doesn’t come. I hate extra crap so it must all fit nicely in. My husband packs a backpack for he and I. He travels pretty often for work and used to take an iPad and his MacBook but now he brings two Microsoft Surfaces which are the best to travel with because it is versatile like an iPad but functions completely like a laptop. He also brings one of those battery pack chargers that can charge different USB devices. And if you are flying… don’t forget your earphones!! (Maybe I can get my husband to write a future post on tips for flying…he has it down pat).
- Now on to myself. I like to do me last, that way I am not worrying about anyone else’s stuff…they are done and check marked! With my stuff if I don’t need to pack any really nice clothes, I do just the same as I do with my kids. If I am packing nice clothes I get the plastic from the dry cleaners and lay a piece I cut (the length of the suitcase) between the clothes so they do not get dirty.
- I bag my shoes in either a shoe bag, another duffle bag, or a ziploc baggy that way they do not touch my clothes. I also try to keep my shoes to only 2 pairs, the one I will wear the day I leave and pack only one other pair. I try to pack neutral color shoes that can go with everything.
- If I am packing hats, I flip those upside down and pack things inside the hat to keep the form as well as use up that wasted space.
- During the trip, my husband loves to unpack his stuff in the hotel rooms and uses their dressers and closet space. I love that he does this because our family then uses his suitcase to put all of our dirty clothes. On the last night, I try to put any clean clothes and bathroom supplies (hair products & toothbrushes, etc.) into one suitcase and separate the dirty clothes into the other suitcases. By doing this, you arrive home exhausted and you can just throw the suitcases in the laundry room and take the other ones directly to the closet or bathrooms to empty out.
I know this has nothing to do with packing but it will help with the unpacking. Before you leave on vacation always leave your home spotless. When you think that you need that ‘vacation after the vacation’ you will feel so much happier and relaxed to have less work to do after coming home from a wonderful vacation.
Happy packing and happy vacationing! Now go plan your next getaway!
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