As summer is gearing up, I wanted to discuss a topic near and dear to the mother of a large family. Vacations.
Packing for a family of 9 is no easy task. I am not a super organized person to begin with, and it definitely doesn’t come naturally to me. Those around me namely my husband wishes that were not the case, but hey I have my own list for him. I am just kidding.
When we are getting ready for a trip, this is usually the prime opportunity for stress paralyzation to kick in.
If you missed my previous blog about dealing with Stress paralyzation I define it as When you are so overwhelmed with your current to-do list that you can only sit and scroll through your Facebook feed.
We have all been there when we have too many things to do, and we lack the ability just to focus on one and get that thing done. Packing does this for me! I procrastinate until the very last minute and then I’m crazy. I have learned the hard way more than I’d care to talk about that this is not a good plan.
A couple of years ago I decided that I wasn’t going to be the victim any longer and this time I was going to have a plan. My game plan looked a little like this.
Start planning and even start packing way in advance. I’m talking weeks if not a month before. As soon as we determine where we are going, how long we will be gone and whether there will be a kitchen, available, I start making lists.
I have five main lists that I would like to cover in this post, food, clothing, car activities, must haves, and cannot forgets. I start a google docsor sheets because I can access them from anywhere and can add to, view or edit right from my phone as well as add other people in for say a multi-family getaway. I hope these lists are helpful as you look to spend time away from home this summer.
theOppermom’s 5 Vacation Lists
A lot of vacation we go on we are taking our food, or we are making our meals once we are there. Most destinations have higher food prices at grocery stores, so I like to get as much as I can beforehand. A lot of time I make the meals ahead of time and freeze them. You save a lot of money and have home cooked meals. I plan out my entire menu before making a list of what I need to buy before we leave as well as what we need when we get there.
If we are not going to have a kitchen available, then it is still nice to jump on and do some research before hand about dining out opportunities. Determining restaurants, looking for coupons and deals, as well as making reservations. It’s amazing what you can do from the comfort of your home.
This one is the one that drives me crazy. I get so overwhelmed packing clothes. I’m always afraid we won’t have enough or that I’m packing too much and of course with a family of our size we are always concerned about space. I have finally perfected this one. I know it sounds crazy, but I plan out each of my kids’ outfits before I’m ready to pack. I even decide the days in which they will be wearing them. There is a method to my madness keep reading.
When it comes time to pack I take my list for each of my kids and assemble the outfits. I have learned that rolling clothes truly does get you a lot more space. I roll each complete outfit together underwear, socks, shirt, and shorts the put a rubber band around them.
I then take all of Monday’s clothes both daytime and bedtime, for every kid and place them into a plastic bag within the suitcase. This method makes life so much easier because when Monday comes instead of messing up the entire suitcase, I pick out the “Monday” bag from the suitcase and everyone’s clothes are right there. I hand each kid a rolled up set of their clothes that already has everything they need for the day and done. No more messy hotel rooms with clothes scattered everywhere. This trick is super simple, and it works great. Let your list be your guide.
We do not even attempt flying with our crew so wherever we go it’s driving. I bought my kids car bins that work great. I get rectangular containers with clamped on lids that fit under the van seats. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest for these. I keep it pretty simple. Each kid can fill their bin. I put things such as coloring books, markers, travel size games, license plate game, and travel books full of car games and puzzles. I also found these journal type books where you ask each member of the family different questions and at the end you have a whole book of facts about each of your kids.
When all else fails, we have devices pre-loaded with movies and apps that will keep little people busy for a long time, though we do try to make them exercise their creativity before vegging out.
I’ve learned the hard way just to put everything down on paper, I mean digitally of course. On one vacation I forgot my hair straightener this for me is something that I thought was a no-brainer. I never leave home without it, but apparently this time I did. I had to wear a ponytail the entire vacation because without that one piece of equipment I look like a hot mess. So needless to say I put everything down that I need to take so that in times of crazy stress paralyzation the list does my thinking for me. I have this list easy accessible and at to it frequently for the day leading up to vacation.
This list is the master list it and contains all of the bags that I do not want to forget that I had previously packed. It is my final packing list for when it’s go-time. For example suitcases (how many there are and even what they look like), swim bag, food, locations, etc. This list helps me make sure we don’t forget a randomly packed bag that maybe didn’t make it to the front door.
When all is said and done I still usually forget something, no one is perfect, but these lists help tremendously. Also remembering that most things are replaceable once you get to your destination calms the nerves before the big day.
Remember the goal of a vacation is to relax hopefully and definitely, have fun with your crew. I know for me it can be a marathon getting going but having a plan helps my insanity level tremendously which in turn helps everyone around me have an easier time getting out of the house and enjoying ourselves once we get there.
Hope your summer fun is all it can be.