I always look forward to family vacations. As much as it is stressful and packing for four people is extremely hard, I love the feeling of having that family bonding and just being away from the everyday hustle of life. I think it is the only time that I actually get a time out from doing house chores. I love that feeling that once in a while I could sit early in the morning and only think about going out.
But before we head off to the fun part there is always the preparation part that bugs me for months. A lot of times I work before my vacation and there is this dreadful feeling of packing and not bringing enough things when we leave the house. Since I have packed so many times, I learned a few tricks that made things easier for me this time.
1. Make a list
I know this is old school but many times we take for granted sitting down and just writing everything to remind ourselves and free our minds of worries. I love to write everything but there are times that I wrote so many things that I get disorganized and I don’t know where to find things that I previously wrote. So, this time I got a really nice notebook that is just a right size. The very first thing I do is I write my main to do list in no particular order and just add on things as I remember it. Then, I break it down to different categories with details, like what outfits to wear, the activities and things to bring.
2. Pack Ahead
Yes, this is very important. I remember I had so many vacations that I did not sleep the night before because I am still packing frantically. Although this is still a struggle for me, I actually start packing days before our trip. I don’t think rushing on the last minute packing for four people is a very good idea.
3. Use Luggage organizers
I became a big fan of organizers when I had kids. Their stuff are too small that you can easily misplace it and even worse you tried packing everything perfectly and end up in a mess as soon as you get to your destination. So, to save me from tears and stress I use luggage organizer cubes and put my kids outfits on separate cubes with labels in it if I cannot see what is inside. I usually use the mesh materials so it is easier to find things. When we get to our hotel, I just take it out and load it in the drawers.
4. Make space for Mommy Stuff
This is just me having a “me” space in the luggage. I think I am more efficient when I can find my things right away. It just saves me so much time when I can get ready for the day without fussing on where I put my clothes or night creams without unpacking everybody’s things. What I did is set one side of the luggage for my clothes and essentials instead of splitting it into two different locations. As I have said I just want a quiet morning and be ready for the day when I am in vacation.
5. Be Flexible
I know there are times that no matter how hard I plan our outfits and things to bring there are just moments that everything does not fit in the luggage. It is a struggle because I am obsess about being prepared, I always have this fear inside of me that I am not ready enough. But this time, I embrace that worry and just decided to be flexible. I declared to myself that I am not bringing 5 large bags with 2 kids and a stroller. I just accepted that not having too much is enough. If everything fails there is always laundry. If I forget something, there is always a store to buy it if I really need to.
It sounds crazy that I am packing for everyone but for me I am more at peace when I am prepared. But this does not mean that I will do this forever, one of my dreams as a parent is to teach my kids to be independent and my wish is someday when they are old enough I hope they can pack on their own. Or at least be able to choose their clothes and what they need to bring. Although it’s amazing how my older son participated on choosing his outfits and helped me put things together. I think that is a good start. With all this, I still think that we should not forget what is important and that is family vacation is a time to be together and have fun.