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Friday, April 22, 2016

Get Organized: Vacation Packing

By Keri Foy

For trips, Steph Jamison packs her children's clothes and other items in a laundry basket, designating
a corner to each of her four kids. Photos by Patti Hartog

A weekend trip puts me in a tailspin. I spend most of Friday trying to gather up everything everyone needs, and I usually — like 99 percent of the time — forget something.

We arrive. My husband helps unload the car, and I’m the one who usually — like 99 percent of the time — figures out where everything should go. Sunday rolls around, and it’s back to packing, reloading, unloading and storing.

Packing is a stressful chore. As we approach vacation season, many of us dread the task of what it takes to “whisk” your family away for a few days. But don’t fret. We’ve gathered some stellar tips from pretty awesome moms that will get you on the road or on the plane and to your destination ready to relax.

Packing for a trip can be a chore, but follow these tips to save time and stay organized.

1. Zip those outfits: Stuff daily outfits into plastic baggies. “Each outfit is mom-approved and done!” says Katy Adams, mom of four who has used this method on multiple trips with her kiddos. “While it doesn’t save time on packing, it does save time during the trip because their clothes don’t get unorganized.” Another bonus: Katy says it creates a sense of independence for her younger children.

2. Keep a running list. Create a packing list on your computer to print and check off for each getaway. Keep that list with you, especially if you’re flying. “In case my luggage gets lost, I know what I’m missing,” says Debbie Filer, mom of one.

“I have exhaustive lists saved as Word documents for trips to visit family, the beach, or the mountains,” says Alex Schrimpe Rutledge, mom of two. “Then I edit the lists after each trip to remove and add things [as necessary].”

3. Calculate outfits. We’ve all overpacked. Some of us — me, guilty — have under-packed. How do you decide? Use Elizabeth Peters’ (mom of one) equation: one outfit for each day plus two extra outfits.

Give each child a backpack filled with snacks and activities to keep them busy on a flight.

4. For airplane rides: Give each child his or her own backpack filled with pre-bagged snacks, an empty water bottle, and new toys such as stickers and coloring books. “Each kid has a water bottle to fill after passing security so I don’t have to mess with airplane cups with no lids,” says Beth Trenz Haddox, mom of three. She also adds that she keeps suckers and gum ready for take-off and landing.

Kids can pack their own stuff, if you give them some rules to follow.

5. For kids 3 and older: Tell them the number of outfits, PJs, and swimsuits to pack. “They pack it, and I approve it,” says Brandy Linkes Beardley, mom of three. Simple.

6. For car travel: Use a laundry basket with each corner labeled for each child. Put that child’s clothes in his or her corner and voila, an easy unloading trick without the hassle of carrying a million different bags. “I have an assortment of IKEA organizers for socks and underwear that also go in the laundry basket,” says Steph Jamison, mom of four, who employs the laundry basket tactic.

Now, you have a game plan.

What tips do you have for stress-free vacation packing?


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