Today’s post is all about how I pack for a trip!
Now, I did not plan on this post when we were actually packing for our trip or else I would have taken pictures of our suitcases all open and easy to see so that you could have a visual. This post came to be because after our most recent vacation, when I started posting these pictures…
…of rain boots and umbrellas, suddenly, many of you wanted to know “how I pack for a trip?”. So today, I’m sharing.
Not to brag or anything, but I think I have pretty darn good system :). It works for families of all sizes, any number of suitcases and any sort of destination…and it’s not Earth-shattering, so perhaps many of you do it too!
When we travel for shorter trips like this…
…Kensington and me heading to Boston, we only carry on. Let’s face it, life is just easier when you carry on.
But sometimes, you have to pack suitcases and when we do, this is our system.
1. Make a list. I know this probably sounds silly, but a good list makes all the difference in the world. I include everything from socks to undies to phone cords, magazines, soap and more. I put everything on my list.
2. When I’m ready to start packing, I put everyone’s things out on their bed (Andrew puts his own stuff out, I don’t select his things but he puts them out next to mine so that we can see it all).
3. Once everyone’s things are out on their bed (every single thing they’ll need for the trip), I double-check it all and then carry it down (using an empty laundry basket) to my room so that everything we need for the trip is in one central spot.
4. Next, I look at everything and determine how many suitcases we’ll need. This varies. On our last trip, we were gone 11 days, so we took four suitcases for five people to be gone 11 days (this left us a little extra room for souvenirs to bring home).
5. Next, we bring in the suitcases and open them up in my room…and then, the magic starts :).
6. We pack each suitcase by the day on our trip, so for this last trip, in one suitcase was everything we needed for days 1-3 (and then in another was days 4-6, and then 7-9 and then 10 & 11). Basically, this means a fourth of everyone’s things are in each suitcase, right? So…what if the airline loses a suitcase? Then everyone loses a fourth of their stuff but at the same time, everyone still has 3/4 of their stuff and no one is completely without. This also means that when we get to our destination, we only open one suitcase at a time (and stow the other ones). When that suitcase is empty, then that’s where dirty clothes go and you open the next suitcase. When I’m traveling with my family, the last thing I want is to open every suitcase in our hotel room and start rifling through everything at once. If we were traveling for a shorter amount of time, we might need fewer suitcases, so in that instance, we would maybe divide things in half…either way, we’re keeping it divided up and organized.
7. A lot of people wanted to know about the Wellies and umbrellas. We always check the weather very carefully before we go. It’s as simple as that! We knew there was a chance of rain on a few days, so we packed this stuff. In this instance (since Wellies are so heavy and we didn’t know in advance exactly which days it was going to rain), we divided the Wellies and umbrellas between the suitcases to distribute the weight.
As far as carry-on luggage goes, each of our kiddos are allowed to bring one bag that they have to keep up with. I pretty much let them pack whatever they want in that bag (I always check it before we leave to make sure everything is TSA approved) and they just know that it is their responsibility to hang on to it.
For the most part, our trips aren’t long enough to warrant laundry needing to be done while we’re there…but sometimes, we do have to do a bit of laundry while away. This was especially true in China. (To see my Adoption Packing List post, click HERE.)
That’s it. It’s nothing fancy, not complicated or tricky. I like to have everything we’re taking in one space so that I can see it all at one time (this also helps me determine if I need to weed things out because if it looks full in my bedroom, it’s going to be really full in a hotel room). Here are just a few other random tips I’ve learned over the years:
1. Bring as many disposable things as you can. I like to come home with as few bathroom products (shampoos/soaps/razors/lotions) as possible.
2. You can never have too many baggies (in gallon and sandwich sizes) and trash bags. They’re great for leaking bottles, corralling smaller items, holding dirty clothes, etc.
3. Go to the dollar aisle at Target for all of your beach needs and then leave them behind. There’s nothing worse than having to spend a fortune on a resort beach bucket when you and I both know you can get a similar one at the store for a buck…plus, they’re typically all sandy/gritty/dirty/grimy, so it’s no big deal to toss it when it only cost you a $1.
4. Bring along an inexpensive tote that you can pack up in your suitcase and pull out and use in case you need a second carry-on bag, a beach bag, an extra diaper bag, etc.
5. Divide out everyone’s shoes between your bags to distribute weight. We each brought about four pairs of shoes on this last trip, so it worked out beautifully that every suitcase had one pair of everyone’s shoes in it. That distributed the weight and it gave us all shoes in the event that a suitcase was lost at the airport.
That’s it! Those are my tips friends! Please, please, please share your tips today too! I know you ladies probably have a lot of great advice and super fun tips about packing and traveling. Please comment and share!
And don’t forget, you can see all of our travel posts in one place now, right HERE.
Have a blessed Tuesday! Don’t forget that tomorrow is STRANDED! The theme tomorrow is What three famous people would you like to be stranded with on a deserted island?
Don’t forget to blog and link up!