packing luggage

Ready, Set, Vaca!

Getting ready for a family vacation is no small task especially if you are a mom working outside of the home. With so few hours in the day you have to really project manage your preparation for any trip. It can feel like climbing a mountain or running a 5K due to the amount of energy you put into creating your vacation plan strategy. Today I am going to share some of my tips for preparing for family vacations. None of the services or items listed are paid endorsements. They are just things I find helpful when getting ready for trips. I also love to learn new organization tips so please share yours in the comments. Better yet, write a post and submit it as a guest blog! We are always looking for great guest posts.

The Packing List: The packing list is essential. It is the holy grail of what you will need on your trip. The more detailed the better. Creating this list early is very helpful. It will let you know if you need to buy a new swim suit for your kiddos or if you need another critical item so that you have plenty of time to purchase it before you leave. I like to carry my list with me so that I can add to it as I think of things. Wunderlist is a phone application that I enjoy using for organization. I also use the Cozi website and phone app so that Andy and I can sync our lists. However, Cozi takes a minute to update so don’t type a list and expect your partner to see it on their phone app instantly. To optimize my packing I split my list into several categories:

  • List by child
  • List for parents
  • Grocery list
  • House sitter, pet list

Having these list types ensures that everything including our home is taken care of fully while we are away.

The Staging Area: Packing for a family vacation is daunting. If you wait until the night before or even a few days before you could be scrambling. I set aside an area where I can place items that we need to take with us. Big things usually end up there first like the pack and play and boxes of diapers/wipes. The last things to go in the staging area are our suitcases. If you choose a place that has easy access to your cars it also makes packing the car up easier.

packing suitcasesSuitcase Staging: Similar to the staging area, I place open suitcases in each person’s room. This helps me slowly add items to the suitcase as I am able. The frustrating thing about packing is that there are some items you can pack weeks in advance and some you can’t pack until the morning you leave like your hair dryer or brush. This is why I stage our suitcases. I load clothes we don’t need or bathing suits in early and then leave them open so all I have to do the morning of is add a few key items zip and go.

Traveling Toiletry Bag: I hate rounding up toiletry items. You always have to do it at the last minute and they can spill and make a mess if not properly secured and packed in plastic bags. So I skip this step all together. Instead, I created a small toiletry bag. It has everything I needed in it. Now when I travel I just put the bag in the staging suitcase and I don’t have to worry about toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, razors or any other toiletry item.

As I said above I enjoy learning from you. Please share your traveling organization tips in the comments below.

Peace, Love & Organized Chaos,


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