SOS Mom Saver: Make Packing for a Vacation Effortless

For some reason, we (apparently) like to plan vacations and trips to Tulsa at the last minute.  True to form, we've decided fairly last-minute to go back to Tulsa.  We didn't really want to make the 20+ hour  drive in the winter due to hazardous road conditions.  However, serious grandparent-sickness has struck.  (That's similar to home-sickness, but specifically involves grandkids and great-grandkids who just MUST see their grandparents.)   We need to go back.  The kids need to go back.  And so we are; during our already scheduled vacation.

Again, I'm thankful for advance preparation.  Has anyone ever NOT been thankful that they prepared in advance?  Last October, the same advance preparation allowed us to get packed in an hour to go home when my mom passed away.

Every time after we get home from a trip, I unpack our stuff and put it away.  Then, I REPACK our toiletries bag and our bin of travel food.  I started doing this some time ago to make sure that we didn't forget things like allergy medicines that we don't normally use, but always need when traveling because of changes in climate.  It also helps spread the cost of food for our trip out over several months...instead of in the month OF the trip...when we're already strapped for cash.  Food is typically a fairly big expense for us when traveling because of food allergies.  We either take it with us or have to buy it when we get there. 

There are some basics that we all use that can be packed for a future trip:
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes (we put new ones in a baggie)
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Lotion (coconut oil for us)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hair stuff (ponytails, headbands, bobby-pins, etc)
  • Small brush
  • Hair gel
  • Razor
  • Medicines for the trip (For us, that means allergy meds, 1 month of maintenance meds, and extra nebulizer mask for our son.)
  • Socks (For some reason, this flip-flop family nearly always forgot we pre-pack them.  We barely wear them so we've got extra to keep packed.)
We also keep a bin ready with foods that we use for a trip.  I figure out what we're missing and fill it back up in the month or 2 following a trip.  We keep the following items in there:
  • Cereal
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit leathers
  • Dried fruits
  • Canned fruits
  • A small can opener
  • Oatmeal
  • Bags for trash
  • Travel bowls and silverware (we keep a cheap set for travel)
  • Extra blender (smoothies are a regular part of our diet and family members don't have a blender so this is a necessity)
  • Shelf-stable milk like rice milk (I was missing this for this trip, we took cold milk instead.)
Because of our daughter's allergies, it's vital that we be prepared food-wise.

The extra that add for a winter trip is winter stuff "just in case" we get stuck somewhere.  Here in Vegas, we just keep all of our winter stuff in a bin year-round anyway because...well, we never need it.  (Please don't hate me, Michigan friends.)

I cannot tell you how valuable it is to have our toiletries bag almost completely packed and our food and food supplies already gathered in one place. I pull them out, added clothes for the trip and we are ready to go.

What things do you do to make travel easier on your family?


little sis said...

I make a list of what we are bringing and stash it the suitcase to check off when we leave. Sometimes I color coordinate clothes (makes everyone easier to find in a crowd). My kids are older now but I can relate to the taking OTC meds with you. When my oldest was only 1 we ended up in the ER on Easter Sunday morn with a fever. Luckily he was fine and we made it to church too. (He did not go into preschool department). Thanks for your posts!

Thoughts of THAT mom said...

I'm glad to hear your son was okay.

We have master packing lists by season that I just pull out & use when it's time to pack for vacation. Since we always drive, we're pretty consistent with what we take when we visit.

Thanks for your thoughts!