Packing and Planning
We’ve lived in Washington for four years and have made the trip back to Minnesota nine times now. So I’m starting to feel like an expert.
We usually come back for two weeks in the summer and two weeks at Christmas. The summer trip is much easier to pack for! I start my packing process three days before the trip. I wash all of our clothes and start checking on the weather forecast.
Once everything is washed and folded on my bed, I start with my kids’ clothes. Each boy needs:
2 pairs of pajamas
5 pairs of shorts
1 pair of pants and 1 long sleeved shirt
5 pair of underpants
2 swimsuits and 2 swim shirts
1 pair of sandals and 1 pair of tennis shoes
2 pairs of socks
(On a side note, my kids are not at all interested in fashion. I want us all to look nice, but I don’t care if they are wearing mismatched clothes while running in the yard. If your family cares about their appearances or has special events, this may not work as well. I also have access to a washer and dryer. I end up washing our clothes several times on our trips, so I can keep the volume down greatly!)
I put this all into a laundry basket and do the same thing for my husband and I. It seems like I can concentrate easier when I break it into kids, then parents. This all goes into a laundry basket. Then I set out traveling clothes for each of us. We flew, so I wanted us all to wear long pants and a t-shirt with comfortable shoes. These traveling clothes are part of the clothes that we’ll have on the trip!
The two days before the trip, I will pack things up into the suitcase. It seems like planning the outfits and putting them into the laundry basket in one session, then sleeping on it helps me to not over pack. The next day I’ll grab the suitcase and edit before putting them in. Do I need this skirt? Will the boys need more long sleeved shirts or pants? Do these mix and match?
I have a stack of traveling outfits for each of us set aside. Armed with plastic grocery bags, I fold and roll each of the kids’ clothes in a little bundle. Then I slide them into a bag and tie them with a knot. I find it easy to keep everything tidy when there are a few different bags as opposed to a jumble of everyone’s things in one big bag. All of the swimwear goes in one plastic bag. The shoes all go in one plastic bag. My clothes and Adam’s clothes are folded and rolled and just laid in the suitcase.
I next get out a travel cosmetic bag for our bathroom supplies. I set out all of our toiletries on the counter. Our medications get put in immediately, so I don’t forget.
Finally, I get the kids’ carry-on bags out. They each pack a baggie of crackers, gum or candy from the cupboard. They each grab two books or magazines and two small toys. I also like to grab headphones or earbuds for electronics on the plane. They also bring a lovey and their special blankets.
Adam and I each bring a bag with our chargers, medication and laptops.
All carry on bags and the main suitcase are all packed a full day before our flight! I can add or subtract items as I go! It’s not at all uncommon for Adam to take things out of our suitcase. He’s very practical. Did I mention that he’s also a minimalist?
So that’s it. What do you think? Do you think that your family could vacation for two weeks with only one suitcase?