Ever have one of those times where you have been planning a trip for ages, but when the time comes to get the stuff in the bags, you find that you are not ready and running in circles? If you are someone, like my sister, who packs weeks in advance then this article might not be for you. However, if you are anything like me, you might leave things to the last minute on occasion. So, here are a few tips that might help you out.
1. Grab the carry on bag
Forget the suitcase and the clothes for a moment. First and foremost, pick the bag that will be carrying your important documents and electronics. For us, it’s my purse and a backpack. Empty them out, so you can start fresh. Read my article on safe travel bags for mums for more info.
Put the passports, tickets printouts, travel itinerary, hotel/tour information, theme park tickets and all other important paper travel information in the bags. This will also give you a chance to print out any last minute information you might need. Next, put your wallet with cash and credit cards in your purse. This is also the time to pack an undergarment travel wallet if you are going to use one. Do not go back to packing clothes until this is done.
Next, make sure your tablet, computer, phone, and camera is charged and you have packed the chargers and batteries. If they are too many cords, put the essential ones in your carry on (like phone and laptop) and pack the others like camera charger in your suitcase. Get the adapters and put those in the suitcase (unless you’ll need one in the airport). We have started using a packing organizer to contain all the chargers in one place for the suitcase.
4. Carry on Bags for Kids
Remember that less is better. Our kids have become better at reducing how much they carry on, especially since they rely on electronic entertainment on most flights. My eldest uses her kindle a lot as well. We also each carry a small plastic bag with one supply of clothes which includes underwear, socks, bottoms, and top. The girls will also bring one small toy or soft blankie and some type of stationery. However, I used to bring more toys when they were younger- like Little People figurines, small thin storybooks, and coloring books and stickers. For our last trip, as we were on a budget airline, I had the girls each pack a light scarf in case they got cold on the flight, probably too much though as they also had their hoodie. They also need to wear, carry, or have room in the backpack for their hat, hoodie, and possibly a coat.
Now, you can worry about your clothes. How much you will pack will depend on where and how long you are going for and whether or not you will have access to laundry facilities. We usually stay in places that have a laundry, so I have started aiming to pack for a week or so worth of clothes. I always include at least one long sleeve (even if it’s hot) or vice versa because I’m paranoid.
Remember to pack bathers and goggles if you are headed someplace warm or gloves and hats if you are headed somewhere cold. I also like to lay out the clothes we are going to wear the night before. However, if it’s a 4am wake up time, then the kids will go to sleep in their travel clothes and then we just add socks and shoes in the morning.
My husband and I each have our own toiletries bag. We then have one bag for everyone’s shower supplies, toothbrushes, and hairbrushes.
7. The House
So, the essentials are packed what about the house? This will depend on how long you are going for, but if you are going for a few weeks and you are really behind schedule, then you can only do the essentials. Focus on the kitchen at these times, because food left out while you’re away is a bummer to come home to. Set yourself a challenge and try to do it quickly and within an hour. Don’t spend your whole evening doing this.
Take all perishable food put it in the bin or compost it. You don’t need to do a full clean out of the fridge but try to take the things like leftovers, fresh milk, limp veggies, any other food that will expire while you are away. I put the containers in the dishwasher. When I am more organized, I’ll do a quick chop of good fruit and veg and put it in the freezer, but you probably will not have time for this on this occasion at that is ok.
Check children’s backpacks for lunch boxes and other food. Last trip, one my kids and I missed a lunch box- wasn’t pretty.
Wash all dishes, coffee pots, lunch boxes. They can drip dry.
Take out the bins from kitchen and bathrooms.
Wipe kitchen counters, stovetop, and table.
Quick sweep of kitchen floor if possible. (This is to remove any last crumbs.)
Unplug or shut off from the power point any extra appliances (kettle, microwave).
Don’t worry about stacks of laundry, unmade beds, or stray toys. If you have extra time and are all packed then by all means go ahead, but if you are struggling just do the kitchen.
8. The Bills
If you pay online, then take all relevant account numbers with you, so you can either take care of it now or once you have arrived at your destination. Also, if you are in Australia, you can go to Australia Post and fill out an online form to hold your mail. You have to have your driver’s license or passport number. It does take about three days to go through though, so have a neighbor or friend collect your mail in the meantime.
Now that you are packed, don’t forget to take care of yourself by setting your alarm and getting some sleep yourself before your next adventure!
>Be brave and travel with kids
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