I am a huge procrastinator. Sometimes it bites me in the butt.
For 25 years my family has gone to the same resort in Lake Chelan during the summer. Last year, my husband and I decided to do something different this summer and take our little family to the San Juan Islands. The months flew by and neither of us made a reservation. We waited too long. Pretty stupid to wait to book a place that sells out a year in advance.
Lucky for us, my parents have room for us to join them in Lake Chelan.It was a bit of a last minute decision to go, and now that we’ve committed, we are so excited! We’re going to leave a day early and drive to the nearby town Wenatchee, to visit some friends.
Several years ago, pre-kids, my husband and I left early for Chelan with plans to stay in Wenatchee for two nights. When we got there, everything was booked. We ended up staying at a cheap, skeezy motel. That was fine for the two of us, but it’s not ok with two kids. I already booked a nice room at a reputable hotel. See, I’m learning.
Since I have several days to prepare for our trip, I thought I would get started now, rather than waiting to do everything the day before we leave. That inevitably leaves my husband and me stressed out
and pissy with each other. Nobody needs that at the start of a vacation.
So, here are some things I’m going to do at my leisure to prepare for our trip.
Our destination is a five hour drive. We need to check the tire pressure and make sure our car doesn’t need an oil change. I’m also going to clean the entire thing out to leave plenty of room for everything we get to take with us. (Which always ends up being way more than you expect!)
Whenever I clean the car, I take two bags with me. One for trash, and another for all the kid stuff. It makes it quick and easy to clear everything out. If I feel so inclined, or if its needed (which it always is), I will vacuum.
If you’re traveling with your littles on an airplane this summer, check out this post from one of my favorite blogs, Parenting from the Heart Blog. We haven’t braved air travel with our kids yet, we’re too chicken. Alana shares some great tips that make it a little less scary.
2. The water/sand toys
I have a “staging area” where I’m keeping all of our water/sand toys, beach towels, and other sun paraphernalia. We don’t generally use them at home, so the kids won’t miss them if they’re not at their disposal.3. Big Items
Thankfully we only have two big items to take this year. We have one pack in play (last year we took two), and the double stroller. I was toying with the idea of taking the single stroller, Lord knows my girl is old enough to walk, but she gets tired easily. We like to go on a long walk every morning by the lake and it would be nice if my girl had the option to join us.
4. The House
We’re only going to be away for four days but we have a few things that need to be attended to while we’re gone. First, we have two cats. Even though they are extremely independent, they still need to eat. Next, we have our garden that will need watering. We’re fortunate to have family close by that are willing to watch over our house.
The day before we leave, my husband and I are going to clean. Nothing major, but we’ll be sure all food is put away, the dishes are clean, toys are picked up, etc. There is nothing worse than coming home from a nice relaxing vacation to a counter top covered in sugar ants. And that smell coming from your fridge? You may as well just toss that Tupperware, there is no saving it. I know both scenarios all too well.
I pack clothes last. I’ve tried packing them early and end up having to search through the suitcases for something. And I make a mess in the process.
We take two suitcases. One for my husband and son to share, and one for my daughter and me to share. The kids’ clothes are little, so they don’t take up as much space. I usually take two outfits per day, per person, but we still end up doing a load or two of laundry while we’re there.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a five hour road trip. While we’ll stop along the way for food, it will also be nice to have snacks handy in the car. We’ll get mostly non-perishables, but for the perishable stuff, I have a GetBacktoBasix Fridge-to-go lunch box. It’s an insulated lunch box with an ice pack that keeps food cool for up to eight hours. It has proven to be quite useful for my husband’s lunches, so I know we’ll be set.**
This is my favorite part! The day before we leave, we’ll pack our car to the gills with everything we’re taking, just short of the food.
Do you like Tetris? I liked it as much as the next guy, but what I really love, is the real life version of the game. I love packing things into a car. I like to see how much I can get in there and how much room I can leave for extras. Weird? Maybe. I’m not much help moving boxes or furniture, but I can certainly help coordinate what goes where in the truck for your next big move.
In the car, we’ll put the large items in first. Next comes the suitcases, boxes, or other solid items. Then the toys and fun-in- the-sun extras-they’ll fit between the nooks and cranny’s of the larger stuff. And of course the food goes last-because we need easy access at all times.
I’m sure I’ll still have plenty of last minute things to do, but at least I’ll be more prepared than I usually am!Do you have any packing hacks that makes traveling with toddlers easier that you’d like to share? I’m always open to new ideas!
**Disclosure-I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts are my own.
**This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through the link, at no extra cost to you, I will make a percentage of the sale.