Ready, Set, Go...Family Road Trip Organization
Summer is here! Woop woop! Living in New England, this brings great joy, as our winters are so long. Don’t get me wrong: I do enjoy skiing and ice skating, but I much prefer long days of light, swimming pools and shorts. My most favorite part of summers in New England are the many road trip opportunities. In our area there are no shortage of weekend road trip destinations and within an hour we can be in the mountains of Vermont, the rocky coast of Maine, or on the picturesque beaches of Cape Cod.
Over Memorial Day weekend, my family and I took advantage of a weekend free from sports activities and visited beautiful Kennebunkport, Maine. Preparing for road trips, whether you’re a weekend warrior or doing an occasional getaway, does involve organization, especially when traveling with children. It’s always tricky to make sure you have enough of what you need, but not too much — because who wants to unpack it after?! Not me.
A few tips to keep in mind when you’re packing for your weekend getaway.
Use a Suitcase
Weekender duffel bags are small and can easily sling over your shoulder, but the clothes inside can easily get mixed and wrinkled. By opting for a traditional small roller suitcase, you can easily see everything you’ve packed, and garments are less likely to shift and mix during travel.
For many years, I packed Option A, B, and sometimes C, because I never knew what I may need! What I realized after is, that while I was prepared, I always overpacked and spent more time putting the clothes away I didn’t wear. Here’s the point: realistically pack what you need. Dress in layers and wear similar colors of clothing so you can mix and match. When packing, fold and organize your clothes so that you can see each item clearly. This way you can easily pull out what you need without creating a messy, wrinkled pile of clothing. I like to file my clothes on one side and pack my toiletries and shoes on the other. If you’re packing a dress or jacket, carefully fold the dress in thirds and lay it on top of your folded clothes and shoes. Be sure to hang it up as soon as you arrive at your destination.
Go Travel Size
Remember, you’re only going away for a weekend! Invest in travel size items, either disposable or refillable bottles so that you bring only what you need. It will take up less space in your suitcase and minimizes spills. The last thing you want is a whole bottle of shampoo covering the two pairs of shorts you packed! When you get home, take a moment to take stock and refill or purchase what you need for the next trip.
Arm Yourself for Snack Attack
Road trips and snacks go hand-in-hand. And this is even more so when you’re traveling with kids. While Combos from the mini-mart are no doubt delicious, start your road trip right by packing your own healthy snacks. For each kid traveling, pack a road trip snack bag, which they can manage throughout the trip. Think lunchboxes with individual serving foods: yogurt sticks, cut up apples, granola bars etc. Do the same for adults! We get hungry too, ya know.
Be Ready for Cleanup
Spills and car sickness happen. Keep a small bag or bin of the key cleanup items in your trunk. Items you may want to pack include paper towels, disinfecting wipes, wet wipes, gallon size bags (for car sickness – just zip until you reach the exit!) and extra bags to dispose of trash. I often use the disinfecting wipes in hotel rooms to clean doorknobs, light switches and remote controls as well. While it may sound over the top, they are the most often used and most germ-filled areas in a hotel room. And who wants to be sick on vacation?!
Explore and Enjoy
It took you work, money and time to get to your destination — so go explore and enjoy. Be sure to unplug, relax, take photos, and create memories.