One of the biggest challenges with traveling is “How do I fit in everything I need for my trip?” Its even worse when you’re traveling by car, with three kids, a mother in law, your spouse, for 18+ hours. Trust me, I know. I’ve driven to both Orlando FL and Galveston TX, with a new born. And kids, well, they need a lot. Or so you may think. Let me tell you how I do it; what I pack and what I wait to buy until we’ve reached our destination. And let me apologize for all the lists now.
A lot of things you need, you can purchase when you arrive to your destination and get settled. Wal-mart stores are just about everywhere now a days. After our first drive to Florida I never wanted to try to take a box of diapers, or food, again. It takes up way too much space and most of it ends up uneaten anyways.
I pack the kids a travel bag, or a lunch box, that has snacks for them to have while we are on the road before (or after) we stop for our meals. It usually consists of a couple juices boxes, a sweet, some fresh fruit, and a meat stick, maybe a bag of chips. Same for my husband and I; I’ll pack a small cooler with drinks and snacks for us. Then after we make it to our destination, we unpack, settle in a bit, then go to the local grocery store for the rest of our supplies.
Well, what about clothes and things like that?
First, let me start off by saying that everywhere I go, or just about, we stay at a timeshare. And the wonderful people that operate these timeshares, provide dishes and cookware, soaps and laundry detergent, and have a washer-dryer combo in the units. Its great and that’s how I get away with packing so little.
Second, my 4-year old and my 9-year old pack their own suitcases/backpack that has their outfits for the week in them, plus any extra shoes, entertainment, and hygiene products they’ll need. Hmm, actually, I have my 4-year olds hygiene products. This is because he is with us on all our trips while my stepson sometimes is with his mom and the schedules just don’t work out.
So, the count is currently two suitcases and three snack bags.
Currently, I pack three peoples items in a small suitcase; my husbands, one-year olds, and mine… I actually have room to spare. In our suitcase I pack:
- 12 pair of socks (4 each)
- Undergarments (4 each plus two bras)
- 5 toddler outfits
- 8 bottoms (4 each)
- 8 shirts (4 each)
- 3 pajama bottoms
- Throw Blanket
After all of that, I still have room for books, towels, medicines, children’s toys, etc. And that’s not counting the little pouches on the outside. I don’t fold them differently when packing, what you see is how I pull them out of our drawers.
We take a pool bag, of course; this has everyone’s swimsuits (two each) plus towels (five of them), bug spray, sun screen, two pair of goggles, everyone’s sandals, swim diapers, and a snorkel.
Of course, we have our shower, or toiletry, bag. Its just a little bag I purchased from my cousins 31 party, but its AMAZING. In our shower bag, we have:
- 3 bottles of body wash (one for Brian, myself, and the boys)
- a bottle of head n shoulders
- a bottle of shampoo and conditioner
- 3 sticks of deodorant (because heaven forbid Brian to wear the same scent two days in a row)
- foaming hand soap (I don’t like bar soap)
- a razor
- men’s body spray
- 4 tooth brushes
- 2 tubes of toothpaste
- small bottle of mouth wash
- small lint roller
- face scrub
- children’s/infant’s tylenol
- dish sponge
- 2 small bottles of dish soap (even though it is provided)
- liquid laundry detergent
- tide pods
- dryer sheets
- hair brush
- hair comb
Like I said, it holds tons! If your interested in purchasing this bag, its the All-In Organizer by 31. You can purchase it for $20 here: https://www.mythirtyone.com/us/en/lindsayt/product/8495/all-in-organizer-charcoal-crosshatch
The next bag we take, probably the smallest one, is just a little “make-up” bag. Its mostly my stuff. Its just a little black bag I got from Meijer in their travel/trial size department for a few bucks. Its contents include:
- Women’s body mist
- hand sanitizer
- hand cream
- body lotion
- cotton swabs
- several hair ties
- hair clip
- hand-held flossers
- eye drops
- sanitary napkins
- face wipes
- shoe shine
- 2 intimate wipes
- make-up removing wipes
All of this and I still have some room.
So now, we are at three suitcases, three snack bags, and two “shower bags.”
I have a backpack that I pack our maps, my laptop, two notebooks, a few pens, our chargers, and my kindle in. This is mine and Brian’s entertainment bag. Then on top of that, currently, I have my one-year old’s diaper bag that has his diapers, wipes, extra clothes, medicine, etc. in it. So, with those two added in, we are at ten bags total.
It is A LOT of items, and what’s sad is my mother in law has her own suitcase, entertainment bag, snack bag, and purse. If she travels with us, it could be an extra four to five bags.
In addition to all that, we have the items we pack just in the car. This varies from trip to trip. What do I mean? Well, depending on who is going on the trip I could have a double stroller and a motorized scooter, half a pack of diapers (to replace the ones in the diaper bag), some large bottles of juice, extra water bottles, extra shoes, travel pillows, and some movies.
Then you have all the stuff we keep in the car on the regular.
- Two blankets
- several ponchos
- small air compressor
- life straw
- an umbrella
- tow straps
- phone chargers
It seems like a ton of stuff, and it is. Like I said, we go on these trips and are gone for at least a week and I don’t like to go to the store more than that first initial time. But, when you think about it, we do pretty well. Sometimes I’m amazed how we fit it all into our mini van, even with the under-seat storage.
We’ve not traveled by plane yet. Honestly, I’m scared to and not because I have a fear of flying.. because I don’t know how the boys would handle it or how I’d get everything we needed. But, that being said.. we may take a trip out to Arizona before the end of the year and if we do, you can bet that I will NOT be making that drive. No thanks, twice was enough.
Of course every households needs are different so, your suitcase may not be as big or may be even bigger than ours. Your trip may cause for special outfits or maybe you’re mixing business with pleasure. But, I hope this will help you the next time you and you family travel. =]