Category Archives: Packing

Get Ready For Your Next Trip

As often as our family travels, you would probably assume we’ve got the ultimate process in place for preparing for our trip. But if I’m being completely transparent, I’ll admit I almost always drop the ball on something. It’s not usually anything major- I’ll forget to stop the mail or get a pet sitter. It’s not uncommon for Continue reading Get Ready For Your Next Trip

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5 “Must-Pack” Items For Traveling With A Baby

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I always love seeing what other people consider “necessary” when traveling with a baby. I find some lists unbelievably minimal, others completely practical and occasionally a ridiculous list. I, myself, have fallen into each of those categories at one point or another so trust me when I say- no judgement!

I can confidently say that in the long run, you and your baby will survive a vacation no matter what you do or don’t pack. We traveled extensively throughout the first year of both of our children’s lives. Most trips I over prepared. And every trip I forgot at least one or two “crucial” things.

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We’ve traveled by car with a baby. On those trips I had the luxury of packing everything but the kitchen sink. We also traveled by plane with a baby. Somehow I kept everything we needed for the entire trip under the 50 pound luggage weight restriction. The good news is that in all of those instances, I had everything I needed. It’s amazing how little you can survive with when you don’t have the option to pack more!

However, I will concede that having some essentials makes life a lot easier. Vacationing with a baby can be challenging enough! And thats why I’m always interested to see what others consider important for a baby packing list.

I stumbled on a list from the North Phoenix Moms Blog recently. I will admit, of the 5 items listed, 2 of them were never on my radar when I traveled with a baby. But I think the list is very interesting and well thought out! I love the idea of traveling with painters tape (that was one of the items that NEVER crossed my mind!) It’s total genius!

Painters Tape

If you’re confused how painters tape made the “5 Items I Will Never Forget To Pack When Traveling With A Baby” read the full post here.

What is the one baby item you can’t travel without?

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Packing Smart and Light

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If I had to sit down and write a list of people I admire, Crystal Paine, would undoubtedly make the list. Although many of you may not recognize the name, I’m sure most of you have heard of Money Saving Mom.

For those of you who have been missing out, let me give you a little recap about Money Saving Mom (MSM.) Right around the time I had our first child, Mary Grace, Crystal started MSM as a way to help others find great deals, save money for their family, and generally navigate the world of coupons. She inspired me (and so many others) to seek out extraordinary savings by shopping smart. For years I have enjoyed her shopping advice and tips, and I will credit her with many of my good grocery store habits!

Fast forward several years, and now Crystal’s website is HUGE. She’s worked incredibly hard, and has dedicated herself to being the best version of herself that she can be. She still shares valuable tips with her readers, but many of her posts have evolved past the weekly circular section.

All this to say, I have always admired Crystal. But then I read a recent post on How I Packed For a 10-Day International Trip In A Carry-On. Wow! Yep, she’s officially turned into my hero. Don’t breeze over her post because it’s FULL of great information from beginning to end (including the comments from her readers!)

A few specific things impressed me about her packing. First, she thought out all of the different outfit combinations she could create out of the items she chose to bring. I have a very bad habit of making piles of outfits for every day- never repeating any piece and actually bringing multiples of the same item. Secondly, I love how she planned to leave a few things to make extra space for any purchases. And lastly, I appreciated the honesty about what she didn’t really need and what she wished she had in her suitcase.

I am totally inspired to try this ultra-light packing technique. In fact, I feel challenged. I can’t wait to see how few items I can pack on my next trip (my husband is not very excited about this challenge- he is speculating that I’ll end up at Target purchasing everything I thought I could do without!)

What are your tips for packing light?

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Medicine/First Aid Bag

It’s 3:00 in the morning on your third night of vacation and your little one wakes you up saying he “feels weird.” After saying a silent prayer that he isn’t about to throw up on you, you reach out and realize he is burning up.

Or shortly after going to bed at the hotel, your eyes start itching and watering. It takes a few minutes, but you finally realize even though you specified “no feather pillows” you somehow ended up in a room with all feather pillows.

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As a family who rarely needs or uses medicine at home, I used to travel without giving medicine or first aid a second thought. But then the above scenarios happened. Multiple times. And it finally dawned on me- the best way to ensure that it didn’t happen was to be prepared.

So a few years ago I decided to put together a Travel Medical/First Aid Bag. It stays packed and it’s always ready to go whenever we go.

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Here are the supplies I keep in mine:

  • Box of Band-aids
  • Zyrtec
  • Thermometer
  • Adult Pain Reliever
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Young Living Essential Oils- Thieves and Peppermint
  • Neosporin
  • Children’s Liquid Motrin
  • Cough Drops
  • Eye Drops
  • Benadryl
  • Any bag that will hold it all (I used one of those giveaway bags from a cosmetic line)

As you can probably see from the picture- most of the stuff is unopened. Honestly, having this bag with me on trips seems to be the fool proof way of NOT needing medicine. My original plan had been to refill the kit after every trip, but now I’m having to check the date on the medicine to make sure it hasn’t expired!

I also keep this kit in my car glove compartment:

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One thing I obviously can’t anticipate is prescription medicine. No one in our family is on prescription medicine on an ongoing basis. However, if someone is finishing up a prescription as we begin our travels I usually try to put the medicine bottle into my kit as soon as possible so I don’t forget it. If that’s not possible (those silly refrigerated prescriptions seem to be our MO of recent) then I write myself a note and stick it with our medicine bag.

**Hopefully this goes without saying, but I can’t end without mentioning it…please ALWAYS use caution when storing your medicines. Especially when traveling it’s easy to forget!**

Do you travel with medicine/first aid supplies?

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The Best Checklist EVER

Let me start by saying “The Best Checklist EVER” isn’t mine. Anything ever labeled “the best checklist” will never be mine. You see, I’m a girl who loves checklists. But I have a very bad habit of making them as I do things. So for example, I’ll do (or pack) 3 things, write them down on my list, and then immediately cross them off the list.

My calendar works the same way. I rarely write down things we’ve scheduled in advance. Instead, I go back and fill in the days depending on what we did. It’s weird, I know. And it drives my husband crazy.

Because this is how I make lists, inevitably something gets left off the list every time I prepare for travel. Every. Time. It’s always only 1 thing. But it’s usually something really, really important (like grabbing the camera chip out of our computer or scheduling care for our dog.) Or it’s the 1 thing my husband asked me to do before our trip (like stop the paper or wash his favorite shirt.)

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So I am a huge fan of Ever In Transit’s Travel Checklist: Things To Do Before You Leave. Her list is remarkably thorough. In fact, I will admit to not even having the desire to do several of the things she mentioned (probably never going to call the hotel before leaving to find the best route from the airport. And I’ve never cleared off my phone and synced it. Honestly, I don’t have a clue how I would even do that!) But so many things on her checklist were awesome suggestions. My most needed advice- pack chargers for all your devices, and leave a note by suitcase for last minute items. You can read her full list here.

I plan to print it out and cross things off the next time we travel! Did you see anything she missed on this incredible list?

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Shoe Packing 101

Is there anything more difficult than packing shoes? I say, no!

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It doesn’t seem to matter how big my suitcase is, or how “light” I try to pack- shoes are ALWAYS my issue (and we only have a family of 4!)

Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years:

  1. Assess Your Needs: The first thing I do when I’m packing for a trip is lay out all the shoes (for all 4 of us) that I would ideally like to bring. This is usually a HUGE pile. I check the weather to determine if I need to add or subtract any shoes (ex. if the forecast is for lots of rain, rain boots become a ‘must.’)
  2. Be Realistic: I almost always throw a pair of tennis shoes in my initial pile. Tennis shoes take up a lot of space, and honestly, they are usually my least worn shoe. Even with the best of intentions, I rarely make time to work out on a vacation. That’s me though. For you, it might be a pair of heels, a boot, or even some cute flats. Most likely there will be one pair of shoes in your pile that stands out as a real extra. Eliminate those!
  3. Coordinate Clothes: After I’ve pulled out all the clothes I want to travel with, I go through each outfit and decide which shoes I will wear. If I find that there is a pair of shoes I’m only planning on wearing with 1 outfit, I try to either settle for another pair of shoes with that outfit or I will try to replace the outfit with something that works with other shoes. In my husband’s case, I encourage him to travel with either black or brown shoes and clothes.
  4. Pick the First Shoe: Before I pick the outfit I plan to travel in, I consider my shoes. I make every attempt to wear the largest, bulkiest or heaviest shoe. If it’s on my foot, it doesn’t need to be in the suitcase. For my children I also consider how quickly they can get the shoes on and off. It’s worth it to have them travel in manageable shoes since they frequently take them off.
  5. Fill the shoe: Once I’ve narrowed down our shoes, I fill them with as much of our clothing as possible. Our kids shoes are small so I usually fill them with socks, or underwear. I usually roll undershirts or pj’s and stuff them in my husband and my shoes. Not only will this save a little space, but it will also protect the shoes.
  6. Don’t forget Flip Flops: It’s easy when you travel in the winter months to not think to pack flip flops, however if there is any chance you’ll be staying in a hotel with an indoor pool- you’ll DEFINITELY want to find room for them! Otherwise you’ll end up heading to the pool in a swim cover up and snow boots.
  7. Keep it Clean: As much as I love shoes, I still view them as pretty dirty and germy. I always pack my shoes inside a bag of some sort. There was even a tip in my post on the Coolest Travel Hacks where they suggested putting hotel shower caps over the bottom of your shoes. I love that idea and can’t wait to try it.
  8. Pack Strategically:  Once you are 100% set on which shoes you are packing, be sure to maximize your space by packing the shoes strategically. Here is a great post with a video to demonstrate (PS. I don’t necessary agree with her 3 pair rule of thumb…depending on the length of my trip, I’m more of a 5 pair girl!) : click here to watch video.

 

Do you have any tips to make shoe packing easier?

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