Lo, the packing - How? What?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Have you ever heard anyone say, "I'm going away and I cannot wait to PACK?!"

Me neither.

As a Mom, I'm not just packing for myself. Moms pack for themselves, the kids, and for things that the family might need on the plane, in the hotel, and in the parks. I'm not knocking Dads. I just don't think that they as a whole take responsibility for the family packing responsibilities.

Packing is my achilles heal. I tend to bring more than I need for fear of not having something I might maybe need. I also tend to overthink my packing strategy. This results in towers of clothes, amusements, toiletries, and various odd items that I edit down to what I deem essentials. Towers. I stare at these towers and wring my hands as my husband "finishes" packing and lounges on the bed while I hold my head in despair. He always asks what he can do to help (true!), but since I don't really know what I am doing either, I just grumble and continue.

Not exactly a resounding endorsement for my packing advice, I know, but I am hopeful this can be useful based on our experience in what we brought vs. what we actually "needed."

Before anything else, check the historical weather conditions for the time frame you will be traveling. For our upcoming trip in January, the weather is a bit more unpredictable, so be sure to check before you begin. (This means that I will ask my other half to bring pants and a jacket and he will ignore me and pack just shorts and t shirts thus refusing to admit he is chilly the entire trip despite potential cool temps.) You know how to dress your family. We traveled to Orlando early fall in 2011 and it was approximately the heat of the surface of the sun while we were there. It was all moisture wicking and workout friendly breathability all the time.

Must Pack Items:

Comfortable Sneakers - flip flops while comfortable are not suitable for walking several miles per day.
Single Use Laundry Detergent & Quarters- I hate doing laundry on vacation, but we were sweaty and the idea of bringing all that home in that state made me sick to my stomach. Bring quarters to save yourself time trying to make change.
Sunscreen and Face Stick Sunscreen - Essential. The glue stick versions will work on the most squirmy toddler
Ponchos - spend pennies at home or $$$ there, just don't leave them in your hotel room the way we did on the night the rain was falling sideways
Hand Sanitzer - it comes in travel sizes for a reason
Autograph Book and Fat Pen (buy ahead!) - I urge you to consider buying this in advance online or at your local Disney Store to save you the crunch searching for one before you head to the parks. Larger barreled sharpies are easier for the characters to use, pick one up before you travel.

Packing Errors:

Too many snacks - I packed lightly on snacks for the flight and we scheduled a grocery delivery which covered most of our snack needs for the time we were vacationing. We spent about $70 and it was delivered right to our door. You can bring food in and we definitely did! More on this later!

Too many amusements- Our kids were pretty happy with the "on-flight entertainment" and though they did dive into the stickers and coloring books a bit, I definitely brought way too many things to do. We picked up things at the parks and they would have been quite happy with just those things to play with. Novelty rules.

* A packing nugget I utilized last time was to use large ziplocs to pack the kids; one bag for each day from head to toe. Grab a bag, apply clothing. It was very easy and I wasn't left searching for clean socks or that random shirt that went with these shorts.

* Little girls love to dress up. We bought a tulle tutu from an Etsy seller with an Ariel t-shirt for my daughter to wear to have breakfast with the Princesses. No hot costume. She looked completely adorable. Every Princess commented on her skirt. I also brought along two tiaras that she wore pretty much everywhere which was a big hit.

While I have some admitted shortcomings in packing the entire family for the trip, I more than make up for that in my park packing. We are a family on the go and I'm going to also share how we have perfected our day trip packing down to the bag your family NEEDS.

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