Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Tip: Packing the family for summer vacation

I just realized that I haven't posted in two weeks. TWO WEEKS!  Why?  Well, I suppose one week was so chock full of end of school activities that I hardly had time to breathe (let alone write!) and the following week, our family took a much needed and totally unplugged week off.  Totally unplugged. I was so unplugged that when I returned to work today, the universal greeting seemed to be, "Wow, you really took the week off!  You weren't even on email!" Comments like these completely validated my need for a vacation -- and just might inspire me to start planning the next one.  But, before I do, I thought I'd share some packing tips to help you bring what you need -- and leave behind what you don't -- on your family's summer getaway.

As you might have read, I have officially declared this summer The Summer of Independence.  It's time that our kids started pulling their weight in the most literal sense.  If they want it, they have to carry it.  That's why for our summer vacation, each kid got one bag and one bag only.  One small bag that contained all they needed (and could carry themselves!) for a week at the beach.  In case you're wondering exactly what a kid needs for a week filled with sun and surf, well, it's not much.  This is a lesson I've learned the hard way over many years of overpacking.  Another thing I've learned is that Mother Nature is unpredictable and it's best to have a sweatshirt and jeans or sweatpants (affectionately called "cozy pants" in our house) in addition to the swim basics.  So, in short, here's all you need to know as you plan to pack up and hit the road this summer:
  • Less really is more.  Everything our kids needed for a week fit perfectly into the little bags pictured above:
    • 2 pjs
    • 2 bathing suits
    • 2 swim shirts
    • 3 pairs of shorts
    • 4 t.shirts
    • 5 pairs of underwear
    • 1 sweatshirt and 1 pair of sweatpants
    • 1 foldable rain slicker
    • 1 lovey blanket (or a "WaWa" if you ask us!)
    • 1 pair of sneakers & socks (Crocs were worn in the car and truthfully, the sneakers were never worn but, if my man Liam had been called into a pickup baseball game, he would've been ready!)
    • Toothbrushes/toothpaste/sunblock/shampoo/water bottle (Note: these items were shared -- except the toothbrushes! -- and carried in my bag)
  • Laundry is inevitable.  Between the sand, salt, chlorine, sunblock and the possibility of throw up and/or an accident involving gallons of pee, I accepted long ago that a "vacation" does not include a break from the laundry. And that's ok.  If you approach your getaway with this mindset, you'll avoid the overpacking and perhaps even go home with clean laundry! 
  • Showers are overrated.  What does this have to do with packing, you wonder?  Well, less showering or bathing means more time swimming.  More time swimming means more time in a swimsuit.  More time in a swimsuit means less time in any other type of clothing -- quite possibly eliminating the need for anything else.  But, should Mother Nature decide to grace you with a cold snap or violent storm, you'll be glad you packed those aforementioned change of clothes!

No comments: