Tips to Make Your Vacation Prep Easier This Summer


As the school year draws to a close and summer travel ramps up, kids and road trips can seem overwhelming and stressful; especially when it comes to packing/preparing. 

It seems as though it never fails – by the time the car is packed to the brim and we’re ready to pull out, I feel as though I’ve just run a marathon. My stress level is 10/10, the kids are hangry and bickering, and let’s just say it’s not our best moments of honoring and cherishing each other in our marriage. It’s a common theme for our family, and I’ve found myself determined to streamline this process, so our vacation starts out on the right foot. 

My youngest is four now, so we are finally at the point where travel is more feasible and enjoyable. With the past two-plus years being spent in the unknown with the pandemic and life feeling as though it was put on hold, our family plans to begin venturing out again. Here are some tips and tricks to help your vacation go a bit more smoothly.

1. Start packing and prepping one week in advance

Instead of waiting until the night before (or even the day of), start to set clothing, bathing suits, hats, etc. aside a full week in advance of your trip. My daughter loves to pack her own stuff, so I allow her to do so by telling her what the weather will be like, what our plans will be, and anything special we plan to do.

2. Plan what (if any meals) you will be doing, and what essentials you will need.

Start prepping, and even freezing, meals to maximize time during the trip. Be sure to also pack snack bags for the car or plane. 

3. Purchase each member of the family a toiletry bag

The toiletry bag should contain ravel size toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, and sunscreen, and can stay packed year-round. And, when you get home from one trip, immediately refill any items that are running low, so you will be all set for the next trip. You can just grab it and go!

4. Purchase a pop-up laundry bag for each family member

If you’re traveling somewhere you’ll be staying for a while, bringing a pop-up laundry bag along will help tremendously. Especially if you’re staying in a vacation rental house, hotel, or even going camping. Pop-up laundry bags are an easy way to contain all of those dirty clothes. 

5. Invest in some large grocery-type totes

If you’re going on a trip that involves bringing food with you, you’ll need a convenient way to store and carry everything you need. Travel tote bags are great for pantry items, snacks, and kitchen essentials you plan to bring with you. This helps to maximize space and organization while packing.

You can also use one of these totes for non-food items. Just like with the toiletry bags, you can put items in the tote bags that you use for each trip. Items like gallon size zip lock bags, Tupperware, dishwasher pods, laundry pods, dryer sheets, extra diapers, baby wipes, books, beach toys, etc.; are things you know you will always need.

6. Prep for the long car ride

If you’re going to be in the car for a while, try to get some outside time in before getting into the car. You’ll also want to make stops along the way so everyone has a chance to stretch their legs. And, don’t forget to pack plenty of easily accessible snacks. 

7. Limit screen time during the ride

I try to hold off as long as possible on tablet time because I find my children get more wound up and anxious after they have been on their tablets for a long period of time. As an alternative, I’ve found activity books to be a big hit.

By preparing a little in advance, travel plans can seem less overwhelming and more enjoyable for the entire family. After all, making lifelong memories is what it is all about! Happy traveling! 

What tips would you add to this list?


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Sarah has lived in Columbia since she was a kid, but it never felt like home until 2012 when she married her husband, David, and moved to Forest Acres. They met in 2010 when she was as a single mom, and have two children together, Hannah (age 4) and Titus (age 1), and Madison, (14). Sarah has a cosmetology degree, and is a part time stylist, while being a full time wife and mama. She has a deep desire to connect with other women, whatever season, to remind them they are not alone. She is a 'social' introvert, a deep thinker; who pays no attention to details, loves reading, but never finishes a book, she has a strong love for God's word, and despite her many flaws she desperately wants to be used to further the kingdom. She is a foodie, coffee drinking, wanna be perfectionist. She can identify with blended families, infertility, teenage parenting, and mental health issues.


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