Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Packing Plan

A few weeks ago we decided to start looking into traveling with the Fantastic Four over Jim and Evan's Spring Break. We eventually settled on traveling to the Chicago area, picking up Jim's friend Everett and continuing on to Kentucky to meet/visit Everett's family. Did I mention that we'd be traveling with four kids??? As the Mommy, it falls to me to plan the logistics of getting everything that everyone could possibly need from point A to point B and then on to point C and back again. I have spent no small amount of time in considering all of this! And to make things more interesting? We're doing the road trip the old fashioned way. No TV/VCR/DVD/MP3 players/I-pods or video games. How much Benedryl does it take to put kids to sleep but not kill them???

I think I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve that I'd like to run past other seasoned traveling families.

First off, as I find good trip snacks and little toys I'm putting them in a bag on top of the fridge. I'm planning on packing one small gift bag per child of things to do in the car. These bags include stickers, books, small cars, and other non-noisy toys! I'll also keep a few things in a separate bag to pull out fresh for the long trip home. When we were in Sioux Falls last weekend the Aunties hit the goodie bag section of Wal-Mart's party supply aisle and loaded the kids up. I confiscated those toys pretty quickly and they're in the bag on top of the fridge! Shhhh, they don't need to know they're getting the same gift twice!

The second thing I'm hoping is a stroke of genius and not a bout of stupidity involves clothes for all four. My intention is to lay out clothes for everyone and pack them all together by days in one separate plastic bag per day. So, the kids will all share one suitcase which will contain seven different Wal-Mart type bags. All of the clothes for Monday will be in one bag, Tuesday in another etc. Then when it comes time to dress the kids we pull out that day's bag and everything we'll need for that day will be right there handy. There will also be one extra bag which will have a complete outfit per child in it.

So there you have it. Our traveling plans. Seasoned road trippers, what do you think???


Sarah said...

I'm sure this is not new information.

I make sure to pack some snack or sandwich size baggies. Then if I'm replenishing snacks I can buy a full-size box or bag and split it up into the baggies in the car. And I keep a package of baby wipes for cleaning hands, etc.

Also the web has some great printouts for things like car bingo for the older ones.

I love your packing idea! And I'm always hoarding the small gifts to give to them later (in the car, spring break, sick day, etc). I don't like to give them all out at once in the car either. One at a time to stretch it out.

Lindsey said...

love the clothes packing idea! If I end up w/ more than 2 (ahhh!) I'll have to remember that. Otherwise, what works for us is just traveling thru the night hours. w/ three adults it would be soooo easy to wait until after dinner to leave Chicago, and then just drive thru till you reach destination.

Good luck! We are taking 5 under 5 to colorado this week, but we ARE driving thru the night.


Rebecca said...

Love the gifties. If you have time, wrap up each item individually. When I did this years ago for Cy and Annie (I think they were 2 and 4 then), we had calculated that our entire road trip would be 24 hours of driving, so I had 24 little gifties. I even wrapped granola bars and juice boxes, and I used the same paper for same gifts (so that both kids would get a snack or an interactive toy at the same time).

It was such a hit, and I have lovely memories of the kids asking, "Is it gift time again yet?"

As for any packing advice, I believe you have it under control. I am Queen of the Heavy Packers and will never be able to fly with just a carry on, even if I'm just gone for a weekend!

Anonymous said...


We travel with movies when going more than 2 hours away. You are very brave! A couple things we have done while traveling long distances that seemed to work. 1) If Mom or Dad aren't car sick, we read stories aloud 2)Books on CD's 3) We share stories about our childhood 4)Give them our banged up digital camera and let them take pics from their seats (amazing how many good pictures we get this way) 5)At the rest area, play games of tag or see how fast they can run from point A-B 6)Sing songs

The goodie bags are sure to be a hit! You are creative so I know by the time you travel, you will have more ideas

Natalie said...

Hey great ideas! Remembered reading a post on another blog and found the link.
Also one of the comments there references this site with quite a few ideas if you want to pick up any new toys, etc.
Not sure when your spring break is, so this all may be too late, trip! :D
Also, one thing thats really helped when packing our trips is to come up with a master list for each person that is stored on the computer. It makes it easy to go down the list & just cross off items that don't apply this time & make sure we've got everything else. And since I'm one always leaving the driveway wondering what I've forgotten, it really helps! (now if I could just remember to take the list along so we don't forget items at our destination...)
Let us all know what works/doesn't work for you all when you get back & how the packing worked out. I'm excited to hear about it!