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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Vacation Preparation

We are very excited to once again be taking a trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina with my family this year! We had so much fun last time and have basically been planning this trip ever since. So being just 2 1/2 weeks out, we're in full preparation mode around here!

Two years ago we were taking a 15-month old. This time we'll have an almost 3.5-year old and a 5 month old. Thankfully we also have a bigger vehicle to travel in this time! Space is far from the only consideration for traveling with little ones though. Here's how I'm preparing for the trip to ensure minimum stress and maximum relaxation!

Packing list: The key to making sure you leave the house with all necessities is a detailed packing list made well in advance of the trip. I like to make my list ahead of time when I'm thinking clearly and I'm less likely to forget something.  I also divide and sub-divide the packing list by categories such as food (frozen, car/beach snacks, etc), entertainment, clothing, gear, and hygiene for visual simplicity when it's time to pack. It's actually more of a chart than a list, but it's beautiful and oh-so-helpful :) 

To-do Timeline: A to-do list is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to vacation prep, but I like mine in timeline form so I can work on tasks in a logical order and make sure everything gets done on time. Aside from packing, some of the other stuff on my list includes making and freezing foods to take, making some games to amuse Carsen in the car, picking up some beach-themed library books for Carsen, configuring the trunk, and loading up the iPod. I break the tasks down by week for about 3 weeks leading up to the trip. Things like loading up the iPod can be done any time so do I them well in advance, while I prefer to save food prep until the week before so it's just that much fresher. The best part is that I'm not left with last minute items to stress me out, or things I wanted to do but ran out of time for. 

Trunk Configuration: when traveling with little kids there's a certain amount of gear that has to come along... strollers, pack 'n plays, etc. Why wait until 4 a.m. on the day we're leaving to discover that some things aren't going to fit? We have a big square(ish) trunk, so it's easy enough to measure it out and plan where to pack things in order to make sure it all fits. Bonus: loading up that morning becomes a quick and easy process.

All this being said, we're now at the end of the 3rd week out. And of course life goes on all the while. We have a wedding this weekend that Carsen is the flower girl for, and for part of next week and all of next weekend Josh's grandparents will be visiting and meeting Reagan for the first time. Thankfully, I got my stuff done for this week. I made a felt Mr. Potato Head, some popsicle stick puzzles (I used some of my Instagram photos of us), and popsicle stick shape-makers for Carsen to play with on the car ride. I've also planned out snacks to make for the car ride and the beach, as well as breakfast foods to make ahead, and what I'm going to make for our dinner night. Stay tuned for more details on all those things. Two weeks left until we leave :) 

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