If you don’t already think I’m crazy, you might when you hear this: we’re driving to Michigan in June. Yup that’s right – 16 hours in a car with three kids 7, 5 and 10 weeks. The boys have done this trip several times before and generally do ok but adding a baby to the mix has me a little worried to say the least. I’m hoping she’ll be a good traveler and I won’t be totally regretting the drive before we’re out of the state.
As always, I’ve got a list (ok several lists) started with ideas for things to pack, entertainment ideas, snack ideas and things like that. I’m not too worried about the entertainment and snacks for the boys – they’ve already made suggestions about things to take and will help with the packing when the time comes. Packing for a road trip in general, or perhaps over packing, is my concern.
It’s still chilly (to us) in Michigan in early June, especially in the evening, so we need to pack warm clothes (shorts and t-shirts) for the daytime and something a bit warmer to wear in the evenings (jeans and sweatshirts). I can normally fit everything into two suitcases but it’s usually pretty tight. Now we’ve got another person’s things to add to the mix and keep it all organized. Right now, I’ve got a couple of options:
• Zip top bags – These will work great for the baby’s clothes and probably my youngest son but I think my oldest son (who probably needs the organization the most) won’t be excited about this idea. I’d have to get the maybe 2 gallon sized bags for his clothes instead of just the gallon size. The down side to this method is purchasing the bags. If you save them and reuse them, it would probably be ok, but buying new bags and throwing them out each time is a little much for me. An alternative idea would be to only store certain things in the bags (like a bag for underwear, hair bows, ect).
• Space Bags – I haven’t personally tried this method yet but I got some for Christmas specifically for trying out when we pack stuff to see if it will save us space. I’m curious to see how much will be held in the bags and how much space they’ll take up when the air’s sucked out of them. The down side of this option is that you have to have a vacuum to suck the air out so if you’re traveling to a hotel or something, this may not be the best option. I’ve read on line that you can roll the zip top bags up once they’re filled to try and get the air out and take up less space that way without the vacuum.
• Personal Bags – It will result in more luggage in the car, but another option is each kid getting their own (small) suitcase. We haven’t done this before because we’ve always been able to fit everything but it might be worth it this time to keep everything separated. Here the down side would be more bags to keep track of and having less space in the van.
In addition to luggage, we’ll have a small cooler for drinks and formula, the boy’s activity bags (small backpack sized), a bag of snacks, the baby’s diaper bag as well as a few of the things she can’t live without (right now a bouncy – type chair that folds flat, her tub and boppy pillow but these might change once she’s actually here and we figure out what she likes and doesn’t like) and an overnight bag to take into the hotel when we stop on the drive up an back. We’re not taking a ton of things with us but it all adds up quickly.
How do you pack for your family? What kinds of things do you take with you?