The summer season is upon us. The gates to summer break have opened wide and days in the sun have begun. Whether your family’s schedule is chock full of camping excursions, week-long road trips, family gatherings, or day-long destinations, chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of planning, packing, and organization in store for the warm months ahead.
Below are some tried and true tips for busy moms on the move!
Good Foods for Good Moods
There’s nothing worse than a car full of cranky, hungry little monsters (spouse included). I can remember countless car trips growing up where the only way my parents could keep my sister and I from complaining would be to distract us with assorted goodies from the infamous “snack bag.” Now that I’m a mom (and a wife, let’s be real), I’ve found the snack bag to be a holy item for travel of all lengths.
My husband is the real-life version of the characters portrayed in the Snickers commercials. He’s a diva when hungry, he’s Willem DaFoe when his stomach is rumbling, and you can be sure he’s as speedy as Betty White in a game of touch football when a craving kicks in. I’ve learned nothing invites an argument quicker than a discussion dished up with a shortage of snacks.
To combat these moods and keep the crew happy, I make sure to have a reusable bag filled with fruit snacks, granola bars, clementines, and sparkling water for everything from day trips to beach vacations. Non-perishable items are great for hotel stays with no refrigerator access, or when traveling to the home of a friend or relative who may do mealtime differently than your kids are used to. Having snacks on hand will keep the fussiness at bay for passengers of all ages. Keeping a resealable bag of snacks in your car is also a great way to minimize fast food stops and impulse buys at gas stations along the way.
Enjoy More with Less
This tip is easier said than done, especially if you’re responsible for more than one little tyke. You may be thinking worst-case scenario as you pack 15 different outfits, three different sunscreens, and too many diapers, but you’re doing yourself a disservice by raiding every closet in your home for a weekend getaway. Make a list ahead of time for every member of your family and stick to it. I highly recommend this packing list from Travel Mamas. Your whole family can stick to one list, which keeps everyone more organized in the packing process. I find that referring to a list when I’m packing up to go home helps me not forget items that I may have stored out of sight, like baby soaps, flip flops, etc.
Instead of throwing your back out lugging around that 50 lb. suitcase, opt for a lightweight carry-on that’s small in size, but big in storage. Carry-ons, like the Biaggi ZipSak carry-on spinner, are the perfect choice for trips of all lengths, especially when air travel is involved. I’ve found that having a carry-on with wheels makes an enormous difference in navigating the airport with a toddler in tow. What makes the Biaggi carry-on particularly appealing is how easily I can unzip and access contents inside. Anyone who has struggled to wrangle a toddler while trying desperately to find a clean onesie knows having luggage that’s easy to open and sort through is crucial when on the go. Carry-ons with multiple compartments can help make organizing that much easier.
Prior to having a child, I was adamant about having my own suitcase for every trip my husband and I took. Nowadays, packing for a weekend getaway looks a little differently, and I’ve found the lighter I pack, the less time I spend sorting and folding and the more time I’ve got to make memories with my family.
When in Doubt, Wipe Out
Anyone who knows me would agree I’m rather meticulous about carrying personal cleaning & hygiene supplies with me at all times. I wash my hands more times in 24 hours than necessary and I always have hand sanitizer, tissues, and Wet Ones with me wherever I go. I’d like to think I’m organized, but truth be told, I’m just horribly messy. I can stain a blouse quicker than I can pay for it, and I find myself walking into just about every (literal) mess that can be made. That being said, carrying wipes and Tide To Go have become staples in my life. Living with a clumsy toddler and a sometimes not-too-careful husband, I’ve seen ketchup in places no condiment should go. And in our household, messes are a cause for stress and frustration, so if all it takes to avoid this is a pack of baby wipes stashed in the glove compartment, then by gosh, throw’em in! You simply can never be too prepared.
Oh, and I always have at least two empty grocery bags on hand at all times. You never know when you’re going to need to contain the wafts of a smelly diaper or develop a makeshift trash can on a moment’s notice … or, you know, carry something.
Lastly, you’ve got to realize that nothing ever goes according to plan. It doesn’t matter how young or old your children are, something will always be there to throw a wrench in your perfectly coordinated schedule. Whether your flight gets delayed, your vehicle gets a flat tire, you spill hot sauce on your favorite shirt, all you can do is laugh it off and roll with the punches. Sometimes wandering a little off the course winds us to the best spots. Give yourself a little wiggle room in your schedule and appreciate the simple things along the way.
What are your favorite travel tips? Share in the comments below!