The sun is shining, the warm breezes are beginning to blow, and rainy season is almost through! It's time to start looking at travel plans for your spring/summer adventures!
The very thought of going "on the road" brings on sheer panic for Moms across the country. Our family is used to living out of suitcases and recently some of you asked me to share the packing lists I use for my children.
Camping Week Long
I print these lists out and then laminate them with glossy laminating pages. Each child has their own color card stock the original list was written on so they know it's "theirs" and a dry erase marker. When we're getting ready for a trip a use a WET erase marker and draw a line through anything they do not need to bring. Then use the same marker to write in anything in the blank spots they need that is not on the list.
For younger children, have them lay their items out on the bed for you to check before they put them in the suitcase. This is also helpful for older children who may try to "sneak in" questionable clothing leaving you with no option other than wrapping them in a blanket for the entire vacation. For these children I mark off their list as they put the items into the suitcase (or vice versa). For children that are capable of packing themselves have them mark off their items from the list and pack their suitcase. Once it's all checked off we leave the suitcase open with the list sitting on top for Mom or Dad to check along with their marker.
Once the suitcases are checked, they are IMMEDIATELY locked with a luggage lock. Why? Because little kids will undo your packing and older children with modesty issues might try to swap out clothes. For security reasons, all luggage is locked in our family. Problem solved. :) That luggage is then moved to the central packing area which is usually our dining room or mudroom depending on how many suitcases and how long until we leave.
Voila! No more left behind socks and no bringing 50 shirts to choose from for teenage girls. No more emergency runs to the Walmart for the child who brought 10 toy cars but no pants. All the arguing is abrogated because everyone has the same list and the same amount of space.
When you're packing up to come back home, out come the lists again. Have the kids check off the items as they repack their suitcases. No more left behind favorite shirts that have to be shipped later!