When I was on my way to Walt Disney World last week, I was preoccupied with crazy last minute packing! There are two types of packers - those who pack a month in advance and those who pack the night before. I'm an odd mixture of both, as I typically start piling all my stuff into a bag or bin pretty far in advance. But the organizing and actual packing tends to happen the day (or night) before my flight. There are pros and cons to both schools of thought, so keep doing what works for you. Looking for some tips on how to pack for your next trip a bit more efficiently? Look no further!
Pack outfits and bring some extras. I prefer to pack my clothes by outfit, so it's easy to pull out what I need day by day. I do the same thing for my daughter. I always have extras in case of spills, etc. but it's easier for me to not try to match things on the go. There have definitely been trips where I haven't been as prepared and ended up with mismatching tops and bottoms on the last day.
Pack shoes for all weather. Even if you're only going for a weekend, don't risk that your only pair of sneakers or flip flops could get wet in a sudden downpour! It's okay to be that person that packs all the shoes! Funny side note, I zipped up my suitcase last night having forgotten to pack ANY shoes. Thank goodness I double checked my list.
Speaking of lists, make one! They're a lifesaver (or in my case, a feet-saver). Personally, I use an Excel sheet with columns - one for checking things off as I pack them and another for when I'm re-packing at my destination. No one wants to leave their phone charger plugged into the wall or forget a drawer full of clothes at their hotel, so utilize the list on your arrival and departure days.
Pack your First Aid kit. My husband calls me 'K-Mart' because I travel with a little bit of everything. I prefer to have a toiletry bag with everything in it - things I honestly never end up using. Of course, you want band-aids and the like, but try to think outside the box. A couple things I never travel without are tweezers and an eyeglass repair kit.
Pack a few of my favorite extras. There are some things that I always pack - ponchos, especially for Walt Disney World; Ziploc bags for transporting leftover food or wet clothes; fuzzy socks for the cold plane; my portable phone charger so I can recharge on-the-go - just to name a few. I'm not famous for packing light, but I always have what I need when I travel so I think it's a fair trade-off.
It's hard to believe that summer is coming to an end. School is back in session but the extreme heat feels like it's here to stay. Soon enough, I'll be missing the warmth of the sun and the leisurely pace I've enjoyed these last few months. One week from today, I'll be in Walt Disney World with a couple of my friends and teammates from Dream Come True Vacations. It's certainly not easy for us moms to sneak away, even for a long weekend. Between the three of us, we're leaving five kids home with their dads and grandmas. But a s much as I love planning these trips and counting down the days, there's always the inevitable pang of guilt when it's time to go.
Business trips are a little easier to justify. I remind myself how fortunate I am to work from home; the occasional conference is a fair trade. But when I'm leaving for a girls weekend or a night away with my husband, I struggle a little more. I wonder, does looking forward to these trips or having as much fun as I do make me a terrible person? (Spoiler alert : No. ) Over time, I've learned that these trips are invaluable; it's like hitting a refresh button, both mentally and physically. The truth is, it's a well deserved break for anyone that works hard at the office or at home (or both) and there's no shame in admitting that once and a while, I need it! Trust me, I still feel sad and admittedly, cry a little every time I travel without my daughter but there's a little less guilt these days. Sometimes leaving makes coming home even sweeter.
Looking for a reason to book your own getaway without the kids? Here are three great ones:
#1. Take time to reconnect. A survey done by U.S. Travel Association in 2016 found that 86% of respondents who travel as a couple believe “the romance is still alive in their relationship." Relax with a couples massage in Mexico or get a little adventurous with an excursion to Dunn's River Fall in Jamaica. Take the trip, for science.
#2. Girls (and guys!) just wanna have fun. Get your best girls together for a wine weekend in Napa. No one wants to be left out so let the guys plan a few nights in Vegas. Are you friends with a few couples that might enjoy traveling, too? Plan a trip together! Even a long weekend away would be a blast for all.
#3. Family time. Now that we're older, my cousins and I are a little more spread out. We're very close, and I miss getting to see them often. We've found that getting away for a few days is the best way to reconnect and spend time together, just like when we were kids. If you have parents, siblings, cousins or even close friends that you miss, plan a trip. You'll treasure that time together.