Monday, August 3, 2015

How to go on vacation with 4 kids!

Getting ready to leave the house on vacation can be a daunting task for families with young children. You want to get on the road as early as possible, but somehow it's almost noon by the time you get on the road. Here's how we get our family of six on our way as early as possible.

A week before:
Try not to buy groceries the week before you leave. Use up all perishables and "pantry shop" to round things out. Save money by not having much to toss before leaving.

Three days before:
Start packing a few days in advance. For us this not only means bringing travel bags up from the basement, but also putting clothes aside as they are laundered. That way we have the right number of clean shirts, shorts, socks, and underwear without having to do a last minute load of laundry.

A day before:
  • Have the kids pack their backpacks a day or two before leaving. These will travel in the van with them. My kids will usually pack reading books, activity books, notepaper, and writing implements. Some will include stuffies or small cars. I leave this up to them. Inevitably they'll wish they'd brought something a sibling brought, and they'll remember to pack it next time.
  • Tidy up the house, clean the bathroom, and change the bedsheets. This way you come back to a nice clean home.
  • Water the plants.
  • Put roof top carrier on van, if applicable. Gas up van.
  • Assemble all the packed bags, we put everything in our living room since it's close to the front door.

Morning of:
  • Wash up all dishes and wipe kitchen table.
  • Sweep floors.
  • Empty fridge of perishables, either take them with you or toss in organics bin.
  • Take recycling, garbage, and organics out.
  • Load up roof top carrier and van. Kids' backpacks and pillows travel with them in the van.

With this plan we're able to get up and out the door in one to one-and-a-half hours.

Let the vacation begin!

What about you? What are your tips for getting on the road quickly with kids?

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