Next to the fun and warmth of the holidays, nothing excites families more than traveling together. As a mother of four, I’ve had my share of travel challenges ranging from packing oversights to toddler emergencies. Sometimes things can be left behind, leaving you frantic to find something suitable for yourself or your kids while out on the road.
That’s why whether you are going for a vacation abroad, or a weekend getaway in the city, planning and packing at home is a crucial step for a stress-free trip.
Trips are for creating wonderful new memories, and they can be even better if the family also feels “at home” wherever you go. Here are some ideas to make that happen:
Put eco bags to good use. Use them for pasalubong, dirty laundry, or as a makeshift trash bin. Wash them with anti-bacterial fabcon before and after so they stay clean and fresh-smelling.
Pack double-duty clothes. Bring low-maintenance clothing such as dark-hued clothing items that can be worn multiple times. One sturdy, denim jacket is more useful than several cotton ones. Stick to one or two color families for easier mixing and matching.
Bring workout clothes. Pack clothes that dry easily such as drifit shirts or light, microfiber pants. Prior to a long trip, wash clothes in fabric conditioner so that they wrinkle less in the luggage.
Try the Aloksak laundry method. Use re-sealable bags for keeping outfits together. Not only will it make arranging daily outfits easy, it also protects other clothing items from accidental spills. It can also be used for laundry: one blogger shares her tried and tested Aloksak method for washing clothes.
Pack outfits by day. Instead of packing the luggage per person, try packing outfits by day. You can unpack by day, and leave the rest of your luggage organized. This is very helpful if you have multiple destinations.
Pack your hat! Yes, you can put your hat in your luggage or even backpack. Put intimates in the hollow area, lay it flat, and pack under and around the rim. Check out this visual guide.
Bring a universal power adaptor. This is available in most hardware stores, and will be a lifesaver for many, many trips. Get one with a USB port so it can double as a phone charger.
Pack as little toiletries as possible. Shampoo, toothpaste and soap can come from the hotel, or you can buy on the road. If you must bring some, dispense them into travel-sized bottles.
Have backup. Scan all your family’s important documents (passports, IDs, and itinerary receipts) and send them to your email. Load as PDF files to your phone or tablet. These soft copies are important in case your actual documents are destroyed or misplaced.
Create “calling” cards. Kids can get lost in big places. At home, prepare print-out cards containing your information, the name of your hotel, and emergency numbers in the place where you’re traveling. Make sure each member of the whole family has a copy where ever they go.
Bring your debit card. You don’t have to convert all your currency and travel with a huge wad of cash. Using your debit card and withdrawing at foreign ATMs can keep exchange currencies at bank rates (which can sometimes save you a lot). It’s much safer, too. Still, make sure to always have some cash on hand for emergencies.
Have your luggage marked as “fragile.” Even if you’re not checking in anything breakable, having this tag will ensure that your baggage will always be on top, and will be released in the conveyor belt first!
Pack for the kids (and the big kids)
Bring a sheet or a scarf. Going on a long drive? Line the back seat with a fresh-smelling towel, sheet, or scarf to keep crumbs and stains off the car. When you reach your destination, simply take out the sheet and give it a good flip! It can also double as a blankie when the kids get sleepy.
Get some help from apps. Don’t underestimate the value of a good learning app. Before you even leave the house, look into learning apps that are appropriate for your pint-sized traveler (but do not let your kids under 2 years old play with electronics yet!) Going on long trips? Bring toys, coloring books, or encourage them to play iSpy to avoid antsy moments.
Remind them of home. My kids tend to miss home so I allow them to bring one article to remind them of all its comforts, such as their “woobie” - a special blanket. Keep the woobie clean and fresh, and make sure to infuse it with a familiar scent (maybe a loved clean laundry/fabcon smell) to dispel homesickness!
Protect socks and delicates. Keep soiled items in mesh bags. You may also put socks and intimates inside the bags then put them into the washing machine to avoid losing pairs or deforming delicates.
At home, your pre-travel rundown will be easier with products that make tasks more efficient and are readily available. All the prep surely helps in ensuring a wonderful trip, but at the end of the day, look forward to the unexpected as well. Surprises are part of every new adventure. Remember, home is not a place, and you can bring the feeling with you wherever you go. – Rappler.com
EDITOR’S NOTE: Post has been edited.
Michelle Aventajado is a Filipina-American who grew up in New York and now considers Manila her home. When she's not busy raising her 4 children, she enjoys teaching, reading, and writing about her passions. Follow her blog Momma 'N Manila as she documents her adventures and growth in parenting.
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