Your flight or other means of transportation leaves in a day (or even within a few hours) and you find yourself yet again scrambling to throw things in you or your entire family’s luggage. You had all intentions to pack a week or a few days earlier but one thing lead to another (mothering, homemaking, other responsibilities) and here you are rushing around AGAIN! So you grab a few pieces of items hoping you don’t miss any of the essentials for your trip. At the end of it all, you catch your flight on time (or drive) and finally get to your destination but find yourself running to Walmart or Target and other department stores to buy the things you forgot to pack. Ah, sounds familiar? I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. I have been right where you are in that state of packing frazzleness!
Our trip to Tampa, FL
When our kids were much smaller, I used to be on top of packing for trips ahead of time. I had a little system going and I’d get it done a day or two before the trip. But these days, I can’t seem to get packing done earlier. Recently, we relocated to PA for my husband’s job and did some travelling in the process, a road trip and a trip to Tampa, FL. For our Tampa trip I was totally behind in packing. After all, we had moved to PA on Tuesday night and was flying to Tampa on Friday evening. I had all intentions to pack our luggage separately while we were packing up our house but that did not happen. I was so focused on making sure the house was done before we had to move that I didn’t get around to think about packing for the trip.
The last minute packing frazzle
In the midst of our move to a whole new state in the middle of winter, guys things just felt so hectic. Not to mention, all the emotions and tiredness that came with it. In fact6, the night before travelling our family was out trying to do laundry. Laundry? Yes, laundry in a laundromat. I was surprised myself. After all, we’d own our own washer and drier all this time. Turns out, our temporary housing situation had no washing equipment (not until a few weeks later); we had to hit the laundromat. I admit, it was kina strange. Needless, to say, hours before our flight to Tampa, I found myself scrambling. I truly was to pack. Our entire family was heading to Tampa. My husband had a business trip and thought it would be a great idea to take us all along.
While we made our flight on time, there were some essentials that were not in our luggage. While in Tampa, I realize that we didn’t have enough sleepwear and casual wear. The kids did but not me in particular. Also, I had packed tow bathing suits for each of the kids but none for hubby and me. I think we had to buy an extra toothbrush or two since I missed packing them all. In addition, we had to make a few trips to buy snacks, breakfast items, and paper plates and several other items in order to accommodate us at the hotel. Many of these could have been avoided had I planned and packed earlier.
The Importance of a Travel Ready Bag
It was during this Tampa trip that I began to think about the useless money spending on what we needed when we simply could have brought our own. Suddenly, the idea of a travel ready bag hit me! Why not keep a travel ready bag with all the family’s travel essentials? That way, if we are planning a trip most of the essentials would be already packed.
I’m mainly talking about the main things that take a while to round up and pack. Not necessarily the clothing but All The Little Items. I think it’s easier to combine a few outfits (at least in my experience and if you already have the kind of clothing) but all the little miscellaneous items just seem take a while.
The importance of having a separate change of clothing
Sometimes luggage get left behind on airports and don’t arrive a few days later. Having the essentials in your travel ready bag will help you get by until you get the rest of your items. If you are going on a road trip and stop at a hotel, a change of clothes will be helpful for your overnight stay.
Our own Experience
During this particular move that I mentioned above, all our stuff were mixed up in bins and suitcases somewhere in the trunk of the van. I don’t think anything was set aside. My husband got sleepy while driving through the night and decided to stop at a hotel (the rest of us had already fallen asleep so we were no help to him). Since I didn’t have a travel bag ready close-by it would have been difficult to try to go through various bins or bags to find what we needed. Keep in mind this was like mid-night or the wee-hours of the morning and we were already sleepy as it was. So we went into the hotel with nothing extra. My husband got up early in the morning and went to Walmart to buy a change of clothes for everyone along with toothbrushes and toothpaste and shower stuff. This extra spending could have been avoided if I had that ravel bag ready and close by.
Are you in the same predicament? Does your family travel regularly (by air or by road)? If so, a TRAVEL READY BAG will definitely be a BIG help to you when it comes to packing! Let’s make packing less of a hassle by getting one ready.
First, ask yourself these questions:
- What are the things you and your family use most when you go on a trip?
- What do you always find yourself forgetting and needing to buy while on the trip?
- Do you already have some extra skincare or other products at home you can pack?
- What kind of un-necessary spending could you avoid?
Here are some travel “ready” essentials (free checklist below with extra spots to fill in)
- General body care – small bottles of body wash, lotion, deodorant, shave cream, small razor, cotton swabs, nail care, etc.
- Hair products – Small bottles of Shampoo, conditioner, hair moisturizer, small hair dryer, brush, comb, hair clips, bows or tie-backs (especially if you have little kiddos)
- Face products – facewash and moisturizers, toothbrushes, floss, mouthwash
- Holders for other small items (small toothbrush holder, jewelry holder, etc.
- First Aid Items: Bandages, cotton, essential oils (if you use), sanitizers, hand-wipes
- An Extra full change of clothing for all (including a couple extra undies and a pair of socks)
If you have smaller kids you will also need to pack:
- Water bottles for kids
- Snack bowls with lids
- Disposable spoons
- Diapers or pull-ups
These are secondary items that I think would help depending on where you are going and what season it may be.
- Spring and Summer Travel – Bathing suits, Sunscreen, Towels
- Winter Travel – Winter hats, gloves, mittens, scarves
I thought these little bags I found at Walmart would help keep items separate. That idea worked really well when we took a small trip to DC. Everything had it’s own place and not mixed up and just thrown around in one big bag – kept it very organized!
Those little essentials take up so much time trying to round them up or buy them especially last minute and sometimes, you miss a thing or two. If your travel bag is “small” enough you may even consider keeping it with you rather than checking it in. If you are driving, then try to keep your travel bag close enough where it can be easily found in your car.
Since my husband travels regularly for business he keeps a little travel bag with all his essentials in one place. All he has to do when he’s going on a trip is pack some clothes and shoes. It makes it sooooo easy!
You can download Your Free Checklist Printable by signing up here or by clicking on the image.
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Do you travel regularly solo or with your family? What else would you add to this travel ready bag? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments!