We are gDSCN4056etting ready for some pretty big travel. Dear Hubby needs to work, so I am taking my 5 kids plus one extra to see my family 2400 miles away. Yes, we are driving and pulling our little camper. My thoughts these days are all about how to get us all there in one piece and still speaking to each other! Here are my ruminations on getting ready to go:

  • Block the week before you depart on your calendar. It takes me one day per person traveling to get everything ready. I have already informed “the Bigs” that I will not be driving them anywhere during prep week.
  • Two or three weeks out, begin pulling outfits as they come through the wash: warmer clothes for cooler days and nights, especially cute things, something too durable or practical to leave behind, one set of “church” clothes.
  • Build a “travel ready” checklist so you don’t have to start from scratch next time; improve it each time.
  • Arrange pet sitters, house sitters, etc.
  • Have the oil changed and tires checked, and have it professionally cleaned inside and out. It’s like having a new car!
  • Plan on a few “down days” when you return with no appointments, etc. You will need time to settle in.
  • When you get where you are going, take time to get organized in the new space. Make sure everyone knows where he or she is sleeping, where their pajamas are and at least one change of clothes. Self sufficiency makes Mom happy!
  • Think of the “one thing” each person needs to feel content. Pack that thing first! Buy a duplicate if necessary.
  • Refer to my “Vacationing with a Crowd” post for ideas on how to handle life on the road
  • Include the kids in preparation.  Include some fun (we like to decorate our car!)
  • Don’t stress too much.  My goal is to start far enough ahead that my whole family doesn’t hate me by the time we leave.  That means I need to play some music while I work, make sure I eat breakfast, and get a full night’s sleep every night the week before we go.  I don’t always succeed at achieving a happy departure but at least I try.

What works for you?  How do you get ready?

Photo credit:  DreenaT