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Organizing for a Vacation

Today we are on our way back home from the Magic Kingdom. After watching my girls’ faces light up over and over again yesterday, there’s no doubt in my mind that it truly is the most magical place on earth!

With 7 days of travel (almost) behind us, I’ve been thinking about what I did right and what I’d do differently to make for an “organized vacation.”

But first, a sidebar. I know some of you are thinking that an organized vacation sounds stressful and too structured and not at all relaxing or spontaneous. But that’s not what I mean at all. When I think of an organized vacation, I think of having everything I need, knowing what I want to see and do, and having a budget so that I don’t come home with regrets about how we spent our time and money.

Here are the key areas for me:

Choose Your Clothing Wisely

It’s so easy to go overboard with clothing when packing for a vacation. No one wants to get caught without enough clothes — or the clothes for the wrong weather — and so we often err on the side of having too much.

I’m all for being prepared, but one way to keep it under control is to pack by outfit instead of just grabbing 5 pairs of pants, 6 shirts, 2 sweatshirts, etc. Lay out your outfits ahead of time according to the expected weather for your trip and then add additional pieces to make each outfit more flexible, i.e., a long-sleeve and short-sleeved shirt for one, a shirt and sweatshirt for another. You don’t need to have alternatives for every outfit, but including flexible options allows you to stretch your wardrobe. For example, we brought sundresses for our daughters and added a couple of pair of leggings for the chilly mornings and cool evenings in Florida this week.

Start Early

I’m famous (among our family, at least) for ending up stressed and frustrated the day before we leave for vacation as I try to balance the everyday needs of my kids with preparing for a vacation. This time, I tried something different, and I actually packed all of our clothing a week before we left and sent as much of it to my mom’s house ahead of time as I could. I was a little stressed on that day, but not nearly as much as usual, and it made the day we left much more relaxing overall!

Pack Activity Bags

Traveling with cranky kids makes for cranky parents, so our goal was to have enough activities to keep all three of our “big” girls busy and content. Truth be told, they’ve spent a lot of time watching movies (something we don’t usually do in the car), and I still have a couple of activities left in each of their bags. But we still have about 10 hours to go, and even if we never get to them, knowing they’re there makes it easier for me to relax and not worry about running out of things for them to do.

Overall, it’s been an amazing trip and I’m so glad we’ve had this time together to just enjoy each other. But I’m always looking for ways to improve, especially as our family grows, so that we can make the most of the time we have!

Are you traveling for the holidays this year? What advice do you have to make it smoother?

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About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5.5, 4, 2.5 and a baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

6 Responses to “ Organizing for a Vacation ”

  1. I like to pack using those square plastic bags that sheets come in–the square cubish thing. I like to pack by day, so all the kid’s outfits for day 1 are together for each day. Even if we’ll be gone longer than 4 days, I usually just have four days packed with sometimes an extra stashed in the car for spills/accidents. Then I have one baggie or square for just underwear and socks. I don’t ALWAYS do this when we travel, but I can tell a difference when we do!
    Elizabeth´s last blog ..Charlotte and Templeton and a Little Imagination My ComLuv Profile


  2. I always check to see if where we are going has laundry facilities. When we were at Disney over the summer this was a great help. I didn’t have to pack clothes for everyday I did laundry while we were there and we had clean clothes to go home with. Sounds like you all had a great Disney trip. I can’t wait to see pictures.
    Rana´s last blog ..IT’S TIME!!!!! My ComLuv Profile


  3. Well, I have to ask. Did you use the Unofficial Guide to Disney for your trip to organize / plan your trip? We have used it twice. The 2nd time in March when we went with our three little girls (2 months before daughter #4 was born). We were there for three days – saw everything that we met the height requirement for – rode some rides multiple times – and waited in 1-2 lines total (less than 10 minutes each time). Awesome book!


  4. How exciting Mandy! Sounds like a wonderful holiday vacation!!


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