Category Archives: Travel

Spreadsheet Wednesday: Packing Lists

Edit: Fixed the link to the spreadsheet.  Sorry folks.

I meant to share this before we went on vacation, but I was too busy using this spreadsheet at the time. :D  This spreadsheet is one of the cases where a little effort to design it well once will save a lot of time in the future.  (As opposed to some of my other spreadsheets, which I spend hours making and never use . . .)

Click to view and download a copy

Yes, as the title so brilliantly implies, these are my packing lists.  I’ve only got parent, baby, and toddler lists right now, but I’m sure I’ll add child and teen lists as our family gets older.

I love this spreadsheet because I don’t have to even think about what to pack for a trip anymore.  I print out lists for everyone on packing day, tape them to their door, cross things off as I go, and don’t take them down until everything is packed and in the car.  It takes all the “did I forget to pack black socks?” out of vacationing.

Changing the numbers in the boxes labeled “# Days Total” and “# of Days (w/Laundry)” (meaning days in between doing laundry) will change the numbers on the items of clothing you need to bring, and amounts of food and diapers for the kids.  You may need to tinker around with the formulas to get it to your personal ratio of re-wearings versus laundry done.

I’ve also sorted the packing list by categories so I don’t need separate packing lists for summer and winter or if I’m going to exercise on the trip or not.  Also useful for packing like items in similar places.

Okay, maybe I should stop drooling over my spreadsheet.  See you later.

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Filed under Spreadsheet Wednesday, Travel

Road Trip Activities, Redux

And we’re back with a review on our toddler and baby road trip activities:

Organizational strategy: Wow, the “surprise packages” idea takes the cake for an idea that sounded good in theory but blew up in practice.  I clearly did not think through the logistics of trying to manage 15 brown lunch sacks per child in the cramped car environment.  The sacks filled up two office paper boxes (you know, the ones that reams of paper come in) and were a complete mess within hours, sending me into OCD convulsions trying to organize from the front seat.

Luckily, I had a brilliant idea before we returned home and turned one box into a divided storage compartment by cutting the sides off the lid, cutting the lid in half, and duct taping the two pieces inside the box.  The result: three compartments effective at sorting toddler toys into a slightly more manageable mess in the car.  And it fits perfectly on the floor between the carseats and the front seats.

As for the activities themselves: Continue reading

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Filed under Baby (9 - 18 mos), Toddler (18 mos - 3 yrs), Travel

Saturday Links – Tips for Broadening Play and Button Snakes

Theory Links

But My Child Doesn’t Like to Play _______ – I totally have experience with this. In order to get Monkey to play anything new, I have to incorporate the alphabet.  Driving cars in letter shapes, building letters out of Legos, making food into letters . . .  I appreciated the additional ideas for broadening my son’s play.

Modeling Healthy Technology Use – If you have a smartphone, this is for you.

21 Reasons to Travel Around the World with Kids . . . From Those Who Have Done It – These reasons are part of why I’m looking into travel hacking (a natural extension of couponing :D).

Activity Links

Button Snakes – Simple, yet effective.  I will be building some of these soon.

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Filed under Couponing/Money Saving, Parental Motivators, Preschooler (3 yrs - 5 yrs), Saturday Five, Toddler (18 mos - 3 yrs), Travel

Let’s Go Drivin’ in a Automobile: Toddler and Baby Road Trip Activites

As I mentioned in yesterday’s library hits, we’re leaving Friday on a road trip.  It’s going to be our first road trip ever with Monkey (age 2.5) and Sailor (age 11 mos).  If you’d been at my house the last few weeks, you might think I was over-planning for a dinky 14 hour, one day road-trip from Seattle to Salt Lake City.  There are bags of toys and distractions everywhere, several new spreadsheets have been generated, and I’ve been refining the perfect mix CD of singable adult and children’s music.  This might be overkill, but right now I live in fear of three words: road trip meltdown.  There’s nothing that turns me into an irrational mess like hearing my kids crying in discomfort and boredom from the back seat and not being able to do anything about it.

Sure, I could probably just hand Monkey a portable DVD player with some Fraggle Rock or Word World, or even better, use my Grandma’s time-honored trick and knock them out with Benedryl (don’t worry, I won’t).  But part of me says that my kids need to learn to entertain themselves on a road trip, not  just send them into a coma; it’s morally beneficial, right?  (Additionally, we don’t have a portable DVD player.  Hey, the kids should feel blessed that we have air conditioning.  Back when I was a kid . . .)

So, how do you entertain toddlers on a road trip when so many traditional road trip games depend on more observant eyes, more brain power, or more ability-not-to-drop-everything than they currently have?  Continue reading

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Filed under Baby (9 - 18 mos), Toddler (18 mos - 3 yrs), Travel

Saturday Links – Plane Travel, Treasure Baskets, and Fairy Gardens

Theory Links

Plane Travel Sanity Laws: For the Insane Traveling Families – Loved this super detailed post on plane travel!  I could have written it myself.  I always forget about the bassinet thing; I’ll have to try that sometime.

Doing Everything right is an Unrealistic Goal – Just a reminder, guys.

Put your random bag collection to work by creating “activity totes” – Parent Hacks, I’m so already there.  I have a park bag (towel for wet slides, waterproof blanket, sunscreen, bandaids), a library bag, and a couple quiet activity bags for my son to pull out when Mommy’s doing chores.  Scroll to the comments for a great idea on helping the homeless (with tote bags!).

Activity Links

Treasure Baskets for Babies – I had heard of this idea before (in Montessori books I’ve been reading), and this post was a good reminder that I’ve been meaning to do this.  So much nicer to have an organized place for baby “untoys” than to leave junk lying around your house, which is what happens when we do “untoys.”  I’m actually going to make some portable treasure kits for Sailor for our road trip in August.

Is there a fairy in your garden? – Creating a fairy garden is one of the ideas I’m saving for that far-off imagined day when I have a girl.  I love the house and swimming pools.

Sidewalk Paint – There have been more recipes for sidewalk paint floating around the internet lately than, well, something very plentiful.  I like this recipe for its quick and simple ingredients.  We made some spontaneously in a leftover 30 minute period before dinner.  It’s that easy.

Fun Bubble Wrap “Exam” – Don’t let the word exam scare you.  You could use this activity to review just about any concept with a pre-writing child.

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Filed under Preschooler (3 yrs - 5 yrs), Saturday Five, Toddler (18 mos - 3 yrs), Travel