Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Family Vacation: Packing

When preparing for our vacation, we didn’t pack the kitchen sink. Just the oven.

You might think I’m kidding, but when planning to make Thanksgiving dinner in a hotel room, it helps to have a little cooking power.

The room had a kitchenette, including a dishwasher, small fridge, a stove top, and a microwave. But it had no oven. So we packed ours. No, not the big one. The counter-top one that is just big enough for a pie or two, a pizza, a tray of chicken nuggets, or, hopefully, a turkey breast.

When we bought our new car, I was thrilled with the hauling capacity. But with suitcases for four for a week, plus a mini-oven, we had to forgo the cooler. The possibility of roast turkey was far more important than cold sodas.

The drive to Destin takes about 13 hours, so we planned to do it in two days each way. Maybe in a few years we could power through it all in one. Once everyone's potty trained and learns to sleep in the car instead of throw tantrums in it.

We made a smart decision on the way down to pack a single overnight bag of clothes for all 4 of us that we could bring in to the hotel, along with a toiletry bag, diaper bag, and any assorted electronics we didn't trust to leave in a parked car overnight. That definitely made check in and out simpler.

The kids also helped pack their own suitcases. For Charlotte, I gave her one item at a time ("3 short sleeved shirts") and let her choose from her closet and pile the things in her bag. That worked really well, except that I was sure I asked her to pack jeans and she didn't. Mid-week when the temperature was low and she had run out of long pants to wear, we ended up at Walmart buying a $10 pair of jeans and laundry detergent. For Trystan, I packed, and he added assorted clothes and socks from his closet. He had more long pants than the rest of us by the time we were done.

I am looking forward to the day I can hand each kid a bag, tell them to pack, and get back to my own checklist.

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