It’s that time of year when we have to start thinking about how to prepare for summer travel, and in fact, here I am, mere hours away from catching my flight feeling an overwhelming sense of calm and excitement. I am quite certain it has everything to do with the fact that I completed my go-to five things that help me prepare for summer travel and keep me from losing my mind.
Little Mama and I do our rounds throughout the summer months in the sweltering heat of the east coast. Although at least one of us flees from the island every season throughout the year, whether to meet a new brand, style for an event, or to just enjoy a cultural experience in another city – we always look forward to our annual 1.5 month summer getaway the most. But it never comes without its share of last minute dramatics, stressful timelines, and unreasonable expectations. Now that it’s my umpteenth time I have left the wet coast for a good dose of memory-making fun amidst the heat of the east coast, I have developed somewhat of a ritual that has helped make my travel prep a little less stressful.
Here are the 5 things I like to do as I prepare for summer travel in the weeks leading up to the big departure.
#5FAVES :: 5 WAYS A BUSY MAMA CAN PREPARE FOR SUMMER TRAVEL (and not lose her mind)
1:: HOW I PREPARE FOR SUMMER TRAVEL AND STAY ORGANIZED – Pack in Categories throughout the Week
While most people pride themselves in traveling light… I have to say, I have become notorious in my circle of travelista cohorts, for managing to bring my entire home in my suitcase. Yes, I’m that traveler. I am also a mom, with a very curious, fidgety, and incredibly busy kiddo who needs the comforts of home to feel the most at home, away from home.
Needless to say, I have perfected the art of bringing just enough to stay under the limit, while maintaining the reputation of pushing the limits.
I pack in A. LOT.
So, instead of waiting until the last minute to pack like I did B.L.M. (Before Little Mama), I plan ahead and break out my week into mini packing days. Today is Tuesday, and I started my packing plans last Monday. I spent each day focusing on one essential area to pack. Last Monday was clothing. I chose 1/2 the amount of days’ worth Little Mama and I are away from home. Since we will be gone for close to 40 days, we packed enough outfits that could cover at least 20 of those days. That doesn’t mean I bring 20 pairs of pants, a variation of 20 tops, or 20 pieces of jewelry. What I mean by 20 days of wear, is that we pack a pair of pants that can be paired 3 different ways, and so on. Since my focus that day is clothing, I have a chance to sift through my preliminary choices a few times over before each item finds its way into the luggage. I also plan on not wearing any of these outfit throughout the entire week prior to travel so that makes early planning successful. And not to mention, I don’t have to do laundry at the eleventh hour, like so many times in travels past.
The next day, focus is on hygiene and beauty items. The next, would be entertainment. Even if that means one book for me, or two stuffies for the mini travelista – planning what to bring for leisure is actually a lot of fun. The next day I focus on meds and vitamins. And if you know anything about my history of fertility and improvement of health, you better believe 40 lbs of my 50 lb limit is predominantly vitamins.
By the time hubby is merely starting his packing the night before our trip, we have already finalized all items for travel, stress free, with all areas covered and reviewed a couple times before we close up shop. Who would have thought a little forward planning would take away some of the travel prep blues?
Which leads me to my next fave thing to do to prepare for summer travel…
2:: HOW I PREPARE FOR SUMMER TRAVEL AND STAY SANE – I Make Lists
It can be intensely overwhelming with how much needs to be done prior to stepping foot on the tarmac. This is the reason where lists comes in handy. Even something as simple as a handwritten checklist posted on the fridge, or a list app on your smart phone (we love paperless) makes all the difference in the idea travel, less daunting. This is also get great use out of my Day Designer Planner.
I further breakdown my lists into each of the following subtitles:
- TO DO
- TO PACK
- TO BUY
- MORNING OF TO DO’s (these are for the essentials like packing the toothbrush after we use it before flying out, refrigerated vitamins, and of course unplugging my smartphone charger)
3 :: HOW I PREPARE FOR SUMMER TRAVEL AND STAY WELL – I Drown Myself in Vitamins and the Essentials, and Try to Fit in Sleep When I Possibly Can
The last thing I want before an 8 hour travel day with a five year old, is for any of us to get sick. So I essentially break down my packing into sections for the reason I don’t want to pull an all-nighter doing this and that on the eve of my travels. More importantly, I keep the immunity up, especially for Little Mama, by making sure we eat the right foods loaded with vitamins and all the good stuff, sleep as much as we can, and jumping at opportunities to nap here and there. I try to avoid stress by keeping generally lighthearted and positive as we prepare for summer travel, long flights, and recycled breathing air on the plane.
4 :: HOW I PREPARE FOR SUMMER TRAVEL AND STAY IN TOUCH – I Say My Goodbyes throughout the last 2 weeks and Leave the Last Two days for Errands and Appointments
This past week, I have had to say a tearful goodbye to our fab friends leaving for Malaysia for an indefinite amount of time, a quick spontaneous playdate goodbye with Little Mama‘s fave bud from preschool, attend birthday parties, and go on work dates which later become catch-up sesh dates. I even used the excuse of returning a plate to squeeze in a last minute hug with a friend, and managed to sneak in a mommies-only breakfast date with another gal pal coincidentally minutes away from one of my many appointments this week. I survived the madness, and enjoyed every minute of it. Why? Because I stretched out the love in a span of 2 weeks, giving Little Mama fun playdates and exercise, while rewarding myself with some grown up mama time. I mean, who else would I be able to vent to about how stressed out I was with the upcoming summer trip preparation? Sometimes a good break from the crazy is just what the doctor ordered.
The only downfall of saying goodbye is it sometimes takes a little longer than planned… so if it means letting the little ones stretch it out while chilling in a parked car, then we allot time for that as well. I mean, do I really have much of a choice?
After the socializing and long, drawn out goodbyes have come to an end, I leave the last two days for much needed appointments like the essential brow wax, or a mani/pedi date with myself, or even my seasonal dental or fertility maintenance appointments. It’s always nice to line up appointments prior to my trip, so I don’t end up coming back bombarded with a packed schedule.
5 :: HOW I PREPARE FOR SUMMER TRAVEL AND BE ACCOUNTABLE – I Pay My Bills, Handle all Deadlines, And Clean House
The last thing I like to do, and actually dread having to do – are the very thing that needs to be done. Bills don’t go on vacation, and neither do work deadlines. The house won’t clean itself, and neither will that dreadful almost always empty fridge (which always seems to be full the days preceding having to leave the country! Yikes.)
But alas, these are the very things that cannot go ignored. So added to my list (see #2), I always place the must-dos at the top priority spot. Besides, the sooner I get done with the boring stuff, the sooner I can pick out which books to read on the plane, which cute purse I should bring to match which shoes, etc etc.
Also sharing the spot at the top of my list, right until departure, I meal plan for the week, and ensure I use up all the food that is in my fridge to ensure nothing goes to waste. I find myself saving a ton on groceries that particular week, as I am intentional with not buying more than absolutely necessary. At the end of the week closer to my last day, I make a loaf of banana bread to bring on the trip, using up the remainder of the bananas. Or I drop by a friend’s place with a big bowl of perfectly ripe apples ready for the nibbling. Everybody wins when we plan out what to do with our leftover food – in addition to us coming home to a clean and stink-free fridge! Yay!
BONUS :: HOW I PREPARE FOR SUMMER TRAVEL AND STAY CONNECTED – I Fit In Social Media and Online Work in Between Meetings and Meet ups
We all know staying connected during the last week before a trip is pretty much a job in itself. So, I try not sweat it. I may not be as “present” online, nor am I any better offline… So, I cut myself some slack and fit it in where I can. I often catch up on chats with my BFF while waiting in line at the store buying travel sized containers. I give some love on Instagram while stirring a pot of chilli (which tends to be our go-to dinner for 3 of the last 5 nights before we leave). I often check in and throw in a status update on how fun it is (or not) to prepare for a 1.5 month summer trip with a 5 year old who really only cares about how many Polly Pocket dolls she can squeeze into her carry-on, and a husband who spends hours wondering how many pair of jeans he should bring. As overwhelming it is to prepare for summer travel, I do my best to keep things light. I don’t need the added stress (refer to #3).
I know for me, I kept my focus and now, I can sit back, enjoy my cup of coffee while I let my two very helpful (not) co-travelers sleep in before our very early flight.
What are some of your favorite rituals before taking off for the summer?
We would love to hear some of YOUR five favorite things too. Link up below!
Safe Travels everyone! From one travelista to another…
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