Thursday, June 23, 2011

Travelling light

Griffin said to Steve and I the other day, after I fixed his plastic slinky for the eight hundredth time (after Steve had declared it unfix-able,) "Mommy's amazing. Mommy can do ANYTHING."

Wow. I'm glad you think that, buddy.

Most things I can do, if not well, then at least I can give it a shot. And I'm glad that's enough in the eyes of my 4 year old.

But I'm not a very good cook, I suck at keeping the laundry folded, and I can NOT. PACK. LIGHT.

But I HAVE to pack light. This year I HAVE to.

In 5 weeks we leave on an Epic Cross Country Journey. (So epic that it needs to be capitalized, but from here on in needs to be shortened to ECCJ. Or just Epic Journey.)

(5 weeks? ACK!)

We are traveling across Canada, camping our way from Toronto to Vancouver. We are taking a truck (not ours) with a trailer (also not ours,) loaded with gear for a 3 month cross country journey from Vancouver to Toronto, that journey that we won't be on. Some of our stuff can be on it, but we will be on a plane back to Toronto, with one bag each, and car seats, and a stroller. And maybe some of our camping gear...because we need it when we get back.

Oh, and there's the nearly 5 year old. And a year and a half year old too. (No dog. Phewf.)

I think this year, I best LEARN how to pack light. We're off in the next few days for a jaunt to Ottawa. Next weekend we're going camping...Steve will miss the packing and the setting up part of that...that'll just be me and the kids. After that then there is the family reunion/camping trip. And then the Epic Journey. And then another camping trip when we get back from the Epic Journey.

Holy eff.

So instead of packing light, which I should be doing right now, I'm blogging about packing light, because I'm really not sure how to get started with it. I LOVE being that girl, who when someone laments "oh, we should have brought the 'X'," leans over and pulls an 'X' out of the nearest Rubbermaid.

I suppose I best get over that.

Can you help? Are you a packer of light things? Do you have RULES? If so, I need to know what they ARE! And just how exactly you manage it with children in tow?


Terri-Ann said...

Well, you are talking to the QUEEN of packing light! After 30 years of standby air travel, I've got it down to a science. We were allowed ONE carry-on, within the limits of the carry-on size, no matter the length of the trip. Some trips were only a week, some were a month. The longest I think was six weeks. One suitcase. Everything.

So here are some quick tips (these are for summer weather - winter is slightly different)

1. Two pairs of shorts, one pair of pants (best if they are sweat pants and can double for pyjama pants)
2. As many shirts as you can cram in. Put in what you think you need first, and then at the end tuck thin cotton type t-shirts into all the empty holes.
3. ROLL EVERYTHING instead of folding and lying flat. You get more into your space that way.
4. Choose clothes that ALL coordinate with each other - that way all your clothes match, and if something gets wet or dirty you don't need to waste a whole outfit.
5. Kids don't need as many distractions (toys) as you think. Paper and crayons go a long way. And you know that book they like to read a billion times? Well, you only need one book if you bring that one!
6. Bring shoes that are multi purpose. Wear your runners so you don't have to pack them (big and bulky.) Pack a pair of sandals that can double as dress up, if you're going somewhere fancy, or beachwear, if it's a relaxing trip.
7.You don't need two of every toiletry. Pack one case for the family. Travel size shampoo and deodorant are worth the purchase if you need the space.
8. When you are packing clothes and such, think as minimalist as you can. There is always the chance to stop and do laundry. Don't think "pack for every variable." If everything all of a sudden comes crashing down, there's always the debit card and a Wal-Mart.
9. MAKE A LIST! Make a list of what you're packing for this trip. Then, when you get home, look at the list again and make revisions based on what you used and what you didn't. It will help for the next trip you take, so you can be even more efficient.

Okay - I'm sure I've got many more tips, but those are the big ones. Feel free to ask about more specific things or details if you have questions!

sue said...

I cannot help with the kids in tow part. I can help you pack for you, though which removes a lot of stress.
Pack for the week, not the whole journey (assuming laundry facilities).
Pack things that go together, with anything in the bag. Nothing gets in without having at least two other things it goes with.
Pack twice as much underwear and half as many shoes.
Bring one nice pair of jeans and a couple others to bum around in.
Bring a big strong yet pretty scarf (many uses, from scarf to blanket to baby sling)
bring a tide to go pen or equivalent.
keep the clothes organized in the suitcase. Air everything after it's been worn.
I don't know if any of that is helpful for your journey, I tend to pack for conferences - but i think the scarf idea is accceptable. : )

Ginger said...

A 3 month journey! Holy Cow! I am an over-packer from day one. Good luck! And I better get in a soap order now if you are going to be gone for 3 whole months!