Dear Ilana and Jess: I’m Mom in a family of five. Getting us packed for vacation is a nightmare. My kids span the ages of six and fifteen and all of them need different things. We’re constantly scrambling and something is always missing from one of our suitcases. Is there a way to make the packing process better, or will it always be this frustrating? - Lydia
Dear Lydia: Packing for five people is bound to be more involved than packing for a single person or smaller group, sure. But, that doesn’t mean it has to be a chaotic nightmare.
If your family is not frequent travelers (and even if you are) it can be easy to forget what you needed – or didn’t – during your last trip. When you rely on memory alone, you’re bound to leave something out. We don’t typically think about the things we use throughout our day, so we often don’t think about them when we’re packing.
To organize the process, start by creating a master packing list. Write it in checklist format, so that you can track progress as you go along. You can use a notes or checklist app on your phone and share the list with the whole family. Then, you can track their progress, too.
The packing list should cover essentials that everyone will need, anytime you travel (toothbrushes, undergarments, etc.) Don’t assume you’ll remember the basics; include them in the list. Next, create subdivisions specific to each of your children; for example, maybe one of the kids uses an asthma inhaler. Add that to their section.
If you’re not sure of exactly what you’ll need, consider past trips that have required a lot of packing and advanced preparation. What did you bring? What did you wish you’d brought? It can be very helpful to search online for premade packing lists as well. If you’re traveling internationally, there are a whole host of additional considerations, so don’t forget things like electronics adaptors, currency, international SIM cards, etc.
Finally, try to pack at least a week before the trip. If you pack early, you’ll have time to add anything you might have forgotten before you depart. A few days before your trip, carry your checklist with you as you go about your normal routine and have your older kids do the same. You may catch some last minute items that didn’t come to mind initially.
Have fun and safe travels!
Say This: “Everyone, I’m creating a master packing list for all of us to use. At the top are the essentials. On the bottom, under your name, are suggestions and specifics for you. I want you to start packing today and check off your section as you go.”
Not That: “I can’t believe we forgot to pack that again!”
Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: https://cognitionbuilders.com. To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit: http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/books/detail?sku=9781449488055.
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