My packing days started when I was about 13 years old.  My dad's job had him going from state to state and many times that meant we went with him, especially during the summer months. It was always an adventure to see how other states looked and finding out how wrong my perception were when I finally got to see them.  I so remember my parents telling me that we would be gone for 2-3 months and all I could pack was what fit in ONE SUITCASE. Yes, I'm serious!

Then, after I got married, my husband and I, along with our almost 6 month old daughter moved 400 miles away.  This means, we travel back to our hometowns often to see family… and our family has grown to six people! Our last trip was in our Chevy Impala that seats six people UNCOMFORTABLY, but by george, I got everything in that I needed!

So, when I tell you I have packing tips…. trust me!  And I'm talking more than just sitting on the suitcase, while slowly zipping it, ensuring that nothing gets caught in it, as you close it.  It will NOT spring open like a can of worms, but it can test the seams of the suitcase.

Here is how we pack the suitcases:

  • Sometimes we stay at different houses when we travel, so we no long use ‘one suitcase' per person, but one suitcase per house. This helps on having to unload so much at one time.
  • When packing the suitcases, I literally start with an outfit. Lay flat the pants (or shorts), then the shirt, underwear (diaper or pull up) and socks. Then fold it up. I do the same with PJ's, but including a diaper or pull-up in it as well. I have even been known to roll these up together to fit in more. HINT – this not only helps not to pack too much, but makes it easy when you go to change, because everything you need is together!
  • Pack a collapsible laundry hamper, so that as your family takes off their dirty clothes, they can go into one place and you don't have to hunt all over your host's house to find your children's clothing. This is worth all the knowledge in the world of travel… TRUST ME!
  • When your suitcase is empty, dump the dirty clothes back into the suitcase, fold up the laundry hamper and place it back into the suitcase. If you have any clean clothes left (I always pack extra clothes for my younger ones, because things always seem to happen!) Place them in the front pocket of the suitcase BEFORE you close it up.  This will keep them clean.  Now, you may have to sit on the suitcase to close it because dirty clothes take more room than clean clothes. I'm joking, but the fact that they are not organized for maximum storage, they will appear to have gained 20 pounds in dirty. Then again, they may have if your boys are as rough and tough as mine.
  • When loading the car, be sure to pack large things first. You may experience to see what works best with your suitcase, but I tend to stack mine on top of each other in the Suburban, but can't do that in the car trunk, so I lay them next to each other. Next you pack the medium things and lastly the little things. I would like to tell you that packing in smaller bags can help ‘fill' in spaces better, but it does create more to carry. You need to weigh in on what is most important to you.
  • In the event you are staying at a few places on the same trip, mark your suitcases for easy identification and always pack your last items in the back, so it is easy to pull from the front when you arrive.
  • Try sitting on pillows, if these are a must bring, as well as a small blanket.

I sure hope these tips make your trip easier!  I know that the development of them have made it easier on my life. Well, until I get home and have all the laundry to do at one time.