My husband, two daughters (ages 8 & 5) and I recently traveled on a 5 week summer adventure. Our trip is a bit unique in that we are going to be away from home for 5 weeks and we are traveling to two main destinations, roughly 8,000 miles apart. We live in Dallas, are spending our first week in Anchorage, Alaska and then spending our remaining weeks in and around São Paulo, Brazil. I would not recommend trying to hit both in one trip to anyone else! We have family in both places which made it easier and timing just worked out.
In trying to be as efficient and organized as possible, I have found a couple things to work really well and wanted to share them here.
1. Pill Organization
For over the counter medications or prescriptions, I found a soft pill organizer to be the easiest and most effient way to carry medicine. It’s soft, thin and can fit in almost any bag. It is mostly used to store 7 days worth of medicine, one day per pouch, but I use each pouch for a different type of medicine. I used the one below from Eagle Creek Lewis N. Clark but I also have this one I am going to try as well. Use a label maker to put the names of the medicine on the front of each pouch and take a picture of the instructions from the box or bottle. I have a separate photo album folder on my phone that I keep all the pictures of medicine dosage instructions in.
2. Use Packing Cubes
These not only keep things organized in your luggage but can also keep things organized once you get to your destination(s). I use ours like drawers. They may just be stacked on a chair or a dresser but at least i know where everything is when I need it. I hate living out of a suitcase but when I have to, this makes it somewhat bearable! Amazon has a great set of packing cubes for a reasonable price.
3. Command Hooks
I just thought of this for this trip. If you are staying with family/friends or storage is at minimum, use Command hooks to hang stuff up and out of the way. They can also be used to help dry out towels, bathing suits, etc. These hooks stick to most doors without damaging or leaving any marks and are reusable as long as you have extra sticky pads. I use the packing cubes, hooks and the pull up handles of our luggage to help keep stuff off the floor and somewhat organized. Check with whoever you are staying with to make sure they are ok with you hanging things on their walls!
4. Kids Travel Toys
I am always on the lookout for activities and toys that don’t take up a lot of room but do take up a lot of time (and provide an alternative to electronic devices). We have some long flights to deal with and these items seemed to work the best.
- Mosaic sticker activities
- Fidget Spinners
- Travel Games
- Putty (Silly or other)
- Coloring/Puzzle Books. My kids love Highlights Hidden Pictures
5. Cords and Chargers
Use washi tape to mark all cords and chargers for your electronics. There have been too many times when we are with family or friends and lose track of whose chargers are whose. You can even use different patterned washi tape for different family members if that is helpful.
6. A Pouch to Keep Important Things Close
I found an interesting alternative for those that don’t want something strapped around their waist for carrying important items like credit cards, phone, and cash. The Running Buddy from Runners High is great for this. It it a pouch with a flap that folds over your waist band and stays put with strong magnets. It was big enough to hold my iPhone 6 Plus along with credit cards, money and a small set of keys. I will say you will want your waistband to be pretty snug so the pouch does not sag from any weight.
7. The Skivvy Roll
To help keep outfits organized, the skivvy roll is the way to go. You basically roll up an entire outfit – top, bottom, underwear and socks into a nice package. I use hairbands to keep the roll together and then hair is taken care of as well! I usually just do this for my two daughters and I. My husband packs his own stuff and has no need for hair bands! 😉