I just spent 10 days confined to a 25 foot space with 4 boys and a dog! That’s right we traveled cross-country pulling our camp trailer and I have lived to tell about it! I actually have fond memories and am looking forward to doing it again soon.
Here is a sample of the wisdom I gleamed from this awesome trip to Yellowstone National Park.
Start early: One of the main reasons I am not in the loony bin, is because of pre-planning and really thinking how things should function. Start very early (I’m talking at least 2-4 weeks) gathering items, making lists and mentally processing anything you need to do. Note: I didn’t say to start packing. If you do that, chances are you will have children without clothes, toys and other necessities.
Pack Light: The first thing to do is take an inventory of what you have. Ideally, a practice run to nearby weekend getaway is in order. If this is not an option, then just rely on your memory of what is needed and what could be taken out. Keep a small notebook to jot down needed items each trip. This helps keep a written inventory of what is needed next trip out.
“Did you know a gallon of water weighs eight pounds?” – Tom Leonard
Fuel economy plays a role in that equation. which in turns leads to finances… So on my husband’s advice I tried to keep it to the minimum. Pack enough clothes for 1/2 the trip if laundry is available. This saves space and limits the tendency to over pack.
Next was Menu planning. My friend, Maureen, who was traveling with us, and I devised a menu for the trip. Take into account time for eating out and very busy schedules. We had something planned for every night which was a lot of supplies. Oh well, I am happy to report no one starved or went hungry. And as a bonus, my menu was planned for the first 3-4 days I was home. Next trip, I would just purchase groceries for 3/4 of the trip and plan on a trip to the grocery store to get the rest once I reach my destination, if needed. This would help with over packing, space and weight.
Have a system but be flexible: After you finalized your menu, create a spreadsheet with all the ingredients needed for each meal. The spreadsheet now becomes the shopping list. Plan on going to the grocery 3 days before leaving. By doing so, you will able to marinate, chop and divide all the ingredients before freezing. This works beautifully, just thaw and you are ready to cook.
With 3 kids, a system for clothes is essential. Take a hanging shelves for a closet and mount in your closet. Each child gets one or two shelves for their items. A crate for shoes is fantastic. You can put outside under your trailer, or pull in when it is time to go. No more looking for lost shoes! An over-the-door hanger will hold multiple towels or coats needing to dry! Purchase a plate, napkin, utensil holder to help carry items from trailer to table. Get a pop-up hamper or bag to toss dirty clothes into at the end of day, will keep items off the floor.
Relax and Enjoy: Once you leave, take a deep breath and starting enjoying your vacation. Yes, there were moments of chaos, but to maximize our enjoyment of nature, I declared it a technology free zone. Yes, my kids kicked and screamed but once they were unplugged it was terrific. We talked, hung out together, and even laughed and were silly. Isn’t that worth all the work? Yes, in my book.
Need help planning a camping trip, vacation or getaway? Contact me today and I will help you take some chaos out of your trip. Going to Yellowstone? I can help you create a fun-filled itinerary.
Share what you are doing this summer for vacation, weekend getaways, or people traveling to stay with you….