Packing Tips for Summer Travel

 We travel a lot in our family.  Mr. Jones job involves 65% travel so we have become near professionals getting him ready and off, even at a moments notice.  There have been moments he has called me from the office asking me to have a bag ready when he swings by the house or to have bag ready at the airport as he flies in from one meeting or job site only to immediately fly back out to the next safety emergency.

As the for kids and I we love to travel and hit the road continuously throughout the year from the five hour drive to the Grands to a trip to the beach or mountains for a get-away.  In the last six months, we have made 4 trips to Tennessee, taken a Disney cruise, I attended the Kentucky Derby, & just last week Audley & I flew to Colorado (he had a meeting and I happened to be teenager free).

Being on the go this much I have learned a few tips and tricks for making the packing process easier whether we be traveling by car or plane.  Hopefully these will help you be a little more organized the next time you and your family hit the road.

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**As soon as your plans are made for a trip start your packing list.  I know you can’t actually check weather and won’t have final plans until closer to departure dates, but you can begin a basic list of necessities;  toiletries, underwear, socks, potential outfits, toiletries, etc….

Once you can check the weather and you have decided on activities to include on your trip, you can add to your list making it as detailed as possible.  Checking the weather is actually very important because you don’t want to arrive at the top of Pikes Peak in June and discover it is 37 degrees.

Freezing our bums off on Pikes Peak ... It was a last minute visit, but WOW.....!

Freezing our bums off on Pikes Peak … It was a last minute visit, but WOW…..!

** Try not to pack anything that isn’t essential to your trip.  Look at your plans and pack accordingly.  If you are headed to the beach besides a swim suit you may also want to include cropped pants or shorts, sundresses, and maybe even a pretty dress for a nice meal out.

If you are planning a trip to New York you will want comfortable walking shoes, casual attire and of course a little black dress (a coat and tie for the guys) for a night at the theater!

If your trip involves a golf game, be sure to remember your golf shoes as well as checking with the facility and getting their dress-code.

Also, if you workout, throw in an outfit & shoes for the hotel gym.

Over packing only takes up space that you can use for that antique clock you might find in a shop on a side street in NY or make you suitcase heavier than you can easily manage.

**Before adding clothes to your suitcase, lay out all of your outfits.  Try to match shoes and accessories to more than one outfit to save space for packing.   After you have clothing for each event/activity you have planned,  pack one extra outfit that can be dressed up with strapy heels for dinner or cute sandals for casual stroll in case of emergency.

Matching shoes to my skirt

Matching shoes to my skirt

**Shoes should be the first item packed in your bag.  Since they are the heaviest (and the one item I tend to over pack & then have to remove), you want them on the bottom so that they aren’t wrinkling your clothes.  Use shoe bags (grocery bags also work well) to protect your shoes from scuffs and to keep them from getting our clothes dirty.

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** When you begin packing your clothes, add the heaviest items on the bottom (jeans, sweatshirts, etc), then add your tee-shirts, pajamas, blouses, skirts, & more delicate items to the top. You can also use tissue paper between your layers of delicate items for added protection.

Items like swimsuits, socks, & underwear can be folded (or rolled) and tucked into the sides of your suitcase.

I generally carry any jewelry I am taking in a carry-on bag if I am flying, but if traveling by car use a small travel jewelry box (you can generally find one at TJ Maxx)or ziploc bags separating the items and place them in your shoes for safekeeping.

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**When packing toiletries, I always look at my accommodations.  I know if we are headed to my parents, shampoo & conditioner will be provided.  If we are staying in an Embassy Suites I also plan to use their toiletries as they use Crabtree and Evelyn products which I LOVE.  Most of the time I carry my own toiletries.  I use multi-purpose clear bags no matter how I am traveling.   You can purchase travel size items at Target that will pass for air travel as be convenient for road trippin’ as well.  Also, those gift with purchase items from Lancome, Estee Lauder, Clinique and other cosmetic companies are perfect for travel.  In one of my clear bags is my facial products, the other has other travel necessities from Q-tips to toothpaste and a toothbrush.  My toiletry bags fit easily in my suitcase if I am traveling by car and work just as well for a carry-on bag if I am flying.  If you think you can slip a large can of hairspray, perfume or mousse through airport security in your carry-on, you can’t.  I lost many items before this lesson was learned.

I keep these bags packed at all times so that they are stocked and ready when I am.

When flying I pack my curling iron or straightener in my suitcase (almost all hotels provide a hairdryer), but if I am traveling in a car I carry a separate bag just for my personal items.  If you have daughters traveling with you, share these items.  There is no need for three of each item taking up space.

** Traveling with make-up is a necessity that can also be a pain if you don’t plan ahead.  Those great multifunctional kits that you can purchase at Ulta and Sephora (By Two Faced and Urban Decay) year round or during the holidays from Estee Lauder are perfect for travel.  Many times these kits contain eye shadows & liner, lip glosses, & blush.

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All you need to add is foundation (Estee Lauder will do a free 10-day supply for you to try) and mascara. Simple and effective for having you ready at a moments notice.

10-day supply of foundation keeps you from having to carry an entire bottle.

10-day supply of foundation keeps you from having to carry an entire bottle.

Something that will help you out for future trips is before you plan your next trip, make a packing list you can keep on hand at all times that consists of basic outfits, shoes, underwear, etc…. With all the note keeping apps available for our phones you can keep it on hand in case you ever have an emergency and need to throw together a bag.

Here is a small shopping guide to help you organize your next trip:

*Monogrammed Shoe Bag: Miss Lucy’s Monograms, $20.00

*Clear Travel Bags: Set of 24, Exclusive to Neiman Marcus online

*Estee Lauder kit:  Christmas 2014, 39.95 with purchase; these promotions are several times a year

*Lancome travel size facial cleansers:  Gift with purchase $39.50

  With summer vacation in full swing I thought it would be a great time to share a few of my tips for traveling while keeping your sanity, so in the coming weeks I hope to cover air travel as well as traveling by car with the kiddos in tow.

What are some of your no-fail packing tips? I would love to hear them!

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Food on the Beach

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to get back into the swing of things after a relaxing vacation?  I think I have discovered my destiny in life after my children grow up is to own a quaint, little seaside inn.
 {I would be a great beach bum!}
Our holiday to the beach was planned rather quickly.  With the jr. high school out for spring break (unfortunately college kids had their break several weeks ago), I decided that we all needed a break from work, soccer, band, rain, flooded yards, and laundry.  We took advantage of the many hotel points Audley has accumulated over the last several months with Hilton, loaded up the vehicle and headed off to beautiful Amelia Island, Florida.
It was fabulous having a week away from the reality of stay-at-home-motherhood!

 

Located on the Atlantic coast, Amelia Island is a beautiful and quaint island located on the Georgia/Florida state line.  This quiet coastal community is completely opposite Panama City/Destin/ Myrtle Beach which is why we chose this area to escape.  I don’t want 100 variations of the same beach shop every three feet and really despise the crowded beaches.  When I have a get-away, that is exactly what I want to do; GET AWAY!

 

We could not have requested weather any more perfect than what we had.  There were no crowds, no party-minded young people, just families content with having a good time.

 

And we definitely had a lot of  fun!

 

If you have tried to plan a vacation lately, you know that it isn’t cheap.  With gas prices out the roof and trying to fill up the bottomless pits that I call children money goes quick! But, there are ways to maximize the time and money you have to its absolute fullness.
Here are a couple of ways we were able to maximize our money on food costs……
  I packed a cooler filled with sandwich meats and cheeses, bottles of water, then fixed a bag loaded with chips, fruit cups, bread for the sandwiches, and other small snacks.  This kept us from having to stop at every convenience store we passed during the nine hour drive! A $1.00 can of Pringles (even cheaper if you use coupons) goes a whole lot further than .99 grab bags of chips, and a Dole fruit cup or granola bar is definitely healthier for a child to munch on.
Buying a case of water ($3.99/24 bottles) saves a bundle when you pay $1.50/bottle at a gas station!

 

Carrying simple groceries and snacks with us also served another purpose …. food on the beach!  Jumping waves, building sand castles, and tanning while reading a good novel really build up your appetite!

 

For eating out, we chose restaurants that were local, not chains.  Restaurants that feature products raised locally are my favorite.  There is something so appealing about eating the freshest of ingredients, ingredients that come from just down the road, not across the globe.
Yes, these can be pricey, but go at lunchtime!  Most of the time lunch menus are just as extensive as a dinner menu and half the price. When you are feeding five who all eat off the adult menu, dinner gets expensive!   I think that my children are well-behaved, but when going to a pricey restaurant at night, I don’t want the fear that they might disturb others who are dining.
Going at lunch allows their inner-foodie to enjoy a meal, at a lower cost, and I don’t worry as much if they might bother other diners.
Eating out for lunch nearly every day was an enjoyable break from the beach and touring the historic district.
right on the harbor in Fernandina Beach
For supper we made sandwiches and one night even grilled our own dinner out on the beach!  I bought steaks here before we left, and then we visited a local fresh seafood market and purchased shrimp.
 Local fishermen bring their fresh catch in daily to sell.  You can’t beat that!
Audley packed our small grill and we set up a little kitchen right on the beach for a fabulous supper as the sun set.
fresh Atlantic shrimp

 

And our chef of the evening …….

 

 

squeezing fresh lemon juice on the shrimp

 

 

 

Ribeye Steaks & grilled shrimp
It was great saving money on food, which allowed us the opportunity to do other things like play golf and check out some other local sites.
This week I hope to share some more of our holiday, including a great restaurant review!
Until then, I guess I will return to reality and begin one of the 99 loads of laundry waiting in the hallway!