It’s no secret Incredibles 2 is coming out, and the Flaum family is really excited about it! We will get to view it on board a Disney cruise ship (SO cool!) – and yes, we are counting down to an epic INCREDIBLE vacation and summer that will be filled with adventure, movies, cousins, vacations, and fun! So how to keep the fun rolling at home and as we count down? Here are some ideas!
Let me begin by saying this: I travel with the most awesome three people I could imagine. Way back (1998!) when I was dating Jason and we went on our first trip together to Disneyland – a little road trip – I knew I’d found not only a great boyfriend but an amazing travel companion too. In the twenty years since that first trip we’ve gone on countless adventures all over the country, in the last 13 years with our children too. Our next stop? Europe!
One of the problems that I see plague travelers is vacation expectations. From finding places too crowded to lines too long or thinking they can walk 10 miles a day every day despite no prior training – well it is easy to get excited, envision things one way, and find yourself disappointed in reality. As the family trip planner and fixer – today I want to share my tips, suggestions, and ways that I manage my traveling party as well as making sure we optimize our vacations.
I am a fan of light packing, and I am a huge advocate for taking a moment to consider the trip, your needs, and items you’ll likely need. Some questions to consider:
- weather (and likelihood of wild temp swings vs stable/predictable)
- if bathing suits/beach gear is needed
- range of occasions – will there be fancy outings? Is this camping in the woods?
- length of trip
- accessibility of supplies (drug store/Target/etc)
- laundry facilities/options
Once you have a good picture of the trip, you’ll have a much easier time coming up with a packing list. I will be doing a future post specifically about theme park as well as Hawaii packing – today I want to share our general favorites. Note that some affiliate links are used in this post.
Favorite sources for clothes:
- Amazon Prime Wardrobe – try it free, return it no worries! The downside? Pretty slow to get – took 2 weeks! Amazon prime 2-day shipping another fave!
- Ladies: ModCloth styling services will call you (NO cost or obligation!) and talk you through your fashion needs for anything from fancy to theme park touring. I got so much great advice and was able to finish my Europe touring wardrobe thanks to them!
- New Balance – these running/ shoes changed our lives and all 4 of us have a pair!
- Nordstrom/Rack online- if you’ve got a local Nordstrom or Rack locally- you can return orders from either website to any location! Very easy online shopping, and I scored some great deals!
- Duluth Trading – husband’s personal favorite though I’ve got some shirts and a dress from them too!
- Box Lunch – tshirts to cute tops to socks this store rocks.
Favorite packing/travel supplies:
- eBags medium packing cubes– the perfect size we fit multiples of them in each of our suitcases
- bringing extra quart and gallon size ziplock bags – you never know when you’ll need one!
- One “bathroom bag” for the family that has the “everyone is using…” stuff
- A good cross body bag – I just got one like this from Travelon. It’s got locking zippers and zip-out holders for water bottles!
- If you’re a DSLR camera user – one of these style bags! Keeps my camera safe!
- empty tote bag – for day to day use, or as carry on for someone on way home
- small purse inside backpack or bigger purse – sometimes you want one or the other! This way I have both sizes.
- pen & journal – write down details and fun notes! It’s great in ride lines, on planes, etc
- safety pins, needle and embroidery (thick) thread, and tiny scissors- can’t tell you how many times these items have helped me!
How do you know what all to pack?
This is never perfect, but I always err just barely on the side of under packing. I’d rather run a load of laundry if someone has a tragic spill all over their clothes and can’t re-wear a pair of jeans than have 3 extra pairs of jeans taking up space. We try to pack items that are:
- wear well with other clothes coming
And, since we’re well past the toddler days we can pack a lot less overall in terms of toys and games and diapers and such.
- If in doubt, leave it at home. This includes computers, extra books, etc
- Remember: in most cases you can go to a store if needed!
- Be realistic about what you recommend to family members and bring yourself.
- Roll those clothes up into packing cubes! Seriously – it’s made packing a delight!
- Bring a SMALL amount of “might need it” meds from tummy to headache just in case
Do you have any tips, favorites, or things you find delightful? Do share! For more on packing – here is a link to my first article in this series. I will be doing a European trip packing guide soon as I get back – and find out what mistakes I made. ha!
Packing can be a stressful thing – what if you forget something important? What if you totally forget to pack something you’ve been meaning to bring and your trip is ruined???
We try to not be so dramatic around here- but packing is a big part of trip preparations for us! In my experience waiting until the last second only works for really short solo (usually work) trips or in case of emergency. Assuming neither of those applies to your situation a bit of planning and preparations will go a long way to ensure you pack what you need, in an orderly fashion, and that you don’t waste hours trying to find things once you reach your destination.
Aulani is a peaceful place, and if you couldn’t already tell: we recommend it. (hint: See all of our Aulani articles here) There is however a place that takes the tranquility of Aulani and takes it to a whole new level: the Laniwai spa. On our recent trip I was able to spend a morning here in the spa and it was every bit as peaceful, beautiful, and memorable as I remember.
You enter through a hallway where you cast a stone into this pool – a mesmerizing start to the experience. From there your guide will show you everything you need to know about getting ready, amenities available, and more.