We've just returned home from a whirlwind weekend road trip. We stuffed three kids, two grownups, two bikes, one GIANT suitcase, one computer, one dvd player, and at least 35 "last minute" bags into our car planning to drive out of town at 3 p.m. on Friday. By 6 pm we were sitting in a filthy McDonald's 'playland' 15 minutes out of town, with a diaper blowout and a NOT WORKING dvd player. After putting the one and only diaper I brought with us and making my husband pull out the giant suitcase from under 25 of the 35 'last minute' bags to retrieve one of the 3 outfits I packed for baby O., I looked at him and wondered, "why does this happen every time???"
We arrived at our destination close to 1 am, again. The kids were in the pajamas, the better to whisk them from sleeping in the car into their beds. Of course they ended up playing for 2 hours. The pack-n-play we packed turned out to by my 6 year old son's cot (same blue carrying case) which meant Baby O. had to sleep in our bed and was up every 2 hours eating and crying.
I romantically imagine great road trips with our kids, and getting to the country where they can play and play and play. I imagine picnics under the giant trees at my parents' house. I imagine going for hikes with them over the newest trails my dad has blazed. I usually end up groggy and crabby from my nights of no sleep, and get crankier by the minute as I discover what else I've forgotten to bring. One of us is always driving into town to buy replacement forgotten items. The kids are wound up from the excitement, and exhausted from lack of sleep which ends in multiple meltdowns. Of course the end of this day is the time they are supposed to be on their best behavior when seeing cousins they see twice a year.
Why does this happen every time? Why do I think about packing for weeks ahead of time and think I'm ready, and then end up shoving everything within reach into a giant case, while throwing everything I see on the way out into the 'last minute' bags?? Every time I think I've really got it this time, and then I end up with goofy outfits that don't match for the kids and everything I own that fits me and is clean.
The biggest problem, I know, is my attitude. I need to just go with it, and laugh when my kids are coal black with dirt 10 minutes before we are supposed to be somewhere. I need to get out there and make that picnic even though I'm dog tired and just want to drink coffee and stew.
Here are a few sites that seem to know how to pack and how to prepare for trips so the inevitable craziness that ensues when traveling with kids will NOT be the result of my poor planning skills.
LucyTravels (holy ADS batman, but scroll through to get good info)