Posted in Monthly Musings, Travel

Monthly Musings: Vacation Planning and Prep

Happy Friday Eve! Well, it’s the last Thursday of the month. Isn’t that so hard to believe?!

That means that I’m linking up with Patty and Holly for this month’s Monthly Musings.

This month’s topic:

1. What trips/vacations do you have planned for the rest of the year?

We will take a summer vacation like usual. Since Hayden won’t be playing summer baseball, we decided to treat ourselves and splurge a bit on a vacay. We’re headed somewhere that needs a passport, and the kids are excited 😉

Then, we will go to KC to see my family at the end of the summer. I’d love to plan another quick getaway in the summer, but we’ll see.

We get a week long fall break this year, so we are thinking about going to Florida in October.

2. Best packing tips?

I’d love to say pack ahead of time, but that’s a great packing tip that I never follow. You would think my “type A” personality would shine while packing for a trip, but that’s definitely not the case.

I always have to have all the laundry finished before I start packing. As we put the clean clothes away, I hold out what we’d like to pack for a trip.

I do use packing cubes (more on that with #3), and I do think they are a great way to keep your clothes together, organized, and sorted by person.

As the kids have gotten older, I’ve started making them a list of what they need to pack, and have them do so. Then, I go through and give approval on what’s in their suitcases.

Leading up to a trip, I start a note on my phone of the random things I want to remember: book, Kindle, charger, sound machine, Melatonin, etc. I keep meaning to create a standard packing list to have on hand when we pack, but I’ve never done it. It would be nice to have a “beach” list, “overnight one night somewhere” list, and “KC” list, etc. Maybe this summer I will get to it!

3. Packing cubes. Yes or no?

Heck yes! I started using these cubes (affiliate link) from Amazon a few years ago and haven’t looked back.

Depending on how long we will be gone depends on how I divide these up. If each kid is bringing their own suitcase, I usually just give them a smaller one to hold their underwear, swimsuit, etc. Hadley has used a smaller one for hair stuff and other odds and ends.

If the kids are sharing a suitcase, they each get a color. I actually only have a gray and a teal set, but as I was working on this post, I made a calendar notification to order another set before our summer trip.

When I use them, I typically use a smaller one for undergarments. Then, I use another for workout clothes and swimsuit and cover-up. I will also use one for pjs and shorts, etc. Because I am an over-packer (more on that with #10), these do help condense what I pack. I still usually have a few things like sweaters if it’s the winter, that don’t go in a packing cube.

Travis doesn’t use packing cubes…not because he’s opposed to them but because he’s just a very efficient packer!

4. Favorite travel outfit?

I guess it may depend on the mode of travel. On an airplane, I like to wear a dress with a cardigan or denim jacket. I typically will also wear sneakers rather than pack those since I tend to have a suitcase that’s always pushing the weight limit!

In the car, I love leggings and a sweatshirt with flip flops.

5. Favorite vacation destination? Why?

I shared this post recently on some of the favorite trips we’ve been on. It’s not that we are world travelers, but it is hard for me to choose a favorite destination. If I’m going for comfort and familiarity, I love our trips to Siesta Key beach. We’ve been many times through the years, and it’s a place my entire family loves.

2020
2015

My heart belongs in Charleston! I love SC.

2018
2021

Of course, other family trips like our trek to AZ and then Cali provide such special memories.

2018
2018

If I could get to San Diego (Del Mar) easily and regularly, then hands down that would be my favorite place.

6. Have you flown since March 2020?

We have. As a family, we flew to Florida in the summer of 2020. Then, Travis and I flew to California last summer. I feel like I’ve flown another time as well, but I can’t remember off the top of my head.

7. Beach or mountain vacation?

As you can probably tell from all of the photos above…I’m a beach girl. I don’t necessarily need to get in the ocean, but I love sitting on the beach (preferably covered by an umbrella), listening to the waves crash, and reading a book.

photo cred: hadley

That being said, we love going to Asheville when we can.

8. Do you prefer to sightsee or relax on vacation?

Well, growing up with the Major provided early wake-up times when we traveled. He’d open the hotel curtains and say, “What?! I let you sleep until 7!?” haha

I always swore when I was an adult that I would just relax on vacation, and at the beach, that’s what we do. Places like Charleston have so much to offer in regards to sightseeing and the beach which I enjoy. Having kids “forced” us to sightsee a bit more. For example, Hayden’s desire to see the Grand Canyon prompted us to plan that trip…and then added on the California beach part as a compromise.

We still hope to take the kids to NYC and DC in the next couple of years as well.

9. Hotel, camping, Airbnb?

We’ve done it all, but to me, vacation means a hotel or a nice house. To be honest, we’ve been so spoiled with being able to stay at Trav’s aunt’s house in Florida, that when we stay at a hotel, even a nice one with a decent size room, I feel so on top of each other that I just wish we had more space. I guess that’s become more of a thought as the kids have gotten older.

Travis always “does his research,” and we’ve always had good Airbnb experiences.

As far as camping goes, well…I’ve only “glamped” for a few nights in Asheville. It was a great experience, and I would do it again, but that’s about as rustic as I get.

10. Overpacker? Underpacker?

I am an overpacker to a fault! I want to have all the options. To be honest, through the years, I’ve gotten really good at packing “just” a couple of pjs, workout options, etc. I still tend to overpack sweaters and dresses depending on the time of the year. I want to do better. Not to psycho-analyze myself, but I guess the fact that I’m a homebody by nature means that I want whatever it takes to make myself feel at home on vacay?

Making a list and the packing cubes both really help me at least try to rein it in.

One more thought…

This wasn’t on the list, but are you the type to unpack as soon as you get home from a trip, or do you let your suitcase sit on the floor for a while?!

Honestly, depending on the time of the year or how we traveled (car/plane), etc. determines where I fall on this. There have been times that my suitcase hasn’t been unpacked for a week. I know, it’s ridiculous. That being said, once we get home from a trip, we always make sure everything is out of the car and in the correct room. The kids tend to get their clothes put up almost immediately (per my suggestion), and I put away snacks (if it’s been a road trip), and always put away my toiletries. So that just means I’m about 90% unpacked once we return home and then my suitcase might linger for a day or two depending on if I have time. (I will say this is a character flaw that Travis wishes I would re-evalute! haha)

Shew! This post has me thinking about summer. I can’t wait for summer travel.

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

15 thoughts on “Monthly Musings: Vacation Planning and Prep

  1. I can’t wait to hear where you’re going! Travel has slowed down for us since college and renovations, but I hope to make something happen this summer. I need to get on that, I am a pretty good packer but do get anxious about forgetting something. I have not used cubes yet. I try to pick a color scheme and that really helps to mix and match everything.

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  2. Oh Jen…another SC lover like myself. Asheville I in out list in the near future too. Loved your question about unpacking right away or waiting. I am working to get Better at unpacking right away. I did that last weekend and it really helped my state of mind for the week. Thanks for joining us.

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  3. I also love a packing list and packing cubes! I am definitely one to unpack soon after I get home. I have found the packing cubes make that a lot easier for me.

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  4. I am not great at unpacking quickly once we get home. It’s just not exciting! And I’m off to read your “trips” post now. The beach is such a great place to relax.

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