In the Heart of my Home: Our Disney Trip: Organized Packing and Playing in the Van

In the Heart of my Home: Our Disney Trip: Organized Packing and Playing in the Van January 25, 2012

In the Heart of my Home: Our Disney Trip: Organized Packing and Playing in the Van.


I recommend the link above, if you are constantly planning/dreaming a disney trip in your head, as I am, but more importantly for some practical tips that apply to any family travel.
When I took 4-under-3 to disney, and I knew that I would care how they looked in pictures, I put each outfit into a gallon ziplock.  This way, they could grab a bag from their tote bag and bring it to mom, dad, or grandparent and be dressed in a flash, no digging through the bag for the matching shirt.  This extra, OCD step was a big help.

These days, we often use packing lists, which allow the older children to do a decent job of packing for themselves.  Usually, I write a check list on the white board and put their bags in the kitchen, and they have to come past me as they put things in so that I can keep an eye on it.

The one big tip I will take away from Elizabeth’s article is a “just in case” (motion sickness) bag for the car.  We spend 3 hours in the car on Friday and Sunday nights, and while I am very lucky to have kids who are not usually car sick, we have had a random stomach flu hit us in the car — yuck!  A kit like the one she describes would have come in handy many times already, and I am going to set one up to keep in our car all the time.

Lastly, as we are frequent weekend travellers and I load up on my own, picking Dad up at the train along the way, having an LL Bean tote bag with each child’s name on it has been huge for us — they know which is their bag and now on weekends they are responsible for putting it in the car as they get in and taking it out when we arrive.  Small steps towards self sufficiency lighten mama’s load quite a bit.

I do still need a better plan for the stuff that the kids use while in the car, it winds up all over the floor of the car and stepped on and ruined by muddy boots.  I was thinking of putting in those organizers on the seat in front of you with pockets to hold some things?  Any suggestions would be welcome.

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  • Emily

    This tip isn’t packing per se, but if possible, I always try to wash the clothes on the last day of the trip. u00a0Of course, that’s not always a possibility if we’re in a hotel, but if I have access to laundry machines, I do it! u00a0(Works best at Grandma’s house!). u00a0The return home is so, so much less overwhelming to me if our suitcases are full of clean, folded clothes instead of dirty laundry! u00a0nnIf I can’t clean them, I designate one or more suitcases for the dirty clothes, and even sort them whites/colors, etc. between the suitcases. u00a0Anything to ease the transition home.

  • Kate E

    I use the thirty-one brand all-in-one organizers for the car. Just got them. They aren’t huge but I think it works for the day to day and weekend trip needs. My kids have their own and we have one in the front for supplies. I have a really large storage tote in the trunk for bigger car items. I like the little elastic pockets on the sides for holding small things like crayons, pens, matchbox cars, etc.

  • Rightsaidred Builder

    Lots of good packing and organizing tips here.u00a0 I’ll have to come back to this post when we eventually “do” Disney.u00a0 I do hope we will fly though, the mere thought of driving makes me feel sick!

  • Anonymous

    This is great. I use a popup laundry basket in the back to keep our car supplies that we don’t use everyday…change of clothes, towel, umbrellas, etc, but we have the same issue with stuff that is used in the car on the floor.u00a0nnAfter one child throwing up in the car this weekend, I LOVE the idea of those plastic containers for car sickness!!

  • ontheroad

    One thing that I always make sure we have extras of when we are travelling/visiting/etc. is t-shirts — small, large, x-large (child or men-women) because they can be used in an emergency when kids spill, throw up, etc. and they need to be covered. We’ve even made a “belt” out of tape when the only one we had was too big.