Tools of the (organized) travel trade:
Nothing can make me shriek, "Eeeeek!" more than traveling with kids cross-country in a minivan. However, I have learned a couple of tricks that help me say, "Ahhh." (A little help in the form of caffeine and snacks from every gas station along the way doesn't hurt, either.... However, those things make my husband say, "Eeeeeek! So there's a mighty fine balance to navigate.)
1. Travel Bag - Since we're talking about travel in a car (rather, minivan), my favorite favorite travel bag is this one: It's Vera Bradley, and let me just state here that I am not making any money whatsoever by linking to this amazing site. However, if Vera finds it in her dear heart to compensate me with any of her products, I would not object. No mam. Anything Vera would do, too. I love it all!
You might think this duffel is too expensive for a weekend travel bag, but I will say that it is a hardy bag. I've had mine for over 10 years, and it shows little to no wear. You can toss it in the washer, if needed. What's not to love about a darling bag that lasts? Plus, Vera puts her discontinued fabrics on sale several times a year. I bought my daughter a large duffel at Christmas, and paid half price!
2. Pop-up Laundry Basket- Ohhhh, can you feel my love here? This is one of my FAVORITE things. However, please let me give the proper credit. My sweet sister-in-law, whom I actually call one of my sisters, gave me one of these several Christmases ago as one of her "Favorite Things" gifts. Indeed, it is! This folds up into a teeny tiny thing, so that tucking it into your bag for a trip is easy. (I actually store mine in my travel bag, so I never forget it!) Once you arrive at your destination, pop out (literally) this magical tool, and the organization of your hotel room is well underway! Having a laundry basket on a trip gives the whole family a place to throw the dirty laundry...instead of, you know, the bathroom, under the bed, in front of the door... Once you're ready to leave, just grab the full laundry basket, and stuff it in the car. Because it is mesh, it will squeeze into any ole place you want it. (You can purchase these at Wal-Mart in the "laundry aisle." For some reason, I couldn't find it on Walmart.com.)
3. Bins, Bins, and more Bins!- Can a girl own too many organization bins? The answer to that question is "No!" For car trips, I typically pack 3 bins. 1 bin for each of my daughters as her "Travel Bin"--in which I pack books to read, coloring books, a ziploc of crayons and sharpened pencils, a notebook, a couple of toys, and a small dvd player and movies. The 3rd bin I pack with snacks and travel medicines (I always travel with Motrin, cough syrup, Benedryl, diaper cream, and Aquaphor.)
I like these collapsible bins from Target. They're lightweight, and easy to store when not in use.
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