Check out my article originally posted on the MilTribe blog here.
Anyone else taking a road trip for spring break? That is one thing I LOVE about Texas. Multiple beach areas within driving distance! I recently took a trip with some girlfriends down to Corpus Christi and had too much fun! We walked along the beach catching up on life’s latest triumphs and tragedies, had delicious food, and stayed up until all hours of the night just TALKING. It was incredible! There is something about staying up all night snacking and chatting with your oldest friends that feeds the soul.
Whenever you take a vacation, the most difficult part seems to be everything you have to do BEFORE you actually get there! Doesn’t it? Making the reservations, planning the route, researching the area and finding cool stuff to do. It’s a lot of work. But it’s so worth it to be able to experience something new and spend quality time with the ones you love.
Since becoming a military spouse, I’ve realized that I also married a life of travel, whether it be for a fun weekend trip to explore a nearby area or going home to visit loved ones! Wherever my travel may be taking me, I’ve learned to perfect my trip prepping skills. Keep reading to see how my speedy yet thorough trip prep gets me out the door faster and onto the fun.
Packing the Suitcase
For me packing my suitcase used to be such a chore. I would dreadfully wait until the night before I was supposed to leave and stay up all night running around, trying to wash last-minute laundry or running to the convenient store to get the travel-sized toiletries. It was a nightmare! I would be so stressed and exhausted by the time morning came, that I didn’t even want to go anymore. Ugh! I shiver when I think about those days. Why did I do that to myself?!
Thankfully, due to our somewhat frequent travel (and my annoyed husband), I had to figure out a better system. So here are a few tricks I use to get that bag packed in a snap.
- Have a set bag for your toiletries and leave everything you can in it. I now have a complete set of shower items, hair products, and even a separate toothbrush that I keep in that bag at all times. So when it comes time to pack, I toss my contact case in and I’m ready to go.
- Check the weather where you’re going and pack accordingly. I am always cold, so I tend to pack outfits that can be layered so I’m comfortable when it’s warm and then have a sweater for the cooler temps.
- Pack less and utilize the space you have in your suitcase. Back in the day I would lug a huge suitcase around and pack extra outfits. I broke that habit quickly after we started traveling in Europe and found that tight, busy streets coupled with old hotels that sometimes only have narrow stairways, did not work well with that. No bueno! Tip: I like to fold up my socks and underwear and put them inside of my packed shoes to save space. I also love using these cubes to help keep things separated and to protect my clothes from my shoes.
Packing the Car
Next up is packing the car. Depending on who you’re traveling with and for how long you’ll be in the vehicle, this can be quite the challenge. However, I LOVE road trips! Being able to load up and jump in the car to go on an adventure is so exciting!
So a few tips that I review when loading up are:
- Go to the store and stock up on snacks and drinks. It’s much cheaper than grabbing snacks at the gas station and you’ll have more opportunity to get the things you like. Plus it saves you from having to make more stops along the way.
- Bring a cooler. I used to think this was a waste because you’d have to toss out and then purchase new ice each day. One day it dawned on us to use the ice machine at the hotel to restock our cooler. Now we bring it on every car trip!
- Pack garbage bags, napkins, and hand wipes. I used to think my mom was crazy when she’d pack all that stuff in our car for the trip. But now my husband LOVES how prepared I am! You just never know what you may need and when you’re driving down the highway in the middle of Texas, you don’t have a lot of options to pull over and clean up your spilled drink. ** I found an adorable little can (pictured below) at a dollar store type shop and used a small bungee chord to secure it in my car. **
Follow these tips and tricks and you’ll be all the rave on your next road trip! Do you have other go-to tips for traveling? If so, let me know! I’d love to hear them.