Are you heading away for the summer holidays on the great Australian road trip? Australians love a good driving holiday, whether an hour drive to camp at the beach or the 10 hour drive from one capital city to another. Recently we did a driving holiday, 14 hours north to Shoal Bay NSW. It was such a beautiful destination for a holiday and while away, the family we holidayed with asked me for some tips on how to stay organised while holidaying with children. So I thought you too might benefit from my tips too as we head into peak holiday season.
First tip is to have a packing list that you follow when packing your bags and then packing the car. Write down all the things you’ll need while away so you don’t forget something important. Think in terms of categories (clothes, linen, shoes, sun protection, camping equipment, medication, sleeping bags/ mattresses, games/ activities, food etc). Then when you pack you can systematically work you way through the list so you have everything you need.
We find that when we pack to leave on a holiday we pack like with like… so one suitcase for books and games, another for clothes, another for towels. This makes packing easy because once a certain category is packed you can tick it off the list and put it out ready for packing into the car. But on the way home, we pack differently. On the way home we pack according to where things need to go once we get home. So instead of my clothes in one suitcase and the kids in another, we have one for dirty washing and another for clean washing ready to be put away.
When we go on driving holidays (either camping or to a holiday house) there are a couple of things from home that I like to bring to make holiday life that bit easier.
Firstly, I always take a washing basket and some pegs. It doesn’t usually take any extra space because we pack inside the basket, but having somewhere for dirty clothes (in the washing basket) and then a basket and pegs for doing washing really helps.
One of my favourite things to take away is something I discovered over the last few years, and that is taking some food containers for food that we purchase while we’re away. For me, I use the Sistema clip containers because they’re completely clear so easy to find what I’m looking for. I use these for cold meats, pantry items opened but not finished (ie: biscuits), tomato, avocado and other things that would otherwise go off or get squashed in the fridge. It’s such a simple thing, but having them on hand has made holidaying so much easier.
We always take a big pile of plain copy paper with us when we holiday too (and a box of textas) because we find the kids can do so much with a stack of white paper. As well as drawing and writing stories, they can make paper aeroplanes, make origami, create word finds for each other and many many other activities. We’ve tried colouring in books in the past, but for our kids we found plain paper works best.
If you’ve been around me for any period of time you’ll have heard me say, “A home for everything and everything in its home”. Well this applies to holidaying as well. Once we arrive at a holiday destination and we unpack I intentionally decide where things will be kept. Where will we keep our sunglasses and hats? Where will the wet beach towels go? Where does the medication tub live? All these things once decided take away time lost by searching for things in an unfamiliar place. And even if you’re just somewhere for a weekend, this can really help you feel like you’re organised. If once the kids are asleep at night you want to tidy up but don’t know where things go you’ll find it’s just a frustrating and fruitless exercise. But if you know where things are being kept you can quickly tidy and you’ll find your holiday is more relaxing when you’re not living in chaos while you’re away. The same is true even (or perhaps especially) for camping!!
So wherever you’re going these holidays, if you’re getting there by car; I know some of these tips will help you out. Most importantly though, stay safe on the roads. Stay alert, stay hydrated, eat apples to help you stay fresh and regular pit stops for fresh air and a run around outside will make the trip more enjoyable.
Enjoy the Freedom!