In only 3 short days our family is taking off on a roadtrip to the California coast.  For my excited Tinys, those 3 days seem like an eternity.  For me, they will be WAY too short.  Because I’ve learned that when traveling with Tinys, you only earn Vacation RELAXATION through Vacation PREPARATION.

Having come to this wisdom the hard way, I pulled out my cute little Toshiba mini nb205 a few weeks ago and started making lists.  This netbook is especially handy for traveling moms like myself, because I can take it with me everywhere (weighs less than three lbs. and rocks NINE hours of battery life!).  


I made 4 lists, to be exact,  titled “Roadtrip Needs”, “Vacation Needs”, “Home Prep” and “To Buy”.  And, if you can believe it, each list was divided into three sections  – “One Week Prep” , “Night Before Prep” and “Grab and Go“.  Don’t laugh!  This simple little organization has proved to be absolutely sanity-saving for my family as we travel with our three Tinys.  Here’s a little more about these lists and why I find them so very useful…


ROADTRIP NEEDS:  Have you ever had a roadtrip that went exactly as planned?  Yeah – me neither.  Especially with Tinys in tow.  So the bag that I pack for the car is well stocked for contingencies.  As I compile my list I think about the immediate needs of our family and mentally plan out how I would handle different unexpected scenarios.  Aside from the usual items like snacks and games, I make sure we have:

  • A mini backpack loaded up for each Tiny, stocked with a blanket, sunglasses, small pack of wipes and several *new* toys (dollar store swag!)
  • A spare toiletry bag with toothbrushes, toothpaste, contact case/solution, wash cloth, soap, hand sanitizer and shampoo
  • Tide To-Go stick so you can treat stains immediately
  • My trusty Swiss Army Knife
  • A basic first-aid kit plus barf bags, car-sickness suckers and children’s Tylenol.
  •  A spare t-shirt for each child (can be used for a myriad of purposes – check out this article on “The Mighty Tee”
  • A spare pair of undies for each child (because the only thing more annoying than a potty-related accident is having to pull EVERYTHING out of the trunk and dig through suitcases for fresh undies)

VACATION NEEDS: Since I pack the Tinys their individual backpacks for the car, I can stuff everyone’s long-term needs in on huge bag and be done with it.  A hard and fast rule that helps us fight travel clutter is keeping those backpacks in the car so that they’re right where we need them everytime we hop in for another leg of the trip.  This also makes life more tolerable in a small hotel room where you don’t have the space for all that stuff.  On the “Vacation Needs” list are a few bigger, more universal toys that can stay in the trunk during the drive but will make a welcomed appearance when we have destination down-time. 


Because the list is divided into “One Week Prep”, “Night Before Prep” and “Grab and Go” I avoid alot of the madness that comes from trying to pack EVERYTHING right before we leave.  When I find time in the days before the vacation, I can gather up a few items, throw them in the suitcase and cross them off the list.  It also serves as a reminder that certain laundry needs to be done, items bought, and toys found in advance.

Not only is are these lists sanity savers, they’re time and money savers too!  As I mentally go through all our various vacation activities I am able to compile a “TO BUY” comprehensive  shopping list.  Which means ONE big afternoon of retail madness vs. 200 hundred “quick” trips to pick up yet one more thing we’ve discovered we need for the trip.  I can watch sales and buy in advance as well.  Plus, less runaround means less gas wasted, which saves you a few extra bucks for splurging at the hotel spa!


The last list, “HOME PREP”, helps with things like stopping the mail, getting a neighbor to water the plants, turning off the AC before we leave, and so on.  It prevents the classic “Did I leave the oven on?” panic as we’re driving away.

Because my Toshiba mini goes with me everywhere (it’s impressively durable and fits in my diaper bag!) I’m able to add to my lists or check things off as they are completed.  I can also easily email copies to my husband so HE can get involved in our preparations as well (which is just so THRILLING for him).  As I said, starting now we’ve got three days to pull everything together, cram it all in our car and head on out!  Think we’ll make it without going crazy???




You’ll be the first to know!  I’ll be posting our “Hit The Road” experiences here over the next week or so, complete with video, photos (by both myself and my Tinys!) and travel logs that lay bare our adventures  TravelingWithTinys!