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This post is part of our Summer Shortcuts series. Sarah and I are taking turns all summer long sharing little “cheats” and ways we give ourselves a break during the summer months. Enjoy! -Meagan

simplify packing.jpg

Yes, you read that right. Another clothing-based Summer Shortcuts post. It makes sense, though, doesn’t it? No matter how much more relaxed your summer schedule might be, there are two constants that never really change in a household that includes kids: they need to be fed, and they need to wear something on their bodies. 

And never does it become more apparent just how many changes of clothes a typical kid goes through in a week than when you’re traveling.

You know the feeling: you’re staring at an empty suitcase (or three or four) wondering just how few shirts, shorts/pants, hoodies/sweaters, underwear and socks you can get away with packing so you can fit everything in the car and still find some clean clothes in the drawers when you return home. (Because really, what’s worse than having to immediately do four loads of laundry when you return home from vacation just so you have something not-gross to wear?)

After spending the last sixteen-plus years packing for multiple kid-toting road trips and vacations of all sorts, I’m here to tell you: pack a lot less than you think you have to, and you’ll be just fine.

Case in point: we recently went on a five-day trip to visit relatives in Buffalo, and brought just two medium-sized suitcases and a carry-on sized bag that held electronics and other miscellaneous “stuff.” Yes, that’s seven people, for five days, in two suitcases.  

In fact, up until a few years ago, we could usually fit enough clothes for all seven of us into just one suitcase, at least for short trips. (Two of the boys growing into teenagers changed that – their clothes just take up a lot more space now.)

I’m not one of those ninja packing “experts” you may have seen on YouTube or the morning show; the people for whom a suitcase is a mysterious puzzle waiting to be solved with clever folding and rolling and ultra-organization.

Nope, my packing style is really rather sloppy and uninspired. It’s just that, when I’m traveling with kids, I pack way less than I think we’ll need, and it always still works out in the end. [click to continue…]

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