Hey parents, how do you pack like a pro?

Kids with bags at Calgary airport

Packing for adventure isn’t as straightforward as you’d think.

I remember a recent trip — during the summer — to California where we all froze because I forgot to pack jackets for our days in the mountains at Big Bear. Or the few days in Washington when we wished we could’ve walk around in nothing but our bathing suits as summer’s heat held on well into September in the nation’s capital.

On our first trip to Italy, an Adventures by Disney, we wore the same two outfits the whole trip because it was never got cold enough for our warm clothes. I knew I should have followed their packing guide.

As the mother of three kids 10 and under, I feel the responsibility of packing for the family falls under my jurisdiction. After all, Mom’s always the one who they’ll come running to if they can’t find something.

And packing always feels like a guessing game.

Laundromat in Japer, Canada

Still, I have yet to take the kids to a spot on the map where there were no T-shirts for sale and I’ve found laundromats to wash our clothes everywhere, including Barcelona, Naples, Tuscany and Beverly Hills.

Our solution

So why do we let it stress us out? Not any more.

We’ve changed our packing procedure to give the kids more responsibility and also so they can find what they’re looking for more easily. The rule of thumb is to pack enough underwear for a week and at least one outfit for unseasonal weather.

A wind breaker and clothes that layer well, will keep us comfortable in any weather. The short-sleeves and light cotton button down UV protection shirts make great summer clothes as well as inner layers when the temperature drops. Keeping in mind that we may need something that looks more formal or business fashionable we stay away from logos and patterns and pack at least one pair of dark slacks.

So that’s underwear and socks for seven days, three T-shirts, three long-sleeved button down tops, one or two pair of jeans, dark slacks, a windbreaker and a fleece. Oh, and don’t forget pajamas and whatever you need for personal hygiene.

Now you’re ready to hit the road. If anything comes up all you’ll need is a washing machine. Or a department store.

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