Be Prepared For a Day at the Beach … or Anywhere!
Want to head out to the park and find yourself scrambling around the house trying to find where the sunscreen was last left? Or the hats?
Summer, with its many outings and camps is a great time to put together a few “grab & go” bags. If you have certain activities you do often, it is worth duplicating some items in order to always have them on hand when you’re ready to go. The bag contains the staples that always need to be there and things like snacks or reading material can be added as needed.
Beach/Pool Bag: bathing suits, sunscreen, goggles, earplugs, towels & hats
Park/Outing Bag: sunscreen, hats, bug repellant, picnic blanket
Day Camp Bag: sunscreen, sunglasses money, hat, light jacket
The key is having a dedicated home where your specialty bags live and remembering to replenish the bags after your outings. Make sure freshly laundered items make their way back into their bags instead of into a dresser or cabinet.
This model of making specialty bags also applies year-round to other activities and not just for kids:
- Sports: uniform, water bottle, sunscreen
- Overnights: toiletries, flashlight,
- Classes: paper, pen, class materials
- Gym/Workout: water bottle, toiletries, snack bars
- Meetings or Committees: notepad, pen, reference materials
- Charging kit: extra phone & computer chargers
It may seem like a bit of extra work, but when your supplies are ready to go, getting out the door quickly keeps you relaxed and able to be spontaneous. Spend your time on your outing instead of stressing out and wasting time searching the house for the park blanket. As an added benefit your kids learn the benefits of being prepared ahead of time!
Last time we covered how to pack most effectively for a comfortable travel experience. This week we cover the same issue in your carry-on bag. In addition to making you most comfortable for the duration of the flight what you bring in your carry-on matters in case your luggage is lost or delayed. You may not want all these items (some are specific to international travel) but consider this list an open buffet to choose from:
- Boarding pass
- Passport and/or ID
- Copy of complete flight itinerary
- Copy of any transportation or accommodation plans
- Physical address of where you are staying: You will need this to complete immigration forms and it may be helpful to share with cab drivers as well so they can easily look up directions.
- Visa confirmations
- Hand lotion
- Contact solution
- Toothbrush and mini-toothpaste
- Bath wipes to help you freshen up
- Face wipes or mini bottle of face wash and wash cloth
- Ear plugs
- Eye mask
- Long flights: oral sleep aid, your own pillow and blanket
* Make sure any liquids are in a bag meeting carry-on size requirements
- Nut butter sandwich (unless you’re allergic, of course)
- Fruit – apple or dried fruit travel well
- Granola/muesli bars or protein bars.
- Water bottle: Buy one after passing through security, or if you can wait, bring an empty bottle from home (you can bring this through security) and fill up on the plane.
- iPod (or your music player of choice)
- Kindle (or similar) to read books without weighing down your bag
- Music, books, movies
- 1-2 shirts (change of clothes)
- Your favorite “I would HATE to lose this” article of clothing
- Wallet with essential credit cards and other important cards (leave extras at home)
- Camera equipment
- Phone and car keys
- Travel guides – be careful not to overdo this category. Pick your favorite one and leave the rest at home.
- Something to write with – in case you have a brainstorm
- Medication or supplements
What NOT to Bring
…on the plane or in your luggage
- That stack of books you haven’t gotten to in the past 6 months. Heard of that cool thing called a Kindle?
- Multiple shoes for every occasion. If planned activities demand a variety (probably not a good idea to wear running shoes to the cocktail party) limit yourself to 1 sport, 1 dress, 1 casual. Wear your bulkiest shoes while in transit.
- Too tight clothes
- Too fancy formals
- Dashing outfits don’t have the courage to wear at home
These are the basics of what to bring on board for a long trip. Again, pick and choose what is important to you. Some experts advise to bring the bare minimum and buy what you need when you arrive. It all depends on how willing you are to experience discomfort. Traveling with children can be approached in the same way; bring only the basics to save yourself from unnecessary physical stress. Just remember that whatever you bring, you’ll have to schlep it and account for it at every juncture.
What items have you found most useful to bring along on trips? Most useless?
Spend more time enjoying your campfire, less time dealing with stuff!
Both of us have just returned from our final summer camping trips. We each had a blast being in nature, seeing a sky full of stars and breathing in fresh air. We’d like to share what we’ve learned about packing to make it easy for you to get away at your next opportunity.
Things to do in advance
Reservations: California State Park system opens up reservations 7 months in advance…plan ahead to get your ideal spot. That means if you’re thinking of camping in June next summer, go online to Reserve America to reserve your sites on the first of December.
- Create a checklist that you can use year after year
- Toiletries- it’s helpful even if redundant to have some of these pre-packed so you’re ready to go without too much effort
- Pre-pack tubs or bins of kitchen supplies, general utility items, and fun activities (games/toys). Keep the bins packed year-round so they’re ready to go
Any bin will do. One that is pliable can take some bumping around.
While you’re there
- Setting up camp – just like you would organize at home, set up zones so everyone knows where to find their needed items. Designate areas for important things like your flashlight, warm hat, sunscreen, maps
- Set up a kitchen area where you can concentrate your cooking tools, trash, clothesline
- Create a dedicated container for important items like keys, glasses, passes, etc.
Here’s a handy pouch for containing important travel items
When you get home
Even though you’re tired, take the extra effort to:
- Clean things out, wipe things down
- Restock your bins
- Put things back in order so you’re ready to go next time
Preparation paves the way for a relaxing and fun outing you can look forward to and make happen efficiently. The silver lining of pre-preparing for camping is you’ll also have some preparations in place in case of an emergency!
Contact us if you’d like us to send you our camping checklists!