Making a spring break for it

March 29, 2013

spring break road trip

Are you heading somewhere for Spring Break? We've heard from people who are beach bound, heading for the slopes, to Buffalo for a family reunion and a nearby indoor water park. Good times to be had. But let's be honest: there's a lot of work that goes into getting out of Dodge. So we asked around, clicked around and came up with a list of things that might help take the edge off, especially if there's a road trip in your future.

Make a list and check it twice. Packing for a family can be mind boggling. A list always makes it easier. You can even print, laminate and store in your luggage so you'll have handy for your next trip. Try this one to get you started and customize to your family and destination.

Take a page from the Garanimals playbook. The color-coded kids clothes from back in the day were embraced because they took the guesswork out of grumpy mornings and helped kids dress themselves. Keep the magic alive for younger kids with a little twist on traditional packing. Match up outfits and put them in large resealable plastic bags. They can grab a bag and get on with things!

Build a travel treat box. You'll find beautiful takes on the treat box all over the Internet, but here are the basics. Buy yourself a plastic tackle box or bead organizer (both have clear lids and multiple compartments) at your local discount or craft store. Then raid your pantry and fill with dried fruits, potato chips, pretzels, nuts, popcorn, granola, raisins, chocolate chips, M&Ms, tortilla chips or anything that travels well…and helps your kids (and you?!) do the same.

water bottle

Personalized water bottles. We debated including this because who wants to stop for another potty break? But the truth is, pit stops always end up costing a fortune when everyone needs a juice or a bottled water. Fill 'er up before you leave and refill with your drive-thru water. Color code or write your names on them though to avoid potential water bottle battles.

Pack the cookie sheets? Weird? Maybe, but your standard issue cookie sheets are stackable, easily packable and they make a great lap tray for Legos, toy cars, beads and crafts, artwork and more.

Encourage graffiti. We love these wipeable window markers! Give your kids a pack and let them decorate as you drive. Word is they won't wipe off dry, but a little water or a baby wipe will do the trick. Warning: Buy two packs. You'll want to do this, too.

car organizer

Make organizing easy.
An oldie but goodie from everyone's organizing hero. This retrofitted shoe organizer is one of Martha Stewart's 2004 Good Things and we love that you can load it up with whatever goodies will keep your crew happy.

Glow with the flow. Make night travel a little more fun with glow sticks from your local discount or dollar store that can be turned into necklaces, bracelets and fun little nightlights.

Let the kids document the trip, too. Buy some inexpensive disposable cameras and blank notebooks. Kids can use the cameras in the car and once you arrive to snap their versions of vacation. Sure, you might end up with some pictures of the grass or an extreme close-up of the back of your head, but if you tell them they can make their own memory book, they just might surprise you. Older kids can journal about their days and leave room for photos.

And if you're staying home this year, good for you! It's a great time to visit some of your favorite local attractions since they won't be crowded, you can hit the movie theater, take a day trip, or movies and popcorn in everyone's jammies doesn't sound half bad either.

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