The Best Family Packing Tip Ever
I’ve been a consummate list-maker for a very long time. I take joy in crossing items off my list. Confession: Sometimes I even put things on the list because I know I’ll be able to cross them off, thus increasing my sense of accomplishment. Yes, I know I’m a hopeless case.
Packing for a trip is a detailed and lengthy process for someone who makes a packing list that would rival a U.S. destroyer’s manifest. Each traveler would have his or her own legal pad page(s) with absolutely everything imaginable on it. Nothing makes me madder than getting to a destination and realizing something I need is at home.
Then one day bells began ringing and angels singing (or it could have been a fire drill at work), and I realized that I had overlooked a simple solution that I use every day at work. I had discovered The Best Family Packing Tip Ever. Or, how simple technology revolutionized travel packing for us. Either way works for me.
Keep Your Head in the Cloud(s)
I have become increasingly dependent on using the cloud for work related projects. It allows productive people to create, adapt, alter, or collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, or forms without lugging around a particular device or computer at all times. So I thought, “We all have Gmail accounts; we all have our own devices to access Google Drive,” and a fantastically simple idea was born.
I created a Google Sheet with four columns, one for each family member, and began a simple list of items to pack. I’m very specific on my lists. “5 pairs of socks” is preferred over “socks.” I also split shared items (such as toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and elastic hair bands) between packers so there is no confusion about who is responsible for carrying which items.
Upon completing my list, I promptly share it with the family. They receive an email letting them know it’s in their drive, and I receive the gift of less pressure on me to remember those last minute additions. Inevitably, I remember something vital to add to the list (like passports or device chargers!) and can easily add to the lists from my phone at any time. All lists are updated automatically. You can always revert to a previous version of your list if it accidentally gets erased or changed.
Parents don’t have to worry about packing for multiple people. Children get the opportunity to be part of the planning and preparation for the trip. It’s really a win-win situation for parents and children.
As a final note, I decided to run a very dangerous experiment on our last trip, a four-day trip to Puerto Rico. I shared my list, instructed my 11 year-old and 7 year-old daughters (and my husband) to pack according to the list, and did not conduct a final luggage check prior to leaving home. Happily, we arrived with everything needed and no “emergency purchases” were required.
Packing made simple. Success!
Do you have a great packing tip? Please share it with us in the comments below.
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