The back of an airplane seat includes a pocket with the following items: bottle of iced tea, bag of trail mix, notebook and pen.

5 Travel Tips to Stop Complicating the Crap Out of Family Trips

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There was a time, not too long ago, when I took it upon myself to be the sole travel coordinator for our family. From planning the trip, to booking the transportation, lodging, packing, cooler prep, etc.—all on me. Or was it? I came to discover that this was yet another area in my life that I was creating a LOT more drama than there needed to be.

Here are 5 tricks I’ve learned to stop complicating the crapola out of our travel:

  1. Take a Group Conscience: The entire family now has an opportunity to have input into our vacation plans and activities and preparations. We also divide up the travel arrangement tasks. One person on sightseeing, another on transportation, one on packing beach stuff—you get the picture.
  2. Embrace Plan B: The only thing I knew to do if Plan A didn’t work was to get pissy. My husband taught me to roll with it—ALL of it. We do come up with a departure goal but I no longer make up fantasy departure times. We only create hard leave times if a flight or major event is in play, and in that case we try to leave a ton of “screw-up“ time.
  3. Pack for Myself First: It turns out that a good deal of my martyr-stress was actually coming from feeling like I wasn’t going to have time to pack what I needed for the trip. I don’t get this right every time, but just having the goal has helped a bunch.
  4. Everyone Pack for Themselves: I just let them know what they’ll need. HUGE exercise in letting go, but I was getting so resentful having to punish the children with my (pissy) attitude on vacation when comments like, “You forgot my goggles,” would fly out of their cute little reckless mouths. 
  5. Pack Last Minute: I do as much as I can last minute. Yes, you read that right. The fact is, I’m going to fret a little, so I’d rather leave it to the least amount of fretting-time possible. If we’re prepping for a fancy occasion, we’ll have to make sure everyone’s got something fancy that fits, but the actual packing can be left till 1-2 days before departure.

My frenzied travel-prep and vacation temper tantrums could have easily been the focus of TeamDe travel folklore. Acknowledging my part in the chaos has completely changed my approach to time away with our family. I really didn’t want every story about our family trips to begin with, “Remember when Mom freaked out when…” There’s that, and the little extra sprinkle of Mommy-Magic in being able to say, “I’m so sorry you forgot your goggles, honey, I’m sure you’ll remember them next time.”

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    Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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