Mark has always taken pride in his packing skills. For a while I was behind the eight ball a bit...I would lay everything out and he would put it in the suitcase. It always fit NO MATTER how much I had laid out. ;) That's when you know you found a good man. LOL! Then we had children.
It has taken a few (or maybe a lot) of trips with kids for us to get our system but it totally works for us. What works for us might not work for you but in case it does and I can save someone the troubleshooting process then...YAHOO!
I lay out the kids clothes for each day. I mean lay them out including underwear, socks, hair rubber bands/bow, etc.
Then I get the LARGE plastic zip bags from IKEA and put each day in a separate bag. It was really nice when they were little because I could out them out each day at it came. Now that they are older I do pull them out when we arrive...you will see this later.
This bag has Mark and both children in it...for 5 days at Disney. It has everything but toiletries....we use this suitcase. They are awesome suitcases. They have held up VERY well. The color isn't something everyone has...so it's easy to spot- well, until your SIL shows up with the same one. Ha ha! It is a spinner one as well so it is easy roll and pull. We have always taken only 2 but we actually just ordered a third and plan to have 3 next time. They are very lightweight and both kids can pull it. Their clothes are getting bigger. We also usually fly Southwest so we get 4 bags anyway. We have the 24 inch and it works great. The 28 we would totally put over weight and the carry on size is too small. Mark also travels with his golf clubs and has a club glove so we always leave travel TO with nothing but the clubs but us the extra space in it for souvenir on the way home. Moving on...
Another "Markisium" is that he unpacks...like really unpacks. It doesn't matter if we stay 1 day or 10. He unpacks and put clothes in drawers and closets. I used to make fun but now...I bring hangers. Ha ha! The first night I get out the hangers and iron the clothes. I hang them in people and day order. This REALLY helps the mornings run smooth. It's another small thing that makes things so much easier once it's finished. I no longer make fun of the unpacking.
As far as dirty clothes go...I bring one of those mesh laundry hampers for while we are there. It fits easy in the luggage and then always can squeeze into small spaces in the room. At the end of vacation I get back out the suitcase that is filled with empty ziplock and roll the clothes. I roll them and fit as many dirty clothes as I can in each baggie. I make it airtight....I actually fit all 4 of our sets of clothes in ONE suitcase on the way home. Thank. You. Very. Much. ;)
How we pack vitamins and such...I get the REALLY small ziplock. The ones that are smaller than the snack ones. I think they are called portion control bags. They carry them at Target...in their brand. I put each day for each person in a bag then I out all of Wyatt's little bags in a larger bag, all of Sloane's in a larger bag, etc. I know some probably throw the vitamin routine out the window on vacation well, we have tried that and it didn't work for us. Sickness met us on vacation. We won't do that again! We also bring a diffuser. I run a "defend" blend as well as a clean fresh smelling blend while we are gone. It just helps us feel more like home. I think I started this a few years ago and I can't believe I didn't start this earlier.
I have used this since the very first time we traveled with Wyatt. It's been 7 years and going strong. When we fly he knows this little box is filled with goodies. It is now to the point where they have special treats that they request for their travel snack boxes. ;) It's so fun. They also have their own carry on backpacks and these fit perfect. I know this is full of sugar but it's vacation right!?!?!? It's a small tackle box with dividers that can be moved. It's been perfect to grow with because snacks change size so I can move the dividers around/out. Also these seal pretty tight so once we arrive they don't usually get them out of their carry on but they are still fresh for the flight home. *Major tip for flying with kids*
Lastly, the fuel rod. This thing SAVED me! I need a new phone because my battery is corrupt. I didn't want to mess with it before vacation which resulted in the dead battery before 10am on most days. Well, until THIS was discovered.
We paid $30 for this extra battery. It came with all the adapters needed to plug into my phone. It come completely charged. It charged Mark and my phone...mine was dead and his was about 35% on one rod. After your rod dies you can put it into the machine and get a new charged one at NO cost.
From what I can tell and what I have read these aren't just something that are in Disney. They are in other big cities as well. Maybe they are sweeping the nation. Ha ha!!! It was perfect for us. It can also be charged in an outlet as well. We have used is back in STL too! I wish I had known about it before I left so I could have done a little more research before I went. It worked great without looking into it before but it would have been nice to know a little more going into it. I will know for next time for sure! So, if you know ahead of time you will need some extra battery power look into the fuel rod before you go.
We have so many things we can and probably change but right now this is what works for us. It's so nice when everyone in the family takes their part and helps out. It makes traveling so much easier!