The 411 on Organized Travel

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Since half of America is traveling for Spring break right now, we thought it was only fitting for us to give you our best advice on how to take it on in the most organized fashion possible! We asked Lisa Ruff, our San Francisco organizer extrodinaire just how she looks so put together when traveling with a family of four. 

LR :: It all starts with the packing. There are two ways I pack for my kids. 1. Gallon size ziplock bags. 2. Packing cubes. The ziplock bags are nice because you can write on them. I pack each outfit down to my daughter's barrettes in separate bags and write the day of the week on the label for the entire trip. That way either myself or my husband can just quickly grab a bag each day to make for a seamless (and more relaxing) vacation. I ususally also include a bag with a "Spare Outfit" and "Spare Parts" in case my girls need to change at all during the actual travel day.

The way to pack an entire family is with color-coded packing cubes. I use Eagle Creek and each member of my family has a set in a different color. I also try to pack similar items, like pajamas, in everyone's medium size cube or underwear in everyone's smallest cube. That way I know exactly what is in each cube and who it belongs to. I pack the same way for every trip to make it a habit.

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A notable mention of these two items…

– Diapers & Wipes :: Everyone knows diapers and wipes are bulky and take up precious space. Instead of buying them when I get to our destination, I Amazon Prime them. That way I don't have to worry about finding a store once we get there. Even if you are heading to a hotel, you could do this.

– Chargers :: For the longest time, we always forgot a charger or assumed we could borrow one when we got to our destination, but they were all being used. So I purchased a pouch and extra chargers for everything: Kindle, current iPhone, old iPhone we use as a sound machine, the computer, extra set of headphones. These cords live in the pouch in our luggage when not in use. It was an expensive investment, but now we always have the cords we need.

. . . .

Now for the good stuff! Just how do you do it on the plane though, Lisa?? We know you have two little girls under the age of 4. What are your go to secrets for surviving the actual flight. 

LR ::  Maybe it's the Girl Scout in me, but I pack spare clothes for the airplane. Always be prepared because what can go squish, probably will. I take a wet bag and pack an extra outfit for each kid and a spare tee for my husband. Spare tee for the husband, you ask?  Oh, we've used it. If we don't need the clothes, I use those outfits as the spares for the trip. And if disaster does strike, you can put the clothes in the wet bag, zip it up, have a glass of inflight wine and deal with it when you land.  

My husband and I have a motto for travel survival – There are no rules on an airplane. Our singular strategy is to avoid meltdowns. With that motto, here are the 4 things we don't leave without on a plane. 

1. A fully charged iPad and headphones for our oldest child.

2. I also pack her little treat bags for the flight. Oriental Trading is awesome for airplane treat bags. 

3. This is what I like to call Party Favors! I purchase inexpensive cloth party favor bags and stock them with play-doh, stickers, suckers (again, no rules), a pad of post-it notes in a cool shape, animal masks, pencils, small plastic animals, activity books, etc. The party favors typically come in a pack of 10-15, so you will have leftovers for your next trip.

4. And of course, snacks. Usually of the type she doesn't usually get (ie. goldfish in the small milk carton or animal crakers. I pack each child an entire meal in addition to the snacks. Btw…make sure you have one for each hour of travel. 


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Wow! This totally makes us less nervous about our next trip with kids. Thanks Lisa for sharing these great ideas! We hope all of you are jet setting to somewhere warm this Spring Break. Next year, feel free to take us with you!


the NEAT girls

BY NEAT METHOD | TAGGEDOrganized travel Lisa Ruff Travel TipsTips