Thursday, June 5, 2008

Packing to avoid fees....

<-- Helping Mom Pack for Jamaica

OK, we are hours before our trip I have mentioned in the last couple of blogs. Our family of four is 99% packed which means I packed myself and the kids and my husband has packed himself. Now packing even before kids stressed me out. My husband and I have two totally different packing styles. This is where we joke...he is the girl and I am the guy. He takes everything, so he can have his entire closet to pick from while he is there. While I try to put together outfits and take just what I need for the destination and our activities. But with the increase in airlines charging for second and as of mid-June even first checked bags we decided to start taking steps to avoid paying the extra fees.

As far as checked baggage we decided to apply the following rules:
  • # of Outfits equals ~1/2 days of our trip
    • Exception: Additional outfit allowed for special occasion/activity (i.e. wedding, diving, etc..)
    • Example: Our trip is 11 days. Each person was allotted 6 outfits plus one additional dress outfit for the wedding we are attending
  • 90% of outfits match weather forecast
    • 10% outfits will cover when the weatherman just doesn't get it right
    • Example: Our entire trip is fore casted highs 90's, lows 70's and scattered summer thunderstorms. So 90% of our clothing is warm weather gear with one additional outfit being pants and a jacket.
  • WalMarts/Targets/Drug Stores exist about everywhere
    • Example when I started traveling with children I would pack a sleeve of diapers, my jumbo wipes, etc.. Now I pack enough in carry-ons to cover the trip and an incidental layovers, but otherwise I hit a store or order it at my destination ahead of time
  • Pack additional duffel bag collapsed in a checked bag.
    • This is great for going to Grandma's house or a destination. Either place you will accumulate things to bring home and this will allow you to do so. Plus I don't know about you, but I can't seem to get everything to fit in as wonderfully as I did outbound.
My son is too young to count, but my daughter at 3&1/2 got put to work in packing. She was told how many hot weather bottoms (shorts, capris, etc) to pick, short sleeve shirts, etc.. She laid them all out for me to review to "Punky Brewster" look she had put together. All in all she did a great job and we discussed weather and did some counting in the process.

So my family of four is currently packed into 2 large rolling duffel bags (which are awesome by the way). A third check...which btw...does NOT count towards your bag count will be a car seat. Which a huge tip is if you are running out of space in your other bags...hold out some large bulky items like coats, etc and stuff them into your car seat bag. Remember I mentioned these great buys in my earlier blog on airplane travel re: lap child, car seats, or seat belt. Also in these bags are a wedding present, anniversary present, and 2 life children's life jackets (for boating trips we have planned).

So I will blog later and let you know how we did with our rules. What worked well and what didn't. But for now if you have any great tips for packing checked bags for a family please leave some comments and share.

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