My family has been traveling all over the West the past two summers. We have been to South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Colorado, the 4 corners, Wyoming, California, Nevada and Idaho. And with all this travel I finally figured out one thing:
The overnight bag
Often when we travel, we take a two day journey to get to our destination. With little kids it helps to break up the trip into two legs. Like last year, we stopped off in Colorado for an overnight stay before we made it to Philmont Scout Camp. Or this summer we stopped in Lander, Wyoming to visit my grandma before we went on the the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Last year, when we stopped at the hotel in Colorado, Chad had to unload every one of my kids’ suitcases out of the car top carrier to get out their pajamas and their outfits for the next day. Then he had to load them all up again the next morning.
So this year I finally wised up and packed an overnight bag.
I put in the kids pajamas, toothbrushes and outfits for the next day (having them in Ziploc bags made this so much easier- see this post) in the overnight bag so that was the only suitcase we had to unload when we pulled in to our mid-way destination late at night. And it was also a lot easier to leave in the morning because we were only worried about one bag to repack and load.
The overnight bag came in handy later on our trip as well. As we left South Dakota and headed towards Nebraska, we stopped off at a natural hot springs to go swimming. The bag doubled as a swim bag for all of us. Then it was a dirty clothes bag on the way home.
Packing an overnight bag for half-way stops along the way seems so obvious, but sometimes we just need a reminder of the simplest ideas.