Since we do a lot of road trips, usually for 2-3 weeks at a time, I thought I would walk you through our process of getting ready.
Usually, I have at least a month's notice. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Our trips are tied to my Hubby's work schedule. We have to go where his assignments are. When I find out we are going & where, then my work begins.
First I google the city we are going to looking for fun & educational things to do. I make a list of places to go with their cost & hours of operation. I also make a list of places within a 2-3 hour drive that might make a nice weekend trip. For example, when we went to Wilmington, Delaware, I also researched Washington DC, Baltimore & Rehoboth Beach. I always look for National Park Service properties as many of these are free. I also check for things related to our current studies, like the Civil War. I also check for not to be missed attractions along the route to our destination. When we went to Clarksville, TN, we stopped at Mammoth Caves on our way.
The next thing I start doing is making a list of school items I need to pack. This includes curriculum, paper, pencils, creative art supplies, math videos & our printer. I find it's easier to take the printer than try to print things to hotel printer or to carry a lot of papers that I might not need. I also pack binders for each kid so they can make a trip notebook.
The next list I make is a clothes packing list. I make one for each kid so they can pack their own suitcases. That makes the week before we leave much easier on me. I also put meds & personal hygiene items on this list.
I also make a tech list. We are a very tech-savvy family. This list includes laptops, iPads, cameras, phones, iPods & headphones. I also make sure to put sync cables & battery chargers on this list. And I need to make sure we don't forget power cords for our printer & laptops.
I also make a list of things we need to do before we leave such as hold our mail, notify neighbors we will be gone, turn heat down/AC up & refill meds we will need.
About 2 weeks before our trip, Hubby & I go over my packing lists. Many times, he thinks of a few things to add. We also look over my places to go list. He helps narrow it down to what is feasible to do in the time we have & with the money we have.
Hubby works really hard to find us a hotel with a one bedroom suite so we have more room for our extended stay. We also try to get one with a pool (indoor if possible). We also try to get one with a frig, microwave & if possible a stovetop.
The week before our trip is very busy. We have to try to get school work done in between packing. A lot of times, we spend that week learning about the city & state we will be visiting. Laundry, packing, cleaning house & more packing must be done. My goal is always to have everything packed & ready to be loaded into our van the day before we leave. Then comes the fun part!
Loading the van is always like doing a 3-D jigsaw puzzle. I have to figure out how to get everything in! I try to accomplish this before bedtime. I tend to sleep better if it is all loaded up!
As you can see, preparing for a trip is a lot of work. And this post has been long & boring with no pictures! I will try to take pictures throughout the preparation process when we go on our next trip. We are also thinking about doing some recordings (audio & video) of our next trip. Then maybe we can revive our podcast.... Maybe....