After we went to the cabin for Christmas, Angie asked for a post on ideas for packing for this kind of trip. We all know that packing for any kind of trip takes lots of planning and organization! But, to go somewhere like this and join up with other family members or friends - takes an additional element of prep because you don't want to spend all your time running out to get things you find you'll need!
My Mom did most of the work in preparing for our Christmas at the cabin. We needed Christmas gifts, decorations, activities, food and more. And, we had three families arriving from all over and then going up to the cabin together. Lots to coordinate!
Here are a few observations from either what I took/prepared or what I saw my Mom do!
* Call ahead: if you're going to a place that has its own website, make sure to read it thoroughly so you know what to expect when you get there. If you have questions on specific items being available, make sure to call. We wondered if there would be a high chair available or even a Christmas tree - a quick call answered our questions.
* Ask around: if you happen to know someone who has stayed the same place before - ask what things they wish they would have taken or which things were provided. A co-worker of my mom's had been to that cabin before and she was a good source of information on what we could expect to find.
* Make an idea list: Are there certain activities you want to do while you are away? We wanted to decorate cookies, play games and go sledding. These all involved certain supplies - so simply add these things to a list or have a space in your home set aside to "gather" items before you go. If you need to ask other travelers to bring certain items, you can make a note next to the item about who you asked to bring which item. My Mom had created an activity basket for the littles which had craft supplies, coloring books, crayons, etc...
* Make a menu: My Mom did an amazing job at this one! She had a paper with each day and then all the meals that day including snacks. Then, as we were packing - we just checked the items off and put them in a box or the cooler so we knew we had it all. I've also done this when we've gone to the family condo in Florida. I don't want to be running out to buy ingredients as it takes away from our vacation and is harder to stay on a budget that way.
* Plan to be resourceful: The chances are that you will forget something! We found that we were without salt and pepper and just learned to do without! We also discovered there was no ice - the ice maker wasn't working and there were no trays. A quick call to the park ranger sent someone our way who wasn't able to fix the ice maker but went and got us some trays and we had ice! Sometimes, it pays to ask! When I wanted to come up with some kind of table decoration - we had two taper candles but no candle holders. A quick search and we found two mugs and some sugar - it served the purpose! Just be willing to look outside the box!
The more thought you can put into your time away and what your expectations and hopes are for the time, the more organized you can be in taking the things you'll need to make your time go more smoothly! We wanted to enjoy being together, make memories and relax!
Please chime in! Have you taken a family trip to a destination away from someone's home? How did you prepare for your trip?