A week before the trip
1. Begin taking inventory of things you may need to buy (besides food). Order these items online or figure out when you have time to go to Target and try not to spend an extra $100.
2. Figure out which vehicle you will be taking and see if it needs any maintenance. If so, schedule a trip to the auto repair shop and try not to spend an extra $1000.
Four days before the trip
3. Figure out what food you will need on the trip- snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
4. Check your pantry and fridge to see what you can take with you to use.
Three Days before the trip
5. Go grocery shopping to pick up your food for the weekend. I shop and bring food with me so that when I arrive, I don’t have to get back in the car to shop at a store I don’t know. This drives my husband insane. But not insane enough to offer to plan meals/grocery shop when we arrive.
6. Leave food in grocery bags to refrigerate until time to pack the cooler. Put shelf stable foods in sturdy bag so it’s ready to be loaded.
7. Start making lists. Lists of what you need, your spouse needs, children, dog, etc. All the lists. Don’t forget a list of what needs to go in the cooler. Or a list of sporting/beach equipment. Make a list of all your lists so you don’t forget any important list.
Two days before your trip
8. Wash, dry and fold every dirty item of clothing in your house. Even your sheets. You probably won’t need to bring any sheets on your trip but doing 7 loads of laundry in a row is really fun.
9. Start packing clothing/shoes into suitcases for everyone. Make a new list of what else needs to be put in each bag that wasn’t ready to be loaded on your first packing session.
One Day before your trip
10. Start second guessing that your car will be able to carry all the stuff plus your family. Do a quick Expedia search to see how much it costs to rent a car. Decide that your husband being uncomfortable on the drive is better than spending $330 on a rental.
11. Take your car to the car wash. Clean all the crap out of it. Snack bowls, sippee cups, straw wrappers, dirty socks/shoes, etc. Spend 30 mins fighting the vacuum hose to successfully suck 18lbs of nastiness out of your car. Fill up with gas on the way home.
The night before your trip
12. FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING, plug the iPad in to charge over night. If you don’t, you will hate yourself even more in the morning.
13. Check all the lists and scratch out what’s been done. Try not to hyperventilate when you see what’s left. Add more things to your list so that your mind doesn’t have to try to remember and you might sleep 5% better.
Day of your trip
14. Finish packing suitcases and toiletry bags once everyone is dressed.
15. Cook breakfast for your family. Multi task by packing the cooler at the same time. Use the cooler list and pray you can Tetris all in there. Try not to notice your husband glaring at your while you load said cooler.
16. Start cleaning your house. Because no one wants to come home to a dirty house. Clean up breakfast, make beds, take out trash, and set the AC higher.
17. Start making trips down to the basement garage with everything you have packed. Line it all up by the car before you start packing so you can pack it well.
18. Carefully carry your full, 50lb cooler down a flight of stairs while your husband walks the dog.
20. Check your lists. Go back inside and get the 6 things you forgot and throw them in your purse.
21. Load the breathing cargo into car. Make sure everyone has a well charged device.
After a 4.5 hour ride with three stops, hauling everything in, unloading it all, and having a cold beverage… vacation can now begin.