Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Organizing For Vacations

Early this month, while I was finishing up the final touches of our homeschool plan and jumping into a new school year, I was also planning for our month of craziness!  September was such a blessing but sooooooo busy.  Now that it's over we are exhausted!  What did our September involve that kept us running, running, running?  Well, the first weekend in September we went camping.  We got to visit with Night Owl since we camped about 30 minutes from Hillsdale.  The main purpose of this trip was to see the HIllsdale football game on Saturday night (and they won!  Woo Hoo!), but camping always involves tons of fun so there was lots of other things going on too.

The very next weekend we left for a wonderful trip to Williamsburg VA and then to Oak Island NC.  We've been to Williamsburg before, but this was the first time we were there for the Homeschool Days.  It was fabulous!  Oak Island is always wonderful.  Mom Mom and Pop Pop live near there and we get to visit with them and spend time on the beach as well.

We returned home the weekend after that, completely exhausted from the 20 hour drive that we did non stop (except for potty breaks and picnic meals).  Unloaded our work horse of a mini van and started right in on reloading it for the next trip!

The final weekend in September was spent, once again, at the state park near Hillsdale so we could cheer the team on to another victory, spend time with Night Owl and enjoy camping.  The fall weather was absolutely gorgeous and the trees were in full color.  But we're still  not done! As I type this I have one more trip I am planning for!

So, how do I keep from going insane with all these trips?  My one tool that has saved me is this binder which I put together several years ago!  Let me tell you, it has gotten a workout this past month!  I thought I should clean it up a bit for the picture, but then I decided to keep it real.  This poor binder gets left on picnic tables, rides in tote bags, gets tossed into the back seat of the van...  It's a trooper!

Since most of our vacations involve camping or staying in a condo, and since we aren't big restaurant eaters, there is usually quite a bit of planning to do ahead of time.  We need menus and shopping lists, lists of gear to pack, lists of what clothing is necessary, maps and directions, copies of reservation confirmations.....
It all fits quite nicely in this binder and, while I don't keep pictures in here, I do write notes ... lots of notes!

It's fun to go back and read what I've written.  A perfect example is this comment from about eight years ago - "Camping idea! - Use plastic drawers to store gear in, then just pack them when it's time to camp." Those plastic drawers are looking a little worn, but still in use!  I also write notes about which camp sites at state parks are better than others, which condominiums are nice (and which ones were disappointing!), fun new recipes to try while on vacation, great game discoveries, etc.  When we go back to certain locations  I review my notes and it makes the planning that much easier.

In part 2 of this series I'll give a little more detail about how we get and keep everything organized to make packing easy.

(Go here for part 2 of this series.)

Until then remember...

"An organized camper is a happy camper!"  :)