Category: Travel

Our Week Away – Where, Why and How

Where & Why:

We are home from our trip to the Midwest! My husband is from Wisconsin originally and his whole family still lives there. We have been planning for more than 6 months to go out to celebrate my niece’s first birthday, and in May we decided that we were going to stick with our plan. Several factors went into this decision.

1. We were driving – it’s a 14 hour trip to Milwaukee. We typically split up the drive over two days (which we did this time too) but if something happened or if we didn’t feel comfortable staying in a hotel, we could drive straight through.

2. One of the houses across the street from my BIL/SIL is an AirBnb, and we rented the top floor of the duplex for the week (we typically stay in a hotel when we’re out there). This ended up being the biggest blessing. It was so nice to have a home base so close to our family. We could all get some downtime when we needed it (or when the baby was sleeping), and the kids had a good amount of freedom while we were there. They knew they could go back and forth between our duplex and their cousin’s house as they wanted to. Honestly most days I don’t even think they wore shoes!

I found Wisconsin’s safety guidelines to be a lot like Pennsylvania’s… Masks were required at stores, no inside dining available, most tourist attractions weren’t open. We did stop for dinner in Indiana on the way out, and then stopped for gas. The restaurant was only seating every other table, but there were no signs about mask use anywhere. Yikes.


We’ve been fortunate to have traveled a lot with our kids over the years, and there are three things I always do when we’re packing or traveling:

1. Kids pack outfits for each day in gallon ziplock bags. A full set of clothes goes in each bag – including socks & underwear, Audrey adds hair accessories to hers. Then each morning the kids just pull a bag of clothes from their suitcase and put on everything in it. This method makes our mornings go much smoother and gives the kids responsibility over getting dressed. And we don’t end up the end of the week with mismatched outfits from them digging through their suitcases putting together their own outfits. And yes, I do save and reuse the bags!

2. I pack 2-3 mesh laundry bags on each trip. At the end of the day dirty clothes are put in a laundry bag just like they would be put in a hamper at home. This keeps our hotel room/AirBnb tidy, because with 5 people in our family the laundry adds up fast! At the end of our trip the laundry bags get loaded into the car and then goes right to the laundry room when the car is unpacked. I do also pack the laundry bags when we fly somewhere on vacation. At the end of those trips the dirty clothes get loaded into 1-2 suitcases.

3. As I mentioned earlier, we had two one-night stays on our way to and from Wisconsin. For those nights, I pack a duffel bag with one change of clothes, one set of pajamas per person and our toiletry bags. That way when we get to the hotel, we don’t have to unload the entire car for a short stay… just the duffel bag comes in with us.

What tips makes your family’s travel easier?