How a Type-A mom packs for Florida


My husband and I have been busy (for months) planning a family trip to Orlando, Florida.  We’ve been reluctant to go because our son Jack is only 18 months.  We’ve read a ton of posts about people taking toddlers and loving it, but you know parents — we’re all skeptical (or relatively so) until we experience something for ourselves.  Our little guy doesn’t sleep well on the road (car seats or strollers) and definitely still requires at least one solid nap per day.  He drinks organic, homogenized milk in his bottles and only really eats a solid meal if he’s in a high-chair.  Lots to consider when planning a trip that’s highly dependent on day trips, amusement parks, fun in the sun and so on.

We also decided to surprise Rick’s oldest son Noah with the trip as well so we’ve also got to make sure we cater to an (almost) 11 year old.


As a type-A mom, you can imagine what all of the above does for my planning, organizing and packing strategies — it throws them all out the window.  Oh, did I also mention the weather Gods are forecasting rain for the duration of our trip?  Sigh…

Here’s a preview of how I get our busy, bustling family organized.


First, I use a spare bed to pile up everyone’s own stack of clothes (we organize by outfits to ensure we have enough tops and bottoms and then toss in a few extra shirts to accommodate any accidents).

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Rick’s perfectly piled, organized clothes for a 5-day trip

Then, I start from the ground up in terms of loading up the suitcase; I insert all of the necessities first. That way, if we do end up forgetting something or we seriously overflow, at least the essentials are guaranteed to be in there.

Sample necessities:

  1. Under garments
  2. Medications
  3. Diapers (for at least a few days)
  4. Baby essentials (thermometer, snot sucker, cough meds, fever reducers etc)
  5. Baby monitor & white noise machine

For clothing and all “extras” (beach floaties, sun screen, hair care, shoes etc) we pack as we go along.  Then we end up with a mountain (that never seems to fit in one suitcase….) and start to edit out things.

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Our Orlando, Florida extras include a travel blackout blind for Jack, various shoes, a hair straightener for the rainy, frizzy days and so on.

Once everything is loaded up, I focus on any other activities I know I’m going to want to do while there (beach, fitness, golf etc) and then add it in to see what will fit.

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My recent fitness kick means if there’s room, I’ll take my gear.

In the end, if we need to add and pay for an extra bag as a means to really enjoy ourselves, we go for it (Rick reluctantly does this — he would much rather downsize and take one bag for four people if we could).  In my opinion, when traveling, there’s nothing worse than organizing everything, planning, packing and then realizing you left behind crucial things for the sake of saving a bit of room.  After months of prep and planning you can bet I’m determined to ensure we’re all set for #MyOrlandostory adventures.

How does your family pack for trips? Share via email or in the comments below

Here’s to safe travels tomorrow




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