Wednesday, August 24, 2011

wfmw: laundry and lunch (travel edition)

Although most extended vacations are now over with the school year beginning, here are a couple travel-related ideas I used on our recent trip to store away until your next out-of-town getaway.

my double decker laundry baskets :)
In the past, when we've traveled we come back with suitcases brimming with dirty and clean clothes - which means lugging everything upstairs and sorting through it (which usually extended the unpacking process into a week-long event). For our trip to the cottage, I took a slightly different approach...

As I packed, I put the clothes least likely to get worn (cool weather & "town" clothes) at the bottom.When we arrived at our cottage, I took out all the everyday beach ware clothes and placed them in drawers and kept the others clothes in the suitcases. We also tucked away a couple of large bags specifically for dirty clothes.

When it came time to pack up and leave, I transferred all the kids never worn and still clean clothes into one suitcase and piled the rest into the laundry bags. At home, we could simply toss the laundry bags downstairs and bring the bags with the clean clothes upstairs - a strategy which meant I was unpacked by the next day! Although it still took a few days to get through all the laundry. ;)

When we started having and children and then traveling with them, my usual get-there-as-quickly-as-possible strategy was, thankfully, derailed. Although it would be possible to stick to the travel centers and restaurants situated along the highway, it didn't offer much in the way of entertainment for the kids (especially in the times when they needed to wait while I breastfed one of their siblings).

Thankfully, God used our children to show us a much more interesting approach to breaking for lunch.

We discovered that if you take an exit off the highway, you often are rewarded with discoveries that cannot be found on the main thoroughfare and often are not placed on a map or "points of interest." My two favorite discoveries so far are...

a beach with dunes, grasses, playground and picnic tables off of 1-90 in New York

plum trees next to a church's parking lot in North Carolina (we found a couple on the ground and they were sooo good)

If you want to try this approach on your next out-of-town trip, here are some tips:
  • pick an exit with a town or park located within a few miles of the highway, unless you have time to go further afoot
  • packing a lunch (or dinner) is cheaper than buying
  • bring something along to clean up messes: paper/cloth towels and trash bags
  • if you're traveling parallel to a body of water, head toward the water when you exit the highway - you're bound to find a beach or picnic spot 
  • if you go into a town look for school crossing signs or ask the location of the nearest elementary school - it's bound to have a playground for the kids to burn off some energy before getting back on the road
  • churches also may offer playground opportunities

There you have it - laundry bags and lunchtime adventures. They work for me.

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