As that failed group project in Mr. Palazzo’s 10th grade history class taught me, sometimes we do not work best in teams. In addition to class projects, that goes for getting ready to take a family trip, as well.
Usually a night or two before our flight, my husband and I will decide it’s “packing time,” and simultaneously start putting things in suitcases for ourselves and our daughter. And then, like clockwork, we’ll later realise we forgot something pretty important like toothpaste or kid underwear.
Next time, I am using this travel rule from My Little Nomads: One parent should be in charge of each task.
Don’t share the burden of any one duty while travelling. Packing for example. One person packs and knows where everything is. Two people pack and no one really knows where anything is. Same with hotels. One person plans them, arranges them, and books them. Do you have that confirmation email or do I?
When you’re assigned a specific task, you take ownership of it and will therefore be less likely to screw it up. There’s no miscommunication or confusion.
Here are some responsibilities to divide between partners.
- Arrange and book hotels
- Arrange flights, car rentals and other transportation
- Research and make reservations at restaurants
- Pack clothes and toiletries
- Pack electronics and chargers
- Collect travel documents, cash and credit cards
- Prepare your home. (Arrange for pet and plant care, have the post office hold your mail, stop newspaper delivery, empty the fridge, take out the trash.)
- Talk to your kid’s teacher about getting homework assignments ahead of time.
If your kids are old enough, you can give them assignments, too, like packing their own suitcases with a visual packing list. And then, have a wonderful trip! Of course, planning a trip with kids in tow is particularly fraught, but this advice holds true for any kind of travel you might be doing in a pair or a group. And if something does go wrong, you know who to blame.