Off-grid pantry planner

My husband’s employer sent him to work a trade show in Chicago back in July. They would have flown him out there but since they allowed the kids and I to go along we drove out there and made it a work/vacation trip. This was the first time he has been sent out of state to help and what a great opportunity it was for our family to spend so much time in such a big city.

Spending four nights in the Plaza Mart Holiday Inn in Chicago and then one night at my Grandma’s in Indiana before arriving back home in Ohio made this the longest trip our little family has been on.

As the Mom I make it my job to make sure we pack everything we need with a few exceptions. During our stay I realized I could have brought a few extra things to make life in a hotel room more convenient. I thought I’d share a list of a few things this trip taught me about being prepared ahead of time so you can avoid unnecessary spending at your final destination.

What I brought /or should have brought:

1-  A bottle of easy to use, squirting hand sanitizer and  hand soap for the bathroom.

  • Avoid the messy bar soap the hotel provides for your daily hand washing- yuck.

2-  Small bottle of dishsoap.

  • I brought water bottles (that needed cleaned between use) that we could refill with hotel ice/water and we had disposable utensils.

3-  We brought an insulated soft bag style cooler which was awesome for…

  • filling  part way with ice to keep a small bottle of milk cold for cereal or drinking in the room.  We bought a few of those individual disposable cereal containers you eat right out of.

4-  Bring a variety of easy to open/eat snack foods…

  • I brought Teddy Grahams, Ritz Crackerfuls,  Snackwell’s carmel popcorn,  pretzels, apples, bananas and (its not food) Kool-Aid Singles. We didn’t use a lot of them, but they are convenient to add to a bottle of water for a quick drink (when you’re tired of water).We walked to a CVS store near the hotel and bought bread, peanut butter, the cereal I mentioned, little bottle of milk and peaches for less than $12.

5-  Bring miscellaneous sundries…

  • plastic utensils, paper towels, wet wipes, a few kitchen towels, table cloth or beach towel to cover a picnic table at a rest area should you decide to stop there to eat- also plenty of extra totes or plastic bags to carry dirty clothes home in.

6-  Bring plenty for the kid’s to do!

  • Mine like to color, draw and play pretend with stuffed animals and cars. They also have a favorite blankets (still). They each had a bag to put their things into for the trip.

7-  Bring more than one pair of shoes.

  • You may want sandals or boots depending on the weather, but  you also might need a comfy pair of walking shoes  if you’re going to take tours, see museums or walk around town a lot.

I’d rather risk having too much than have too little with regret.

Did I forget anything? What have you found to be important to pack when traveling with children?