Packing for a ski trip with kids (aka Marriage Test #841)
We’re going to Bulgaria tomorrow! *Yayface*. We really needed to catch up on some geography for the kids’ home schooling so, ya know, needs must. (Jokes, you know we’re going for the thrills, right? Reason #674 to home school, happy incidental immersive culture experiences!) We are really looking forward to a whole week of snowy adventures in beautiful Borovets with Neilson, who we have been with twice before and were very happy with.
But first, we must pack. EURGH to packing, amirite. It has to be theÂ worst bit of any family holiday, apart from unpacking. Checking and then re-checking the lists, wrestling with the zips and realising at the last minute that your ski jacket is eighty sizes too big is a major buzzkill at the best of times. Being a home educating family we have the added dynamic of three kids under 6 all at home while the cases are out, and all eager to ‘help’. Like, “oh, you’re drowning in lava, can I make you a cup of tea” kind of help. Save me.
Also, LTF Dad and I have vastly different packing methods, meaning that the process is tense enough without miniature humans fly-kicking cases off the bed or using ski socks as hand puppets.
My standard approach to packing for a trip is straightforward and simple. I take the number of days I’m travelling for, multiply it or divide it by a number (whichever I fancy at the time), and pack that number of tops and skirts, trousers or shorts. I might remember some shoes but meh, whatevs, I’ll be wearing a pair anyway. Then I take some items out, try a couple on, get distracted and end up spring cleaning the bathroom or buying a new pet or something. Generally I shove some outfits into a holdall or bin-liner (they fit in cars like a dream) at the last minute and rely on an as-yet winning combination of blonde hair and goofy helplessness to get what I need at the destination. (Top tip: if you pack like me and your outfits don’t match, keep layering them up with more clashing colours and textures. I did this the other day and someone told me I looked ‘arty’. Laziness for the win).
Anyhoo, my packing style just does not cut it for my husband. There are clipboards. There are spreadsheets. There are stern looks and requests to stop messing around and concentrate. There are pained looks of despair as I display ambivalence towards my weather-inappropriate pile of clothes heaped on the bed. And there is dismay at my lack ofÂ back up planÂ if the weatherÂ is not as expected. Oh, how he suffers.
To be fair, his concern is probably based on one fateful trip to the Perhentian islands that we took in 2009. Backpacking around South East Asia, Â we decided to visit because of its reported beauty. A common trick in that part of the world is for drivers to tell tourists that their desired destination is closed or booked up due to a ‘religious festival’. Most people know no better and take the taxi or boat drivers up on their offers of alternative, inevitably more expensive attractions. We had got wise to this and despite the boat owner’s claims that all the hotels were full due to a Buddhist holiday, insisted he ferry us across the choppy waters to the island.
So the guy wasn’t lying. Who knew? Every place on the island was full. We ended up buying an Early Learning Centre type tent from a guy for 40p; it was full of mosquitoes. We tried to sit on the beach all night but got bitten by sandflies, so we retreated to our tent tomb to offer our bodies as a sacrifice to the mozzies. To top it off, my only pair of flip flops broke and (TMI alert!) I came on my period. Homeless, bleeding and barefoot. So I can see why LTF Dad is a little anxious to get things right, especially now that we have spawn who need proper clothes and an actual roof and stuff.
I’d better get cracking, the clipboard’s out.