IT’S that time of year again; Christmas and the summer holidays are close at hand and for many Canberrans that means travel, as we head off to spend time with family or just take a break interstate.
For quite a few of us that means a long road trip, and that involves bundling the kids into the car amidst piles of luggage, sporting and recreational equipment, electronic gadgets, tents, sleeping bags, Christmas presents and who knows what else.
I never have learnt the art of travelling light. Not surprisingly, neither have my offspring.
This year my eight-year-old daughter is planning to bring clothes for every occasion and that involves an impressive array of ice skating costumes.
Also lined up to be packed are a careful but extensive selection of favourite dolls and soft toys, a big bag of art supplies and another bag of spelling, maths and puzzle books. She hates to be bored.
My 12-year-old son is less worried about clothes, though he’s careful to pack enough so he can look “cool” including when he’s skating. Fortunately both kids’ figure skates fit into one bag. However, he does plan to bring with him all of his electronic devices – tablet, laptop, iPod, portable DVD player and a small library of DVDs and books.
My husband travels light – a minimum of clothes, a pair of shoes, a couple of books (non-fiction, history preferred) laptop and camera and he’s good to go.
Thankfully, this leaves me with a bit more space.
I pack for every eventuality.
As far as clothes are concerned, I like to cover all possibilities. Let’s face it, the weather’s been pretty erratic of late. Then there are at least half a dozen shoe options, blow drier, hair straightener, hair curler, case of essential cosmetics, a mid-sized bag of medical supplies, my Kindle, a few magazines and, of course, the coffee maker. I don’t know about other people, but my need for a good coffee to kickstart the day doesn’t fade during the holidays.
There are also all the essentials for a road trip, especially one that will take us along long stretches of road across flat and barren landscapes – GPS, maps in case the GPS doesn’t work, snacks, fruit, water, tissues and toilet paper in case there needs to be an unscheduled stop at some remote location without plumbing.
Quite a bit of the day before departure is spent packing the car. It’s a bit like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle requiring geometric calculation and some cunning. Luckily the kids are skinny.
And there are all the other things that need to be done before departure – scrambling to sort out Christmas presents and cards, paying bills, taking our faithful hound to the boarding kennel, getting our house sitter sorted out including instructions about which plants in the garden need that extra bit of water if they are to survive a summer heatwave.
Of course, that’s all before we get out of the driveway. Only then does the “fun” really begin!
Safe travelling, everyone.