No More March Breakdown

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I used to call March Break ‘March Breakdown’ because all it represented to me was an unstructured week, smack in the middle of the winter, when I had to find ways to entertain two boys at home without nursery school or any programs.
That lasted until they were old enough to ski—well. Now March Break is the holiday my family looks forward to the most, as each year we are fortunate enough to have an opportunity to ski in Alberta at Lake Louise and Sunshine. With two boys, life is easier being busy and on-the-go, so finding an activity that everybody loves is a gift. Skiing is that gift for our family.

Still, there is a lot to pack and prepare in order to have a successful trip. We pack all of the gear—skis, poles, boots, helmets, iPods (must be fully loaded), laptops, shades, clothes, spring ski gear (just in case it gets warm). We even pack lunch bags, walkie talkies, a camera and perhaps a bit of work to do, too.

Here is how I tackle the packing plan.

Two weeks ahead of Departure Day:

  • At dinner, we discuss as a family what we are doing and start on a list of what we need and want to bring on the trip as well as what we need to get done before we leave.
  • I make a list of everything that needs to be packed and leave it on the fridge.
  • The boys need to assure me that they know where everything is (most notably, the iPods which come in and out of hiding weekly).
  • I assign dates on the calendar for haircuts and shopping trips to make sure we have time for all of it.

One week ahead of Departure Day:

  • I make sure we have enough appropriately-sized bags to fit the ski gear and have all equipment packed and ready to go.
  • I cross everything off on the fridge list as it gets packed.

One day before Departure Day:

  • I ask the boys to leave all of the clothes they are taking on the trip out on their beds (this way, they are ‘helping’ but I can still review).
  • I review the clothes they left out and then add a few more pairs of boxers to the pile since they need more than one for ten days (seriously, it happens every time).
  • I track down their toothbrushes and pack them as well as bring an extra toothbrush (I always travel with one of those).

The night before we leave there is always a lot of excitement, so we try to make sure everything is ready except for whatever we are taking with us on the airplane. I call this the ‘airplane bag’. The airplane bag has always been as important as the ones that get checked because it determines the success of your long flight. Now the kids pack their own and make sure they have the right books and music to keep them occupied.

I always pack a deck of cards and a new travel game for them as well. Novelty is a mom’s best friend when it comes to toys—especially while travelling.

How do you prepare for your March Break travels?

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