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South Island Road Trip * packing logistics

Sunday, May 11, 2014

In terms of logistics, there were a few little things that made a big difference for us on this trip.

1. We rented a big junkie vehicle... from rent-a-dent. I am not sure who chose the name for this company (it was probably their teddy bear mascot named "Brad"???). Renting "dents" is a concept that wouldn't fly in most countries - but here in New Zealand it works. We were specifically looking to rent a dent. Something that we could literally hose out at the end of the day. It was perfect. We opted for a 12 seater and had the back row removed.

2. We brought all of our food...
well, actually we stopped at the grocery store for milk and bread and had two special meals "out". But for the most part we ate what we brought. Snacks for the road - fruit, veggies, crackers, peanut butter, cookies, chocolate, rice crackers, pretzels... etc. Non perishable food for making meals and a cooler full of meat, veggies, cheese, milk, lunch meat, pepperoni, hummus, yogurt, etc. Snacks and cooler food was always at the very back of the van - easy to access. I kept a small emergency food stash in the glove box. We had six water bottles in the back seat - Max and Maggie were in charge of distribution.

3. We brought a few key items... books, bike, scooters, skateboard, crafts, personal pillows and blankets and the kindle fire. 
* I spent a lot of time at the library gathering books. The big kids got to choose what they wanted to learn about. Maggie chose "big cats" and Max chose "interesting facts about animals" - I cleared out the animal section, got a bunch of books on geography/travel and a few chapter/comic books that I thought they would like. I also got about 12 board books for the little boys. No one was allowed to see what I got until we were in the car.
* Jude's balance bike, the big kid scooters and Ben's long board were a last minute addition that made the trip really fun. We got them out anytime the "conditions were right" - skate park, empty sidewalks, and the Waitohi Wharf in Picton.
* We had a blue cube full of coloring books, crayons, markers, journals, stickers.
* Pillow pets and blankets for everyone.
* The kindle fire - loaded up with a few unseen movies and new games.

 4. We packed with stack-able objects... which made for quick and easy transfers to and from the car.
* Six foot lockers (we brought them when we moved over from the states... and use them all the time for travel) 1. kid clothes 2. adult clothes 3. fishing stuff 4. non perishable food for meal making 5. snack food for on the road.
* Three cubes that stat under the big kids feet. 1. Library books 2. craft supplies 3. water bottles and a dust pan/brush. 
* Two easy clip containers - 1. travel books for the front seat 2. board books for the babies
* Two tubs  - 1. Shoes (dirty shoes and extra shoes lived in this box) 2. Diapers and wipes.
* An average size cooler 
* And two of these somewhat stackable bags (because I love them) - one for towels (cleaning up messes, wiping feet, wiping noses, wiping bottoms, drying kids when they fall in with the seals... whatever) and one bag for jackets/ gloves/ hats.

Notes to self...
1. Why do you always over-pack for yourself? You know that you wear the same thing every day! Jeans, grey t-shirt and your grey fleece. Do you think you will suddenly get creative with your wardrobe while on vacation? Or fall into a mud pit and get filthy... every single day? Really Liz... pack less for your self.
2. MORE kid socks... always bring more kid socks... maybe a whole bag of kids socks... there will never ever be enough.
3. Get a speaker that is compatible with your kindle so that everyone can hear the movie over the (incredibly loud) engine in your rent-a-dent van.
4. Be sure to hire the same van for your next road trip... the loud engine actually did a pretty good job of drowning out the whining in the back of the van.

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