We recently returned from a trip to discover two postcards had come in the mail from my brother. He travels a good bit for business and pleasure and frequently sends postcards to the family. It is a nice gesture and lets us know he is thinking about us on his travels. It made me think how I should do a better job of doing the same on our travels! After further thought, I had a simple solution to one of our frequent dilemmas. We often go to book stays at our favorite campgrounds only to discover that we have forgotten the best sites where we like to set up. A simple solution is to send a postcard to OURSELVES on our travels with the best campsites written on the back. These postcards can then be easily organized by location (the picture is on the front!) and kept in a small photo album. I would recommend the kind that hold a single photo in a clear sleeve, so you can flip through and see both front and back. Purchase a roll of postcard stamps so you don’t need to find a post office to purchase them. Simply mail the cards in any postal dropbox. Sure, if you want to spare the expense, you could simply collect the cards as you go – but I like the idea that the postmark also keeps track of the date you visited.
One thing that has helped Amy and me prepare our camping trip is a checklist. Nothing is more frustrating than arriving at your campsite only to realize that you left your pillow or flashlight or worse yet; your beer (just kidding). Type out a checklist and save the document on your computer. As your camping needs change, you can always go back and revise the checklist. We often have different things to pack depending on the season/weather. A day before the trip, we print out the checklist and begin packing the camper. Having a pop-up, as opposed to a travel trailer, requires more thought on how we pack it. Our checklist is broken down into categories. Each category has a specific list of supplies.
2. Food and Cooking Supplies
3. Dog Stuff (we have two dogs that require all their toys and of course treats LOL)
The night before the trip, we begin packing the camper and SUV. As we put items in we check them off the list. Some items stay in the camper year round (i.e. campfire chairs, Dutch Oven, etc). However, we still double-check those items are actually in the camper and then we check them off. Over the course of the last two years, we have updated the checklist several times, the benefit of having it on the computer. If you really want to get tech-savvy, create the checklist on Excel and save the document on an Internet-based storage system, like Dropbox. Use your Smart Phone to access the document thereby never printing the document but always having the checklist in your pocket.
Not only do we use a checklist, we also have specific places where things go in the camper and the SUV. For example, our chairs, dutch oven, pie iron, and hot dog sticks go underneath the left-hand side storage compartment in the dining area of our pop-up. Our cooler is last to be packed in the back of our SUV.
Packing for a camping trip can be stressful, especially when you pack for 10+ day trips. Camping is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Once you use the checklist and get into the routine of packing, this process will become less and less overwhelming.