Labor Day Weekend: packing the essentials

Planning your Labor Day Weekend vacation should begin before Friday, unless of course, you want to do a sequel for a National Lampoon movie. For most Americans, this travel usually involves trying to pack half of all the family belongings into a car or SUV and hope nothing important is left behind.

One way to differentiate those things to bring or leave behind can be done by separating the “wants” from the “needs.”

Examples are:

  • You want the 15 inch laptop, but you really do need a GPS or app on your smart phone. (A paper map is indispensible when your cell service is lost and you are 500 miles from wifi.)
  • You want that case of beer, but you really need snacks and drinks to have for the entire family. (By the way, try to put the small cooler in the back seat. It will save you a lot of stops.)
  • You want to take the extra sun chair, but all you need is an extra blanket or towel. (It will free up space for a backpack of entertainment for everyone…like cards, puzzles and games. (Rainouts seem to happen on the most anticipated vacations.)
  • You want to take an extra bag of M&Ms, but you really need to remember the family daily meds. (This is also a good time to make sure your car has a First Aid Kit and ….and oh yes toilet paper.)
  • You want to take your entire CD collection, but a radio and mp3 player or phone is enough music. (Make sure you have emergency contact numbers on multiple devices and written down somewhere they can be easily reached.)
  • You want to take fireworks to set off at your brother’s beach camp, but you are much better prepared with an extra flashlight and batteries. (Emergency markers or flares are legal and can help protect rather than harm someone.)

Whatever you decide as to what comes or stays, make sure that your license, insurance, registration and inspections are all up to date, and everyone in the vehicle is buckled up. These things alone will help prevent unwanted stops by police and possible fines. Protecting your family is always job 1, even when going on vacation.

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