1. Packing begins two weeks before the trip. At least ten days. My condolences to those Moms who have to travel ‘tomorrow’.

2. Make a list. Lists are essential. Trust me, without a list you aren’t going to remember a thing. If you do, you do not deserve to be called “absent-minded”, nor do you belong in this elite club. Quit reading.

3. Start laundry and folding. Throw them into the travel bag, but don’t pack them properly in. Not yet. That comes in step #8.

4. The number of clothes to pack for the child is a complicated mathematical formula that each Mom has to arrive at. Here’s a hint: The equation takes into consideration the climate of the destination (the more humid the place, the more change of clothes per day), the weather conditions (in the rainy season, the child loves to get drenched twice a day, so at least two changes of clothes), multiply it by the number of days you’ll be away from home and the number of baths foreseen per day. Square the final answer for good measure, and you get the number of clothes you need to carry.

5. Don’t ever make the mistake of asking the child what toys to carry, unless you plan to hire an entire train for the trip, because every little toy, every little book, every CD, bicycle, even the dining table, is “absolutely essential” to them.

5. Remember to

6. By no means allow the child to see what you’ve thrown into the bag. Because once they start pulling their favourite outfits and toys out, there is no stopping them. If that happens, return to step #1 and start all over again. (You’re allowed to swear aloud at this stage.).

7. Locate the bag/suitcase you’re going to carry, from the depths of over-stacked cupboards. This should have been done before step #3, but I forgot to mention it. Dust and clean and air it and keep it where you can see. You don’t want to lose it again.

8. I am sure there is something to do here, but can’t remember what.

9. Before you leave, attend to the laundry pile – the ones you don’t intend to carry. There is nothing more annoying than an overflowing laundry basket when you return from the trip.

10. Keep the list safe. (What do you mean “which list”? The one you made earlier, that’s the one.) You’ll need it for the next trip. You know you’re never going to find it again. But keep it safe and secure nonetheless. You can create a new list the next time.

There will always be something you forgot but you can always blame it on the list.
Have a safe and happy trip.