04/30/2019 17:15 EDT

Here’s The One Thing You Should Never Forget When Packing For Your Family Trip

Karen Alpert, a.k.a. @BabySideburns

Let me set the scene: It’s spring, 2018, and I’m desperately trying to convince my husband that we should take our first big family vacation to Orlando:

ME: You know what would be fun, honey?

HUBBY: What?

ME: If we took a vacation to Orlan—


ME: I mean the kids are only little for a few more years and—


ME: I think they’d love the amusem—

HUBBY: Noooooo.

ME: But why not?

HUBBY: Ummm, because it’s expensive and not relaxing at all.


(After six weeks of asking him over and over again...) 


ME: So whatta you think, sweetie: Orlando?

HUBBY: Will you stop bothering me if I just say yes?

ME: Yes.

HUBBY: Fine, yes.

Yipppppeeeeeee, it worked! We’re going to Orlando! And about three minutes later, something occurred to me: Oh crap, now I have to plan a family vacation to Orlando.

That’s okay, I told myself. Don’t freak out. It’s going to be an awesome vacation. That is, as soon as I book the flights, pick the hotel, map out the itineraries, buy amusement park tickets and figure out a million other details to make this such an awesome family vacation that my hubby can’t come back and say, “I told you so.”

I was determined to make this the best vacation ever.

Months before we left, I started writing down lists of anything and everything we might need for our trip. This was not a job for sticky notes. This called for (insert booming, god-like voice here) lined notebook paper! I thought of EVERYTHING.

Bathing suits, goggles, sunscreen, fans, glow sticks, snacks, tear-free shampoo and, like, a thousand other things. The longer my list grew, the more I realized this stuff was going to cost more than the vacation itself and it would be a helluva lot easier and less expensive if I just jumped on Amazon and ordered it all ahead of time.

So every time I thought of another item we’d need, I’d just plop it into my Amazon cart - and as soon as my total reached $25, I got free shipping! What if it rains while we’re there? Ponchos, plop into my cart!

Karen Alpert, a.k.a. @BabySideburns
Karen Alpert and family are prepared in their ponchos!

I don’t want to carry a purse in the amusement parks. Fanny pack, plop into my cart!

We’re going to Orlando in June. Portable fans, plop into my cart!

Karen Alpert, a.k.a. @BabySideburns
A vacation in Orlando without portable fans? Perish the thought!

Food costs, like, $9 million at the parks. Breakfasts, snacks, water: Plop into my cart!

Can I just say that, of all of the things I ordered, these were the most brilliant items of all? I had the food shipped to our hotel so I didn’t have to schlep it with us.

Of all of the things I ordered, my real stroke of genius was the food that I had shipped to our hotel, so that I didn’t have to schlep it with us. And — even better — we actually ate real food on vacation and I didn’t have to pretend that french fries are a vegetable for seven days straight.

And then our vacation finally arrived. We landed in Orlando, checked into our hotel, and woke up early the next morning to get to the parks before anyone else. I gave the kids granola bars for breakfast, packed my husband’s backpack with sunscreen and ponchos, strapped on my brand new fanny pack, and then I pulled out all the kids’ clothing so they could get dressed. Well, almost all of their clothing.

ME: Hmmm, that’s weird.

HUBBY: Missing something?

ME: No...

But I was. Where could they be? I dug through the luggage again. How is this possible? I mean I remembered everything. EVERYTHING.

ME: Hey guys?

KIDS: What?

ME: Ummmm, can you just turn the underwear you wore yesterday inside-out until we can buy some more later today?

KIDS: Ewwwwww.

HUBBY: Lemme get this straight: You remembered to bring portable fans but you forgot underwear?!

ME: (sheepishly) Yes.

And although I was annoyed with myself, we all laughed about it (and by the time we reached the park, no one even remembered they were wearing inside-out underwear). And whether I proved to be the best vacation-planner in front of my (doubting) husband, I ultimately realized that it didn’t matter. What was truly important was that our family had the most amazing vacation in Orlando — our first of many. (Right, hubby?)

Karen Alpert, a.k.a. @BabySideburns

This article was paid for by Amazon and co-created by RYOT Studio. HuffPost editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.