With one week to go the packing begins. It is fairly easy to pack for oneself when traveling, but packing for a family with children takes some organization. Where to start?
I start by laying out the children's clothing and shoes. I gather everything they are taking and pull out the suitcases (in our case, the carry-ons). At this point I grab a piece of paper and a pen. Each child has a sheet with their name on the top. As I pack something in their carry-on I immediately write it down. This may seem cumbersome, but in the end I don't have to unpack everything if I can't remember who was missing socks or a rain coat. I pack it all, write it down and zip it away. If I remember something that needs to be added to the carry-on I jot it on my list and pick it up when I am out. On our last trip I couldn't remember who forgot to pack their sunglasses. Luckily it was written down and I could simply look at my notes.
When packing to travel, I have learned that less is more. The only exceptions for us are socks and underwear. Then I take double. Being stuck with nowhere to wash clothes is the pits. Having clean underwear and socks somehow makes it doable.
The other thing I do before we leave is put some of our lights on timers and hand out a couple house keys for friends, family and neighbors...for those just in case moments.