Part of me really likes having a schedule and planning things out a long time in advance, but there’s also a part of me that loves being spontaneous. When it comes to traveling, we typically plan far in advance, but every once in a while we like to choose a place at the last minute and just hit the road. 

Memorial Day is next weekend, and summer vacation is only a few weeks away, so those last minute vacations might come up sooner than you think. And as long as you have the right tools, taking those spur-of-the-moment trips is a total breeze! 
Today I’ve teamed up with Beachmate to share three ways to take all the stress and long-term planning out of those quick vacations, and show you how easy it is to pack up at a moments notice and head out of town for the weekend. I dare you to try it this weekend for Memorial Day!

1. Have a standard packing list with all the essentials. A few years ago I created a generic packing list that has the essentials for the entire family (broken down by person), and then the only thing I have to change is how many of each item I have to bring, depending on the length of our trip. It needs to be slightly updated every six months or so to adjust for the needs of the kids, but most it’s just a super helpful document to have on hand so you’ll never forget toothbrushes or pajamas again! Oh, and make sure your kids lovies are on the list!

2. Have grab and go bags. One of my biggest pieces of advice for getting out town quickly is having as many bags ready to just “grab and go” as you can. And this works for everyday outings, not just trips. Just like I always have my purse packed with my wallet, diapers, lipgloss, and sunglasses so it’s easy to grab as I’m walking out the door, having your beach bag packed and ready for summer weekend trips is a great way to get out the door quickly without having to worry if you grabbed all your beach toys and towels. Beachmate is the perfect tool for this because they designed it to include everything you need for the beach in one sized bag. The bag has exterior pockets that easily hold our sunscreen, diapers, extra clothes, baby powder, and more so they can permanently stay packed inside. Then the interior has built-in, stackable buckets (with the most ingenious handles that won’t break!) that can double as a place to hold your towels. The Beachmate also has clips for shovels (which are included and are also super sturdy!), a cooler for our food, and plenty of pockets. If you have it packed always, it’s easy to just grab it and run out the door — no packing required. Plus, use code MEMORIALDAY for 10% off from now til Monday at midnight! You can see it completely in action right here, and hop over to my Instagram (@merricksart) because I’m giving a Beachmate away later today! 

3. Find local recommendations. Even with the vastness of internet recommendations, finding great restaurants, hotels, or traveling activities can be tough because you just don’t know where to start or who to trust. I see some people leave comments on social media platforms and pray that they’ll get a response, but it can often take a few days for someone to return your comment or message (if it at all), before it’s time to leave for your trip.  So instead of relying on other people and social media, our trick is to find local news articles listing local recommendations! Usually they’re in a “Top 5” or “Top 10” format, along with explanations on what the critic loved about the location, which item of food to order, or what to do in the surrounding area. Since they are experts writing this, I often trust their opinion more than just a random person I follow on social media. We’ve found articles for the Top 10 restaurants, hotels, beaches, etc (respective to our destination), and they never let us down! 
Now be spontaneous! Get out of town for Memorial Day, or for a quick weekend in the summer. With these three tips, you’ll be executing operation last-minute vacation in no time. 

And don’t forget to enter my giveaway on my blog today so you can win your own Beachmate bag. Or use code MEMORIALDAY for 10% off!
thank you to beachmate for partnering on this post  |  photos by radandhappy