When it is all said and done, clothes are laid out in piles before making it into the suitcase, and then checked off the list. If I'm lucky enough to get the suitcase zipped shut and to the top of the car before someone thinks they need something from it, I'm virtually done. This is rare! There is also the task of packing the necessary "in-car" items. Portable DVD players and the cords and movies, books, pencils, crayons, snacks, drinks, kleenex, blankets, sunglasses, etc...I know it sounds a bit overboard, but it isn't. The challenge here is where to position them so they are accessible, but so they don't just get dumped. Actually, it doesn't really matter where they're positioned, they are likely going to get dumped.
There is also ALWAYS a point in this process that I stand up and announce, "We are not going. We're staying home!!!!!" At this point I know this is a phase that must be passed, so I'm not alarmed and just keep perservering.
By the end of the eve of our trip, suitcases are lined up at the door if they're not already strapped to the top of the suburban. Ninety percent of the time, I have more than we need and probably 8 percent of the time I'm close, but something is still sitting at home. The other 2 % are those times when eveything fits and all is good. Once everything is put on and in the car and we're out the door (after I've taken the final minutes to quickly tidy up the house so I won't have to come home to a pig sty), all is good. Once we've arrived at our destination, all is even better. Until the return trip! :)