This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #Tips4Trips #CollectiveBias

Dear Diary,

Hi, my name is Heather, and I am an overpacker. I don’t think that’s even a word, but if it is, it fits me perfectly, unlike the dress I wore to work today–thanks to baby…uh, em…toddler weight. I guess I like to have choices when I take a road trip or jet set. In the past, sitting on suitcases to zip my belongings inside or rearranging items to meet an airline’s weight requirement were a part of the vacation itinerary. But as a mom, I must streamline my packing process. Although my little girl is just that—little, she needs a lot of stuff. That means, I need to figure out how to share a suitcase with her. And by share, I mean a 70/30 split in most cases. (We’re working on what sharing means. Today, I asked her for a piece of her cookie, and she said that I knew what it tasted like!) So earlier this week, when I headed to the Philadelphia area for my monthly co-parenting pick up, I used my new cell phone, a LG Leon, to help me make the quick trip.

#Tips4Trips Interior

#Tips4Trips LG Leon

I recently got the phone, which has Walmart Family Mobile’s 4G LTE service, and instantly started to use the super functional features to help me pack one bag. I know, that’s a heavy lift! Here’s how I lightened the load.

Write a List

What outfits do you plan to pack? Do you need to pick up flip flops, sunscreen or beach towels? I needed to remember to buy a box of allergy pills. My allergies react differently depending on the city I’m in. So the phone’s memo feature reminded me to stop at the pharmacy. Also ask yourself, where you plan to go. I find that I am more likely to overpack if  I don’t have a set agenda. I planned our activities and easily reduced the amount of clothes and shoes I put in the bag.  And for once, everything fit into one bag! I even had empty hangers at the hotel.

#Tips4Trips Closet

Take Photos

Have you ever packed your bag for a trip and realized that you needed a necklace or a pair of sandals? Well, I used the phone to take pictures of my outfits. When out and about, I can pick up the items–items that actually match and not things that I just think are pretty cool. I normally wear heels with the dress I planned to pack, but since we planned to go to King of Prussia Mall, I getting a pair of comfy flats was a must.

Record a Message

If you would rather talk than write, you can record your messages on your phone. This is also a great feature for extended family members and friends. They can leave messages as well–My ex has a much better memory than me. He’s like an elephant! He asked me to send something back, so a recording would be effective.  OK, not the best person to use as an example–don’t want him running around my head, but it’s nice to hear a voice at times versus reading a message. And if you’re tired, it’s easy to lay in bed and record reminders.

#Tips4Trips Hotel

Search for Fun Family Attractions

I immediately connected the WiFi. Before heading to Philadelphia, I looked up the weather. The temperatures soared into the nineties! Therefore, I Googled information on indoor activities for toddlers. The mall housed a Build-a-Bear Workshop and an indoor playground.

Check out how I put these tips to the test!

Hey DFTM Fam–What are your #Tips4Trips? How do you use your phone to plan or go on vacation?

You can hooked up with the LG Leon for $29.88/month (for the first line). There’s Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service plan, which includes up to 1G of 4G LTE data. If you are not already using Walmart Family Mobile as your service provider, you will also need to purchase the $25.00 starter kit. When I added everything up, the offer was still much cheaper than one month of my cell phone bill with my previous provider!

Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to your local Walmart for current pricing.

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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