Gone are the days when you leave the house, grab your purse, sunglasses and keys by the door and head off to run some errands. Stop for coffee along the way? Sure. Meet a friend spur-of-the-moment for lunch? Why not.
These days a mother must prepare for all eventualities before leaving the house. Diapers, wipes, snacks, a hat in case it’s sunny and perhaps a toy and some books. And this just to go run a few morning errands. How much more so should we be organized when travelling so as to avoid catastrophes such as 6 hours left of airplane travel and no diapers? It can happen to the best of us, my friends.
I recently went on a 24-hour, 3 flight journey with my two little ones and knew from the get go if I wasn’t organized then all hell would break loose 30,000 feet in the air with no option for escape or in the airport security line where my nervous and angry reaction would have me pegged for a terrorist. That would have been inconvenient. My children don’t handle interrogation well.
Here’s how I organized the travel for myself and my two little ones for ease of access, convenience and as smooth a journey as possible.
(1) The grown-up essentials bag.
Fairly self-explanatory, this is the bag where you keep everything the grown-ups need. This way if you, your husband or your sister Sasparilla need to go take care of some basic business then you know exactly where all the important travel related items are located. This includes:
- travel itineraries
- hotel confirmations
- phone / tablet / iPod / Kindle + chargers
- change of clothes per family member
I knew I’d need this bag at check-in counters, security lines and when buying food or random things. I did look down at our clothes at about hour 18 and noticed we were all loose, stained and unkempt. Those clothes would have really come in handy if I could have been bothered to change us.
(2) The child essentials bag.
This bag will be different depending on the ages of your children, but this is for what are deemed necessities. What are you are trying to avoid is dragging your children off to the bathroom with a few separate bags. You want to be able to take one bag for one purpose and it take care of as many people as possible. This may include:
- Diaper bags
- Diaper cream
- Baby Tylenol (Advil, etc.)
- Extra underwear
Here you are able to drag all kids to the bathroom with only one bag. Unless you have children big enough to be responsible for their own bags in which case, lucky you.
(3) The important extras bag.
Here is where you shove in things that’ll come in handy and are truly needed, but that don’t mix well with butt wipes and diaper rash cream. This bag may be larger than the others, and contain things that will come in handy at various points of the trip. This may include:
- Snacks (dried fruit, breakfast bars, crackers, etc.)
- Spoons (you may find food randomly but nowhere ever seems to have small spoons)
This is the bag you pull out when a child is on near meltdown. I never encourage snacking to pacify but even I love breaking my own rules when travelling is taking place. If my daughter is about to disturb 85 people who are trying to sleep, she can eat as many fruit roll-ups as she wants.
There are many ways to skin a cat, but the idea is to think ahead for what you’ll need. Time and mode of journey as well as ease of availability in purchasing needed supplies will need to be considered so you will know how much to plan. With air travel you can’t count on being able to purchase something you need as you can on a road trip. But even on a road trip, stores will close in the middle of the night so my motto is: prepare it all early ‘n stop things goin’ squirrely.
Yes, I made that up.
All in all, I only lost 3 pacifiers and one neck pillow. Now, I’d say that for woman 6 months pregnant, a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old, that is pretty darn good!
If you need more information on traveling with kids check out my ebook. It covers flying, driving, how to pick accommodation, where to eat for free, great apps for travel, renting baby gear and so much more!