Travelling with kids: Packing for The Little Traveller
It used to be a bikini, a little black dress (naturally) and a passport were all this girl needed to see in the kit bag before that last minute dash to Kingsford Smith Airport. A child changes that.
Long gone are the days of throwing essentials into a bag the day of a flight.
As a young mum it now seems that the everyday needs of a child find me packing a case suitable for a cross-continent adventure every time we go to the local store or meet other similarly weighted-down parents.
My ‘shoulder’ bag (now more resembling a backpacker’s rucksack) bulges with hand wipes, chewed toys, a box of sultanas, blocks, socks (usually one sock actually)…
Children's needs and demands vary from minute to minute and after many a red faced disaster I have learnt that Preparation (capital P noted) is the key. But what to prepare for? Answer: the unexpected.
Now faced with the task of readying for a long haul flight and a family holiday in sunny Los Angeles, I have divided the packing into two categories for convenience: The Journey and The Destination.
The old adage runs that it is not the destination that matters, but it’s the how you get there that counts. Whoever came up with that old gem did NOT have a three year old daughter.
Packing for the Journey
This is what I have I learned as a Mum: children get fevers when the chemist is shut; they get hungry when the kitchen has closed; they refuse to settle when everyone wants to rest; and it is almost guaranteed that they will spill a drink over themselves on the day you have forgotten to pack a change of little garments.
So, shackled to my seat at 35,000 feet I’m going to need to meet any of these random requirements that The Little Traveller can challenge me with. This is crucial for her comfort as well as ours and anyone else in a three row radius.
A sensible-sized carry-on bag is essential. Large enough to accommodate the items you will need, whilst at the same time being small enough that you can keep it by your feet instead of the overhead compartment – you really don’t want to be hefting a bag AND A CHILD through those tiny plane aisles and you don’t want to be reaching into the overhear compartment every ten minutes.
Substance doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style, either. If Louis Vuitton can make a baby bag, then you can travel with a kid and not look like you don’t own a mirror. One of those retro jet setter flight bags would be ideal.
Beyond my essentials, the passports and boarding passes, I have an inventory check list of puzzles, crayons, sticker books and activities, children's Paracetamol, some snacks and treats, a change of inner and outerwear and slippers to keep the The Little Traveller’s little feet warm.
I am also planning to pack Piggy. Although not a relation by blood or law, this little pink chap is a very important friend of the family who will provide comfort and familiarity to the little traveller. He is also looking forward to trying one of Pinks hot dogs in Los Angeles.
To combat the changes in cabin pressure during take off and descent (which can be troublesome to little ears) I will be taking snakes or lollipops to chew on. My husband is looking forward to these also. Room permitting, I will have one new toy, box fresh, hidden for that point in the journey when it all becomes too much or The Little Traveller deserves a treat for good behaviour.
Packing for The Destination
Books are great for bedtime and to keep The Little Traveller entertained at different points in the trip. Plus, her most cherished reads will make any hotel room seem like home.
Clothing wise, I’ll be bringing several changes for different moods (yes, even Little Travellers dress according to emotion) and modes. Not forgetting the miniature bathing suit for beach side bathing and sandcastles yet to be built in Santa Monica.
Obviously there will be a wet pack of petit toiletries, a slightly more elaborate medicine selection in case of incident or injury.
Beyond that I am also leaving plenty of space in the case for the fabulous shopping to be had in California for the little kids and the big kids back home.If you pack right you can pack light, leaving at least one hand free to hold a slightly smaller, maybe stickier hand. And isn’t that the whole point?
Monday, 19 September 2011
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P