We are a family that does a fair bit of tripping around. Our flying and vacation experience with kids is very minimal – we took one trip to Mexico. Hallie was not even two and Jackson was two months old. To say it was a disaster would be an understatement. We have however done A LOT of camping with them and many driving road trips. With every trip, you learn how to make things a little easier or smoother. This Friday I am taking a solo road trip with the kids as Henry needs to stay home and work. As I started packing the kid’s clothes this morning, I thought it may be a pretty handy post for others moms out there. These tips work well for me and my kids. They may not be the best solution for you, but if they can add to your idea list then my goal is achieved! If you have any tips you would like to share as well, please feel free to comment or message and we can build the list.
Packing. I used to feel quite guilt about being an over-packer. Especially when Henry and I were dating and I couldn’t go to Las Vegas without packing about 27 bathing suits. Now with two small tots, I like being prepared for MOST situations so unfortunately that can go hand in hand with overpacking. ‘Everything but the kitchen sink’ is a saying that often comes to mind when packing to go away. I usually start packing a few days before we are leaving. It may be a tad too early but really, these kids have enough clothes that I can actually get away with that. It also keeps me organized and my stress levels slightly lower in the days leading up to going away. I have a mild case of OCD (probably quite severe) and need things to go in a certain way. I also need to have time to clean my house top to bottom before going away which also adds to stress. I don’t know why I need to have it clean. I think I just LOVE coming home to a clean house. So this morning I decided to organize which clothes the kids would be taking. They share a small black suitcase and I get the large one. If Henry were joining us I would share with him but I don’t need to in this case and can pack as many pairs of shoes and shorts as I like.
Kids Clothing. Miss Hallie is potty trained for the most part. She is really great at using her potty and gets better every day at using the ‘big potty’. That being said she still tends to forget if she is having too much fun and might have the odd pee accident. For this reason, I will double the amount of bottoms needed for her. On this particular trip I can do laundry if I feel the need to, but sometimes that isn’t the case. Better to have too many pairs of pants and panties than not a single pair. Pour last camping trip I made that error and panties just weren’t an option on the last day. #momfail . I also like to stick to dresses with her. Easy knit sundresses that she can pull up easily when she needs to go in a hurry and ones that won’t get wet if she has a tiny accident. It still blows my mind though how many times a day I end up asking girlfriend ‘where are your panties?!’. Jackson is much easier to pack for now. As a baby you had to worry about blowouts and basically bring ALL the onesies. Jackson is quite ‘tidy’ in this area so enough shorts and shirts for the days we are there, plus a couple of emergency outfits, and we are good to go. I say he is easy but it has to be said – that kid has style. He will not leave the house without his fedora and sunglasses so one needs to make sure all accessories are in order. Dapper is his middle name. I used to go overboard on footwear but since it is summer we stick to 2 or 3 pairs: Flip flops, rainboots for each of them as they are obsessed with wearing them, even indoors and naked, and if we have a fancy occasion then I will throw in a nice pair.
Summer essentials. Right now that means sunscreen and bug spray. Oh and if you get eaten alive by the mosquitos like my kids, some form of anti-itch cream. We are now trying out the Bee Sting Relief Cream by The Humble Bee (Canadian brand made in Chilliwack, B.C.). It serves the same purpose for mosquito bites as it does for bees and is really effective. Plus it’s natural for the kid’s sensitive skin which I love. I don’t always get suckered into all natural with them. Obviously I try to keep the ingredients list as simple as possible but bottom line, I want results, and natural doesn’t ALWAYS do that. In this case though, it’s working. My favourite sunscreen for the kids is Baby Aveeno, plus the face stick in it for easy application. If I have to chase them down then a spray can of Coppertone will get the job done. Right up there with those serious items are the other essentials: bubbles, sidewalk chalk, balls and sand toys. Again, I try to keep it as minimal as possible and easy to pack. But it just makes travelling with kids a little more fun for them when these items are included on the packing list.
I am not even going to touch on food and road trip snacks as I still need to learn more here. Between keeping it healthy and finding snacks that do not explode all over the inside of my car, I am still at a loss. Apple sauce pouches for the win right now!
As babies my kids were never great sleepers but as toddlers they certainly LOVE being in a bed. That still doesn’t mean sleeping but they take after their mama when they like to snuggle and get comfy. I like to make sure we include some comforts from home. This means a couple of their blankets each – I sew and they each have a nice little collection of cozy printed flannel blankets. I also bring the pillow that each of them sleep on. Same for Henry and I. What can I say, we love our own pillows. Unless we are staying in a swanky hotel. Then it’s hotel bedding all the way! They also get a couple stuffies each, the one’s they can’t go anywhere without, and their glowworms which double as reading flashlights once they ‘go to bed’. Throw in a few good books and we are set for sleeping tight.
Some mom extras…. Recently on trips I have been taking a diffuser and a few select essential oils. For general joy and calmness throughout the day, I like to have a mix of Orange, Grapefruit, Bergamot and Geranium. Anyone who shops at Anthropologie, this is the same smell as the Capri Candle! For nighttime sleepiness where the kids will be sleeping I combine Thieves and Lavender. Normally some Northern Lights as well but I don’t have any of that at the moment. Thieves is great to bring along in any case as it’s great for immune system and keeping pesky bugs away that we ALWAYS pick up on the road. Damn you McDonalds Play Centre….. Wine. Bring it along or buy it when you get there. It’s gonna come in handy. Good toiletry bags. I recently bought some of these off of Ebay. I love that your toiletries actually stand up in them and have elastic to secure each one. Plus I love the colors. It’s all about the little things in life that bring you joy. Tupperware. I used to be a consultant for it so I happen to have a fairly decent amount of it. It comes in handy for EVERYTHING. I use sandwich keepers to hang on to crayons, face paints, even for empty juice boxes so that you don’t have them littered all over your car or floating about in your purse. I use the smidgets for taking medication along, carrying chewing cum, even concocting essential oil blends with coconut oil in them for the road. I made a pain killer one for my neck when it gets sore from driving and a peppermint one for the kids in case anyone gets car sick. Wipes. Wipes, wipes, wipes! I use them for almost everything and keep multiple packets on hand, stored in secret compartments in every nook and cranny of the car and suitcase. Might just be my kids but we can never have too many baby wipes. These also work great when your feet are ALWAYS dirty camping (mine are and I can’t stand it). Lastly, DVD players in front of each child. I did many road trips without and many with. With is better. Even if that means four hours of Peppa Pig and two kids who now have slight english accents. I will take it!
Now I must get back to filling these suitcases as the day is quickly leaving me. It’s a ton of work getting ready to go on any trip with kids but in most cases, it’s worth it.