It’s the middle of spring break in Texas, what are your plans? Are you on a beach trip, skiing with your favorites, or enjoying your break simply by staycation at a local hotel or resort?
Our little fam is taking a trip to DFW for a little getaway in the next couple of weeks, so we’re keeping it low key this spring break. We actually just got back from a ski trip and tend to travel relatively often so it feels pretty nice just to have a week home, playing at the park and over indulging on ice cream with our little man. Speaking of indulging, some authentic Mexican food is in my near future, as New Mexico is also part of this spring break week for me. Board meetings do have an upside! Therefore, looks like I’ll be packing an overnight bag after all! 🙂
Today, I wanted to share some tips on how we pack when we travel to make it easier for everyone. Including littles. I’ve been asked about what I take when we travel pretty often, even before blogging so what a better time to share than now, Amiright?
First, let me start by saying, I am NOT a light packer. I like to think I’ve gotten better over the years, but just when I thought I had it down, along came Mr. Corbin! One thing I do is, I always start by making a list. The number of days/nights we’ll be away. What toiletries we’ll need (baby shampoo, razors, toothbrush ect.), how many dressy nights vs. casual, and basically just organizing each day of our trip to ensure we have enough of what we’ll need while away. I usually try to put all of mine and Corbin’s clothes, and accessories in one large bag, and usually roll most of Corbin’s clothes and my t-shirts/pajamas to save room. I also try to pack the lighter items on the bottom and the heavier on top. This is also a good trick for back packs as this tends to carry the illusion that the bag is lighter and less weight is carried on your back. Conrad generally has a carry-on or much smaller suitcase. He’s the smart packer in the family, if you will, or maybe it’s because he knows he’ll be dragging ALL the things down the terminal, as this comes as no surprise to him. 😉 Bless those muscles!
When packing us, especially when Corbin was younger and even now, a total LIFESAVER was mail. People, utilize the mail service if you have a long trip planned and have the ability to get your luggage to your destination before you get there. It saves the headache and is probably much less expensive than the second baggage charge on American (insert eye roll here). We have done this for cruises and it is a game changer and are planning on doing this again for a 10 day cruise this summer. Secondly, if you have little ones still in diapers or think you may forget something in the chaos of traveling, Amazon is amazing at delivering those items to your hotel or resort in a timely manner. Generally, the front desk can have your items delivered to your room upon arrival so you won’t be scouring the area looking for a Walgreens or CVS when you run out of diapers, wipes, ect. in a place you’re not familiar with in the middle of the night. Been there, done that! This also makes for more room in your suitcase and ensures for a restful, worry free and “dry” night!
Next, another big uh-oh we learned the hard way, is just take your “good” stroller. Even if it’s an umbrella stroller. We love this one! The first time we took a big trip, we bought a cheap umbrella stroller that didn’t recline at all, thinking it would save space and time. And it was miserable. Not only for Corbin, but for anyone pushing him around, as it was so incredibly short and impossible to collapse. Stroller nightmare! So long story short, consider taking a stroller that is easily collapsable but one that both you and you little one are most comfortable with, especially for nap times if you aren’t immediately able to return to your hotel. A couple of options for umbrella strollers are here, here, and here. When flying, you can literally roll your stroller to the bottom of the jet bridge and the valet will put it on the plane for take off and when you arrive, it is more easily accessible vs. checking the stroller and having to cart around the baby, plus baggage. Hint: your stroller also makes for a great luggage rack when strolling through the airport terminal between security and your gate.
When I am traveling short term, or even long term, another bag I love to carry is my American Warrior Ultimate Toiletry Bag. I’ve shared this bag before, but y’all, it’s literally the best! I can’t emphasize this enough! It’s perfect as a carry on or can be checked easily, as it’s durable and won’t smash down. There is a compartment for everything you may need while away. From cosmetics, to hair products, and everything in between, it’s sure to make traveling easier for you and in reaching your destination, not only will you have all of your favorites, but they will be safe from spilling and leaking onto your valuables since the compartments seal tightly and the smaller bags keep liquids separate.
One thing I tell my friends, and something that may be common sense to most, is if you take any jewelry of value, DO NOT pack it in your checked luggage. I have heard SO many horror stories of how jewelry and personal/sentimental pieces have vanished because of mistakingly placing these items in checked luggage. I love people and always try to see the best and believe most people are good and honest, but just for peace of mind, keep that in your carry-on or handbag, so you know it’s never out of your reach. This goes for more than jewelry. Passports, I.D.’s and anything else to identify you, should remain as close to you as possible.
Snacks. So important! Whether its crackers, peanuts, or apple sauce pouches, make sure you have these readily available for you and your kiddos. You never know if you’ll have a lay-over or how long you could be waiting to depart, so it’s always good to pack these in your carry-on, or in our case, back packs, Corbin’s rolling bag. They go through security and no questions are asked, in most cases. Put any liquids you may have in small plastic bags when going through security and ensure your liquid amount is that of or less than the regulated amount given on the TSA indicators located in security. I’ve done this every time and I’ve never had to throw away our snacks. Just don’t take a thermos of sweet tea or coffee, although in some cases, a gallon of caffeine could be vital in maintaining your sanity in an airport. And the iPad. It drives me crazy most days, but when it comes to car rides, airplane terminals and dinner, it’s acceptable in my book. I’ll take Daniel Tiger ALL DAY on these occasions.
If Corbin isn’t riding on my bag through the terminal, he has his own bag on wheels or back pack. We started this little tradition when he was a wee one and it makes him feel part of the process in getting to where we’re going. He loves having his bag with his stuff, and so we try to stock it with his own snacks, crayons and a couple of his favorite tractors to keep him occupied during the duration of our flight. Make it fun for them! TSA gives away badges at our airport for kids, so if you don’t see them, maybe ask one of the officers and I know if will make you child’s day! Corbin loves those little badges!
Lastly, don’t stress. Half the fun is getting there, so enjoy the process! These are just a few useful tips I’ve learned over the course of travel, especially now as a mama. It’s better to be comfortable and ensure your loved ones are too so you can soak up every minute of your trip together! Send me any questions you may have in the comments or on my last Instagram post and have a great rest of your spring break, wherever you are!
Happy traveling, friends!
J. Roberts Clothing