When it comes to travel, I like going with the flow with the journey, but don’t prefer the mad rush of buying too much on the go. I like to leave the house fully prepared and yes at times fully packed too. What used to be a single bag for me before baby girl has tripled now. Traveling has become fun only because I pack what my little one needs.
This reminds me of my first weekend road trip with baby girl when she was around 9 months. I had the car fully loaded and the husband had a doubt if we had planned a week’s travel or was it just the weekend. I had to convince him of the various scenarios(#LifeofaTester) that could arise and why I had carried so much, eventually he agreed(having not much to say there). I have to agree that I only used half of the things I had taken.
The 4 bags for the baby then became 3 and now at 2. So, it took me around 4 trips before the international trip to figure out how to pack just the essentials. Well, being a mother to a toddler almost everything looks like an essential during travel. That’s when I decided not to store anything in my bag and bought a bag for her separately. So anything that doesn’t fit in her bag must be left behind not added to mine! That was the deal. This was our first international flight and we didn’t want to be fully loaded.
Also, the family traveling with infants and toddlers are given preference to board after the elite passengers and I appreciate this. I can guarantee you that even the bravest pilot would abide to do an emergency landing for a child’s emergency. Come on, who likes to deal with a tantrum or watch a kid swallow a part of the plastic spoon and cry 20000-40000 feet up the sky. There are some stories I’ve heard from friends who shared what it is like to be in a toddler emergency situation. So, I try to be prepared.
Let’s see what I decided to take in her travel bag. What I considered as essentials and what I decided to leave behind. These are the 7 essentials I find necessary to carry during travel.
1. Water, The Elixir of Life:
Even in the high-security Dubai airport, we were allowed to take food and liquids including medicines with prescriptions for infants and kids. Since I prefer to give her warm water after food or after she wakes up, I carried a Milton flask. I usually use a 1-liter bottle for local travel, but I came to know that only up to 100 ml of liquid was allowed. So I bought a 300 ml flask which fits easily in her bag like any other water bottle. Since she was transitioning from bottle to cup that time, I had a couple of straws to encourage her to drink from the cup. I also carried a 360 degree cup filled for her regular drinking. By the time of the flight I guess I had around 150-200 ml which was manageable for the entire trip for her. The key is not to misuse the benefits given to travelers with infants and toddlers.
2. Dresses, Blankets and More
I carried 4 shirts (2 full sleeves and 2 short sleeves), 3 trousers and 2 frocks along with food towels and two pairs of socks. Both her full sleeves were soiled after she ate, wiped on it and spilled some on it. One of her short sleeve was wet since she danced with her cup on the seat. So by the time we were landing, I changed her final set of tee. So I was left with 1 good pair of trousers and 2 frocks. That for a 14 hour travel including the 1 hour 45 minute transit was fine. However, while returning I opted for the 6 hour transit since we both enjoyed travel and wanted to enjoy the Dubai lounge.
While returning I made it into just 3 tee, 2 pants and 1 frock and shorts even with a 20 hour travel including the transit. It was warm while we though the mess was more she didn’t want to change. So, I just changed her dress once at transit and after we landed in Chennai. My daughter hardly used bibs, however she agreed to use towels, so that saved the mess a bit. Some kids don’t prefer to wear their shoes while they are seated. So carrying socks will help. Let them stay or walk around in socks. Mine did that, however, she preferred to stay barefooted while we returned. So, I just wrapped a blanket on her legs.
3. Diapers & Wet Tissues
I took 5 diapers in her travel bag assuming I’d change once every 4 hours or as she requested. Since my daughter hates heavy or wet pants, I don’t really have to keep asking her. Also, she doesn’t poop in her pants. She prefers to use the bathroom. So, that saves the biggest mess and that’s only because she doesn’t like staying wet.
Also, Wet tissues are handy. I used it to wipe off the seat, wipe off her food table, her things, the mess and then her. I use it very less on her though! I use it often on me to again clear the mess she makes while she lovingly gives me a hug or kiss mainly when she is eating! That’s part of the love and motherhood anyway. Honestly, I love the kiss and hug, but definitely not that piece of chocolate mess on my dress or face or hair, oh, at times, my shoes! (face palm)
4. Food, Snacks, All Edibles Included.
I actually wanted to put snacks first on the list! I didn’t want to get carried away! So here’s the list of the 4-5 boxes I carried.
I carried nuts, biscuits, Idli, Chapathi, Apple and pomegranate (my daughter’s favorite – I can proudly tell you that I managed the flight from Bangalore to Chennai with this magic box). I took Apple juice and Milk offered in the flight. She didn’t eat her meal while we traveled to London and relied completely on the snacks I took. However, when we returned she was interested in the meal they offered and managed to finish the chocolate pudding both the times. She also had some noodle like stuff that I clearly couldn’t eat. I found it to be really funny. While returning I carried a box of strawberries and raspberries. I bought plain rice for her in the Thai shop at the Dubai lounge and clubbed it with meat offered in the flight. Since they offered a cute disposable cup in the airplane, I bribed her to drink water as well as apple juice in it. Aren’t kids fond of new things all the time?
Also, food is always served 1.5 – 2 hours into the journey. Most flight serve kids meals first, vegetarians next and then the Non-vegetarians. So always have a few snacks to satiates your hunger pangs. For me, Almonds always help.
5. Prescribed Medicines with Prescriptions
Though some doctors advice to ease the uneasiness in kids by giving them P120 drops, 2 hours before landing and take off, mine told me to let her be. I took P120 drops and nasal drops only for emergency. The rest of the medicines were safely packed in the check-in.
The pro – tip to ease the uneasiness in infants, toddlers and kids in general while landing and take-off is to let them sip water or any other liquid. When they swallow liquids, it keeps their ears from being blocked. Otherwise, you could also ask them to open their mouths wide for a while and then close it again, this also helps them swallow. It’s okay for kids to cry while landing and take off. Don’t make a fuss by asking them to remain silent. After all it’s a new experience and they will be fine after the take-off. Let them be! People often understand.
6. Sling or Baby Carrier
Since strollers are only allowed till the boarding gate, I carried a baby carrier (Anmol) because we never know when they’ll fall asleep. Even if they aren’t asleep, I feel it as a safety measure to fasten her in the sling while I walk to claim my baggage or transit smoothly. I woke my daughter and she was half asleep, a state which is best handled in the sling. This lets me be calm and look out for what must be done than cause her discomfort by getting angry or tensed.
7. Disposable Covers
Though they offered waste paper bags in the flight, I always carry two disposable covers for throw-up kind of emergencies. I always keep a couple in my bag, since baby girl is not a fan of Ola cabs. She prefers autos and buses, but not the public cabs. She feels too stuffy in them, the Chennai weather adds to the suffocation and at times throws up half way. So, I feel it is safe to have a one or two disposable covers for emergencies. Every kid is different and it is better to have a couple during travel.
The other items I wanted to include in this list are as follows:
1. Paper/ Notebook, Colors and Toy – Since most flights offer activity book and colors, I did not add this. If your child has a favorite toy carry those. Mine just goes with the flow so far. She is more interested in my pencil box than her entire toy list. So I choose to share that with her. Since I always carry a note book with me, I dedicate a few pages for her.
2. Other Electronic Devices for personal viewing – I let her watch Dora for a while since I didn’t want her to use my phone. She watched the sky for a few minutes and tried to find the moon. Otherwise, I don’t recommend any electronic devices for kids during flight. Though I carried Kindle Fire, I didn’t offer it to her.
What I learnt from my travel is that kids adapt quickly with the environment. They take their time, but eventually adapt. It is common for some kids to eat less whereas for some eat more during travel and it is perfectly common. There is not much to worry about it. Enjoy the journey by being prepared with what suits you from the list and feel free to add what your kid and you would prefer.
I would love to know how you enjoy travel with your kids. My list and yours could be different, in that case I would love to know what is in your child’s travel bag! I would also like to know did you travel yourself or with any family member and how was enjoyable was your journey! I traveled with my baby girl and we thoroughly enjoyed it!
Happy Travel!! Let there be more in the coming months!