Ever had that pre-trip feeling where all you want to do is get on the plane? That’s me at the moment. Early tomorrow morning we leave for three weeks in Europe – kids in tow – and I’ve made 2404835 lists and checked them twice. I’m a big planner, but I think I’m all planned out.
My kids are three, four (turning five on the trip), and six, and this holiday is a milestone in that we have three toilet-trained children! I am loving not having to worry about nappies. Even without nappies, there’s no such thing as travelling light when you’ve got small kids, right?
But this trip I’ve really tried to streamline our packing and only take the bare essentials. We’ve also got an internal European flight with a budget airline to consider, and they’re notoriously strict about overweight luggage.
We’ve got two suitcases and a stroller (which we agonised over taking) between the five of us. I’m pretty sure we’re well underweight. But what to pack in carry-on? I thought you might like to take a peek at what I’m packing:
1. Paracetamol // 2. Gastro-lyte // 3. Gastro-stop // 4. Painstop // 5. Children’s Panadol //
6. Vicks VapoRub // 7. Antibacterial hand gel // 8. Fess nasal saline spray for kids // 9. Cotton buds, needle, thread and safety pins // 10. Aspirin // 11. Plasters (from Typo)
This first-aid kit lives in my husband’s backpack (see below). Obviously this is just what works for my family, as recommended by our GP. We are fortunate to not have any allergies or illnesses requiring prescription medication.
A few things: my girls seem to be susceptible to ear pain when flying, so to combat this we use the Fess spray to clear out the sinuses, as well as VapoRub. This time we are trialling a dose of Painstop before we begin to descend to see if that helps, plus we’ve got lollies to suck and chew on. Fingers crossed that helps as they can really scream!
1. Travel documents // 2. Fresh outfits x 5 // 3. Snacks // 4. Travel guides & dictionary // 5. Roll-up water bottle (Kathmandu) //6. iPad, iPhone, camera & ear phones // 7. Toothbrushes & pull-ups for Mr 3 // 8. Portable recharger, adaptors and other cords
A full change of clothes for every family member is a necessary evil in my book. They’re bulky, but you just never know when a child will have an accident or vomit all over you. We’ve also got a brief stopover in an airport hotel, so we’ll all be showering and changing into new clothes.
Electronic devices loaded with new apps and stories are another must. We have three phones and one iPad between us, so hopefully that is enough to keep the fights at bay. And don’t forget the rechargers and adaptors!
1. Travel brush, tissues & make-up // 2. Passports x 5 // 3. Purse & sunnies // 4. Kindle & diary //
5. Wipes and antibacterial hand gel // 6. Compression stockings // 7. Noise-cancelling ear phones // 8. Black pashmina // 9. Mentos for kids
This is the first time in nearly seven years that I have not travelled with a nappy bag *happy dance*. And I’m lucky that my husband is able to lug around a much larger backpack with more essentials. A few tips: use a handbag with a few different compartments. Keep things in zip-lock bags wherever possible.
I highly recommend using the black pashmina as a cocoon for a child or two. Simply wrap over the top of their seat, use blankets for the sides and you have a little sleeping cave. And noise-cancelling head phones are life-changing; I cannot sleep without them. Not that I expect much sleep, but if they drone out some whinging I’ll count that as a win!
Have you ever worn compression stockings? I am going to channel my inner Nanna and rock these babies in the hope that my shoes still fit at the end of the flight.
Kids’ travel suitcase
1. Kids’ neck pillows (now half-price at DJs!) // 2. Crayons, pens & glue // 3. Activity books x 3 // 4. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory //5. Travel diaries & stickers (Smiggle) // 6. Blankies //
7. Ponies (Kmart) // 8. Lego
When we travel, the rule is: everything my kids want to read/play with has to fit in this mini suitcase. They’re not old enough to each carry their own backpack, and I find that there is always someone who is happy to pull this one along (usually my youngest!).
For this trip, each child has got one travel diary, one surprise toy, and one activity book. We’ve taken one novel to read together while we’re away, as well as others on the iPad. We always take loads of stickers and my number one tip is to take glue. Even my three-year-old keeps a diary by ripping out pages from brochures and magazines and sticking them in his notebook. (Just don’t take scissors as they’ll be confiscated!)