I love to travel, so does my daughter. The ‘majority wins’ and we drag along ‘Man of the House’ as well. Together, three of us are not a crowd but great company.
Although most people detest (and want to skip this), but I personally love the packing part of travel. Planning, short listing and arranging things in an organised manner gives me immense creative satisfaction.
I don’t find the chore cumbersome as I have my basic groundwork ready for any trip. Being a regular traveller with my kid (she is 10 now), I have mastered the art of ‘kid oriented packing’.
So the trick is to divide all the packing essentials in four broad categories –
- Engagement tricks
(I will elaborate what all to include in each category in the latter half)
Before starting to pack, be clear on
Who all are going? If infants and toddlers are going, resist the urge to take the whole nursery along. For older kids, announce the rule – certain things (books, toys, stationary etc.) will be shared.
What luggage do you plan to take? Travelling light is indeed a blessing but at times, more than blessings you need actual ‘things’! And therefore sturdy luggage is a must. Try to take strolly luggage (preferably four wheels) and haversacks. Let older children pack their own luggage in individual bags.
Where are you going? Is it a beach vacation or a trekking expedition? A cruise or road trip? Will you travel by air, car or train? Clothes, shoes and few other articles will vary and depend on the location and mode of travel.
When are you going? Dubai in May would need different clothing than Jaipur in December. Packing is hugely dependent on the weather of your destination.
Okay. So once the destination, days and weather conditions are all sorted, I take out my magic sheet – a printed checklist!
To be honest, I haven’t created it from scratch. I have it downloaded and printed from the internet and modified according to my requirements.
You will find all types of checklists specific to the age of your child, destination of the visit (beach, mountains, snow) and mode of transport (air, road, train).
Have a look at this.
Trust me, keep them handy and you will save half the effort!
Tip: Keep a bunch of clear Ziploc pouches handy before you start packing!
As mentioned earlier, I divide my daughter’s essentials into four major groups:
Travel outfit – This is the outfit your child is going to wear during travel. I make sure it is comfortable, loose fitting, has pockets and gives full coverage. Always keep a light stole or wrap handy (airplanes are often chilly).
Sightseeing outfits – These should be mostly lightweight and include quick drying tops and t-shirts, shorts, stretchable jeans and leggings, a windcheater or a light jacket. If the weather is going to be cold, layer their clothes for warmth (a t-shirt or turtle-neck, long-sleeved shirt/top, then a jacket). Don’t forget to pack thin raincoats if rain is expected.
Footwear – Kids would need at least three types of footwear – Walking (closed toe) shoes, open sandals (like Crocs) and one dressy pair of shoes (not the expensive ones).
Undergarments – Pack enough underwear, vests, inners and socks so that you don’t find yourself in a spot to wash them irrespective of your time, resources and drying conditions. Carry one set of these for each day of stay, plus 2 to 3 sets extra.
Extras/Accessories – Pack an umbrella, sun block, spare plastic bags, Ziploc bags, Good knight Fabric Roll-On, a flash light, small sewing kit to fix those minor repairs, bunch of safety pins, wet wipes and dry tissue packets etc. Give them their own small purse or bag to carry and attach the Roll-On to it (it’s portable!). They would be happy to accommodate half of these items.
My daughter gets hungry or thirsty within 10 minutes of us stepping out. I guess that’s normal child psychology. So I keep myself well equipped (and stocked) even for an hour’s ride. When I travel long distances, I pack dry snacks, packets of juices, nuts, wafers, biscuits and long lasting fruits. Water bottle is a must. I carry all the food items in one separate hand bag. For immediate use, I make sandwiches, stuffed paratha triangles, flavoured poori and other similar dishes which usually get consumed as the first meal of the trip.
MEDICINE AND TOILETRIES
I keep a small pouch ready with some basic medicines which include tablets for fever, runny nose, allergy, pain, upset stomach, acidity, few Band Aids, Betadine, gauze, cotton balls and a Micropore tape. Don’t forget to keep any prescription medicine, if your child is already taking them. Before travel, I just take this pouch out of the medicine cabinet and keep it in the luggage; but ensure you check the expiry dates on the medicine.
One thing I don’t leave my house without, especially while going on trips, is Good knight Fabric Roll-On – I have mentioned about this earlier as well. It is an innovative new outdoor repellent by Good knight and is available in 2 fragrances, Bubblegum and Citrus.
Just 4 dots of this amazing product on our clothes gives us protection from nasty, disease-spreading mosquitoes when we are outdoors. Day or night, we do not step out without putting this on. It is completely safe to use – a revolutionary product that does not stain clothes and is 100% natural.
Although most good hotels provide toiletries for their stay over guests, I still carry some in small, travel size bottles. Also make sure to use Good knight Activ+ indoors, especially in mosquito-prone areas, for complete protection of your family and yourself.
Now this one is really important, especially for long flights or road trips. Once the initial exhilaration fades, kids tend to become cranky as they get bored of sitting in one place for a long time.
Here is my list of ideas for keeping them engaged –
- Buy few ‘brand-new’, small and inexpensive toys. Surprise them on-board. This will definitely hold their attention for a longer time. Same goes for books – carry new ones.
- Kindle, Tab or iPad come as saviours, although I am not a supporter of ‘children + gadgets’
- Take along Origami or craft material
- Colouring & sketching always works
- Small packets of quilling or loom bands, if this interests your child
- If it’s a road trip, engage them in animal spotting (who sees maximum squirrels or cows) or colour specific car counting
- Ask them to write their own travelogue (for older kids)
- UNO is our favourite family game, even in a flight
I hope the above tips would come handy for your next trip with kids. Do let me know your own tried and tested ideas and tricks for smart packing when you travel.
Banner image courtesy: Baby Budgeting
Other images; Ziploc, Sarah Peterson Designs