Since the kids broke up for the summer, we’ve driven over 1000 miles across the country visiting friends and family and I now consider myself something of a travel expert! Along with keeping the smalls happy on the journey, I have a system for packing the boot Krypton Factor styley and can fit an impressive amount of stuff in there. Pink Lining have asked me to share some of my top tips for travelling with your family.
As our family live a fair distance away, the children have been used to long drives in the car from early babyhood. When we can, we travel at night so that they’ll (hopefully) sleep for most of the journey, all cosy in their onesies (best things EVER – totally recommend them!) but obviously, this isn’t always possible. We make sure they don’t travel on an empty belly and I always make sure they have water and dry snacks for the journey (raisins were banned a few years back – wayyy too sticky). Hangry kids in a car isn’t fun for anybody! Hate to say it, but the iPad is a lifesaver for us, we load it up with kids films and their favourite apps and bring it out when they start to get bored. I’ve brought colouring books and crayons along before and for us, they’re a bit of a nightmare! The crayons end up everywhere and they lose interest so quickly. They much prefer bringing along some small toys and their teddies and chatting to us.
I try and pack as few clothes as I can so I’m a big fan of a capsule wardrobe – greens and blues for him, pinks and blues for her, a couple of dresses/smart tops, a jumper each, one pair of shoes/Converse, sandals that go with anything and some long sleeves and jeans, just incase. I always wash stuff when I’m there too, this year we’re staying with family but when we go away we’re usually self catering or we’ve stayed in a hotel that provides a laundry service (I checked in advance!). I leave the things we need first until last (wash bag, nightclothes, chargers – priorities!) and pack them on top so that I can open the case once we’re there and get what I need out and leave the rest until later if I need to. The children pack their toys and whatever else they want in their own bags, I pack their books in the suitcase so they’re not weighed down. We have a small child’s suitcase but one of us ends up carrying it and it takes up too much room so their own bag is a much better solution and means I can fit more in my own bag. When we’ve travelled abroad, I’ve packed a change of clothes, too. We’ve been abroad once as a family of 4, when our youngest was a baby. The experience has scarred us for life, which is why we haven’t been on a plane since. Just kidding! We went to France and both children were sick on the plane (while the seatbelt sign was on – horrendous!). Luckily I had spare clothes for us all because I’m paranoid that our luggage will go missing. You never know! I was SO GLAD that my “crazy overpacking” meant that I had a clean t-shirt! I go for soft clothes to travel in, they roll up easily and I dress them in something bright too so they’re easy to spot in a crowd (I do this for days out too!). Obviously I didn’t have to worry on that holiday about the littlest wandering off – she was only 3 months old at the time.
I’m a big fan of buying what you need when you get there, especially when it comes to things like nappies. I’ll take enough for a day or two and then stock up once I’m there. Same goes for things like travel cots, I’d hire one there rather than take mine along (not that they even slept in it!). We’ve hired pushchairs before too but I’d much rather take ours along so that I have it in the airport as that was when I wanted it the most.
Pink Lining very kindly sent Bevan one of the backpacks from their children’s range. I knew they made the Yummy Mummy bags that my friends love but didn’t know they made goodies for kids until now. The colours are lovely and bright (easy to spot), it’s wipeable (genius) and the straps are thick and padded, just what you need for little shoulders. He has managed to fit an impressive amount of stuff in there so it would seem it has Mary Poppins qualities, too.