We just returned from a 10-day vacation to the West Coast. Unlike previous trips where the bulk of my prep efforts involved packing the kids, this time, I left much of their packing up to them. THEY were accountable for what they did and, more importantly, did NOT bring. Thus, no goggles in the pool? Their problem, not mine! A favorite top not packed? Not my concern. That one, simple edict freed up my time to think about other things, namely items that could make our lives easier and more pleasant while we were away. The challenge, of course, was finding stuff that would fit into our carry-on luggage since we do not check bags (too cumbersome and expensive).
Here is my list of Dos and Don'ts for future air travel:
...collapsible water bottles. These bottles (see the photo above), which I picked up at 5 Below for $5 each, meant that as soon as we cleared Security, we could fill up and have water on the plane. It saved us quite a bit of money since water in the airport is expensive! The ones we had came with a little hook which you could hook to your belt or purse, but more importantly, we hooked them over the side of the little pouch on the seat in front of us (the one that holds the SkyMiles magazine), so we didn't have to hold them and couldn't lose them.
...inflatable boogie boards. Last year, my kids were upset that they had nothing to play with in the ocean. Carrying Styrofoam boards on a plane was out of the question and paying $12 each at the beach was not happening. The ones I bought, again at 5 Below, were great because we used the bike pump at our hotel to blow the boards up and the kids boogie boarded not only in the ocean, but in the hotel's pool. The only problem was that they didn't come with elastic to strap from the board to the rider's hand. My son kept a death grip on his while surfing. Next year, I'll bring some elastic cord so we don't have that problem.
|Inflatable boogie board|
...lots of Ziploc bags in various sizes. We used gallon-size bags to protect electronics while on the beach, to store medications, hold hair supplies, ice for our cooler (see below), etc. The extra large bags held our clothes and by compressing them, gave us a lot of extra room in each travel bag.
...a collapsible cooler. I put this in my son's luggage, since he packs the least amount of clothes (don't ask). The cooler was wonderful because every day we'd pack some ice in a Ziploc bag (when the ice melted, we had more drinking water), add our filled water bottles, threw in some fruit, and stuck the cooler in the rental car. We always had cold provisions, even on the hottest days.
...bagel chips as a snack. These held up really nicely along with granola, protein bars (an essential for the Teen), and apples.
Do NOT bring...
...muffins on the plane. They're way too crumbly and didn't hold up well at all. By the time we arrived in the West, we had a Ziploc bag of crumbs. Granted, it was fun to squish the crumbs and make one big muffin which the kids then, of course, thought was too icky to eat.
...Pillow Pets or their cheap knock-offs. Bunny dropped to the floor several times and was too gross to use as a pillow, even after I Lysoled it. Bunny is now in the garage, with luggage, waiting to be washed.
Overall, I was proud of my packing on this trip. The items above helped us a lot and made the trip more pleasant for the kids. And, as any parent knows, when the kids are happy, EVERYONE is happy!
Thanks for reading! Please join me again, won't you?