I am a phone, keys and card-in-my-pocket kinda gal. I’ve never been one for carrying stuff around with me, the thought of it makes me overwhelmed. Saying that, I am totally in awe of mums who pack lunches, changes of clothes, wipes, snacks, suncream, toys, muslins, sippy cup’s and god knows what else i’ve missed, every time they leave the house. You guys are amazing! Day to day, I keep two pouches in the bottom of the buggy (changing + miscellaneous) and my phone and card in my pocket, and that’s it. I’ve ditched the changing bag, I hardly remember to bring toys and I often forget snacks but, it makes leaving the house fuss free and anything I need, I can nearly always pick up, or borrow from an organised mum, if I’m desperate.
The same goes for travelling. I like to travel with minimum ‘stuff’ to avoid getting myself in a kafuffle. For me, the more stuff I have, the more stuff I lose and I think I’m just about becoming an expert on stuff-free travel. Mally is coming up to 2 years old now and by that time, she’ll on been on 12 plane journeys, that’s 11 times for me to ditch a little more baggage as time goes on. (Disclaimer: The 3 of us still share one suitcase but I think thats allowed, right?)
I’ve put together a few of my travel must-haves for stress free flying with kids and there’s some thrown in just for you as well. I hope you find them useful!
1. Pouches Save Lives!
Pouches are perfect for keeping bags tidy and stress free. I take a beach bag as hand luggage rather than a changing bag (you can take both but… stuff) and pouches are perfect for keeping them in order.
A pouch for toys means that you can hand the whole thing over to your child for them to rummage through and tidy up after. Plus, it can be easily transported from pool to beach to dinner without them ending up all over the shop, in theory. These Gray Store ones are the perfect size to fill with toys and they can be personalised with initials or names in your choice of colour and pattern!
The joy of having a changing pouch, apart from it being there when shit hits the fan, is that they can easily be chucked at your partner when the baby’s had an accident and they give you that look like theres nothing they can do about it from the other side of the aisle… here, catch! This Mum & You pouch is genius. It turns into a plush changing mat, has different pouches for the essentials and is see through and wipe clean. A proportion of all M&Y sales go directly towards helping mums most in need too, double win!
2. Keep Em Quiet, Like Really Quiet!
Keep Em Quiet create the ultimate travel entertainment packs for kids. I had been eyeing them up on instagram for a while but honestly, I thought surely I can just do that myself? Oh my gad, I was wrong – these are AMAZING. Each pack is personalised depending on the age, gender and flight length for your child and is packed is with toys, activities crafts, books, educational items, healthy snacks, stickers, puzzles and more. I couldn’t believe how quiet Mally actually was on flight. No screens, bribery or dummy needed. On top of that, we didn’t make it through the whole pack on our 2.5 hour flight, which meant more to discover whilst we were away and for the plane journey home.
So, yes – you probably could make one of these yourself, but at £10.99 for the whole pack and just a magazine and snack in the airport costing the same, this reusable treasure bag is amazing value for money and is my top travel buy!
3. Screen time = Me time
It’s not everyones cup of tea but we have an ALBA tablet which we bring along with us on holidays for evening watching. These make a great, cheaper alternative to an Ipad and it even fits into my evening clutch bag, winning! The BBC Iplayer Kids App is great for downloading shows before you go, we are big fans of Baby Jake ’round here. On our recent holidays, this tablet has given us the chance for a few pre-dinner bevvies, before one of us walks Mally to sleep in the buggy.
4. Buzz Off to Nasties
These Natural Mosquito Repellent Patches are super lightweight and take up no room in your bag and can be taken on an aeroplane. They are small green stickers that can be stuck to pretty much anything! We found them to work really well on our recent trip to Greece and stuck them on the travel cot, buggy and headboard. You can even stick them to your clothes or nappies if you want! Each 3cm diameter sticker provides 12 – 24 hours protection and contains the natural essential oils: Citronella, Eucalyptus and Peppermint. There are loads in each pack so you don’t have to worry about being caught short whilst you are away! These are safe for babies after 6 months.
Find them on Amazon here.
5. Keep your dirty laundry a secret
You know when you’re on holiday and you’re not really sure what to do with your dirty pants? Ever had someone looking for something in your bag and felt the fear of them pulling out your old undies? The Wunderpouch is here to organise your bag, hotel room and dirty laundry! They are colourful and fun pant-shaped pouched (told ya i love a pouch) for your panties. I have one for clean laundry and one for dirty. and I LOVE them. No more searching for pants in your bag, mixing old and new or fearing someone sticking their hands in a carrier bag full of knickers in your bag. I’m not sure what it is about these but I think they are genius. Each Wunderpouch can fit up to two weeks worth of pants inside! They are perfect for festivals, going to the gym, taking on business trips and of course stress free holiday packing!
6. Look fresh faced (when you don’t always feel it)
I hate taking heavy toiletries away with me and my usual cleanser and toner take up too much room in my soap bag (yes, I know I could decant but… effort). I first came across this Laidbare Two in One DIY Cleandser and Toner after finding it in a goodie bag and I’ve since reordered it. There is something about it that reminds me of holiday and it honestly makes your skin feel so so so clean. It even removes eye make up properly.
According to the website it has ”Liquorice and Aloe Vera for exceptional anti-bacterial properties that reduce inflammation, tone and strengthen the skin and Apple Secrets Extract helps protect your skin cells and Brazil Nut Extract is a valuable antioxidant working hard to condition, nourish and repair.” I just know that it doesn’t take up much room or dry out my skin and it smells bloody great. They also chuck in some free samples of their Pack Your Bags Eye Cream when you order the cleanser, which you can bring away with you and save yourself carrying another full sized product (and your eye bags!)
First Time Airport Travel Tips
Packing lightly is more a state of mind than just physically carrying less stuff. Don’t forget, anything you don’t have you can pick up along the way. I like to just have one bag on me plus the buggy, which can be taken right up to the plane so my hands (and mind) are free.
If you have a smaller baby, you might want to check the buggy in and carry the baby in a sling through the airport. The Baby K’Tan sling is good as it’s light, folds down small and doesn’t take up much room in your bag. I did this a lot in Mally’s first year as our Bugaboo Chameleon (particularly with the carrycot) was a bit of a faff to fold down. The Bugaboo Travel Bag is great for those big bugaboo buggies as you can fit loads of extra stuff in there along with the pram. I packed mine full of formula, nappies, heavy shoes…anything! You check in it in for free with any bags and can enjoy hand free airport wandering with little baby safe and happy too.
If you are traveling with only hand luggage, a good tip is to pre-pack your babies outfits in zip lock bags beforehand. That way, you can just whip one out each day and chuck one in your bag as a spare. I used to do this for my outfits at festivals as it saved me many a drunken rummage through a bag in a sweaty tent, and babies act like drunk people at festivals most of the time anyway… right?
If your little one is acting particularly drunk/crazy before the flight, check online whether your airport has a play-area to wear them out before you board the plane!
Happy travelling and, most importantly when it comes to travelling with toddlers in tow, ENJOY!