We've done this way too many times this year, that we have about perfected our skills, well not exactly but we're getting better. Most of the time we pack way too much stuff, but I think we're doing better. So while I'm waiting on the laundry and Calvin is napping I thought I'd share a few of the things I have learned.
1. I discovered it is best to lay everything out before you pack it, so you know exactly how much stuff you are packing. In the photo I have an outfit for the day and pj's at night below it. We'll be gone 9 days, so I only packed for 4, I'm planning on doing laundry on the 3rd day and again on the 6th day. If you're planning on washing laundry in a sink, you'll need to do it every night in order for it to dry. (Things dry better in the winter than the summer indoors, private balconies are a great place to hang laundry during the summer granted the hotel your staying at has them and suitcase racks make great drying racks.)
2. I always bring laundry soap, you just never know and Calvin has very sensitive skin. I have to use a detergent free of a lot of stuff or he will break out. I also always bring a towel and wash cloth for this very reason.
3. Diapers. Always take enough to last a couple of days, even if you're planning on buying some when you get there. I know it may sound silly but it's better safe than sorry. We had to go to Greece and we were only going to stay one night and then all of a sudden we thought we'd have to stay another night. I was literally panicking because I didn't think I would have enough diapers and unless you want to pay high cost of diapers in vacation spots or airports, be prepared. I also learned that bringing a unopened pack saves on space. The manufactures have sealed it tightly and there is no way you will ever get all those loose diapers packed as tightly.
4. Monitor. If you aren't sure of your room arrangements, throw in your baby monitor. I try to bring it when we go to Marvin's parents and my parents because we can't hear when Calvin wakes up at either place.
5. Go Light on Toys, but enough to be entertained. This trip I decided to only take a large glad bag worth of toys. My parents have a few toys, but to be honest he loves to play with Tupperware more than anything. You can find lots of 'toys' wherever your going you just have to look around. Make sure you pack quality toys that can do a variety of things. For this trip I packed a few blocks, his farm animals and tractors, a car, his little phone thing he can pull around, and a few books. I'm going to throw some bubbles in our diaper bag as well as his new favorite marker. If you are flying the best advice I have for you is to be organized. I discovered if I had a bag full of toys it was hard to rummage through them in the tight corners of an airline seat to find what I wanted. I found that if I put different things to do in different small baggies in a larger Ziploc it was easier to pull out a new activity when boredom set in. Before you take off grab the entertainment bag out and put in the seat pocket in from of you.
6. Bring Car toys. I know I just said go light on toys. But here is why I think it is good to bring car toys. They only get played with in the car. So that you don't have to worry about dragging everything in and back out to the car. Choose things that keep your child's attention. Calvin loves a lift-a-flap book and a little music thing my parents got him. I also have an old wipes container that is filled with all sorts of goodies that can be put in and taken out, one of his favorite games. I also keep a thing of finger puppets in the car, these are small and provide lots of entertainment. When all else fails break out the DVD player. Yes I never thought I'd be one of those parents (sorry if I judged you), but it is beautiful. Granted Calvin probably watches maybe one show a week, but he loves Baby Einstein and it captures his attention when everything else doesn't work.
7. Bring a first aid kit fully loaded. Tylenol, ibuprofen, saline, nose aspirator, clippers, thermometer & Vick's. Those are our staples and must haves when traveling. It's been nice not to have to figure out where the closest drug store is because we always have what we need.
8. Flexibility. As hard as I try to keep Calvin's routines the same when we travel, I know he will always be off, and not sleep as well. I make sure to leave extra room for cuddling before nap time and bedtime, because we all have to adjust to sleeping in a new environment.
9. Pack the night before, I think everybody does this, right? Maybe that's just us, but there are always a few things we need in the morning like a toothbrush, brush, etc. I discovered that if I just make a list on a post-it note of the things that still need to be packed, they make it in the suitcase. Of course you need to stick the note on the suitcase or bathroom mirror to make sure you remember. Since we travel a lot we just keep travel toothbrushes ready to go, so no worries about forgetting them.
So that's what we have discovered. Happy Trails..............