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With my upcoming adventure in the UK and Ireland, I’ve broken up some of the things that I do for spur of the moment car trips and for week long trips that require flying.

Here are some tips for over night getaways with an infant or toddler:

  • Pack for yourself first. This makes you take the time to think about what you need. Is it going to be hot or cold, do I need a bathing suit, do we need gloves or boots? When you can define where you are going and what you personally need, it makes packing a breeze.
  • Invest in a toiletries bag and keep it prepped under your sink. This has saved me several times. Most people don’t do this, but I highly recommend it. First, it saves you time in packing. Second, you never have to worry about a last minute journey and not having shampoo or soap ready to go. The toiletries bag is just for trips and has all of the same products you use daily in small containers; this includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, hair products, q-tips, cotton balls, tweezers, eye drops, chap stick, nail file, deodorant, lotion, hand sanitizer, facial scrub and moisturizer, eye cream, your toddler’s toothpaste and toothbrush, your toddler’s lotions, diaper cream and body wash, etc. That is just a list of what I have prepacked. When I arrive home from a trip, I make sure it is refilled and ready to go before putting it away. It is an investment at first but it is such a time saver, especially when you want to just get away for the night.
  • Invest in a makeup bag. I keep my makeup bag next to my toiletries bag under my sink. For this, as I put on my makeup before leaving, I just throw in what I’m using straight into the makeup bag. I don’t forget anything and I don’t have the huge cost in cosmetic products just sitting under my sink. Some of the products I use don’t have preservatives in them so you don’t want them to spoil or go bad. This holds true for the toiletries bag as well, however, we travel so much that this isn’t really a concern.
  • Make sure you have a dedicated suitcase/duffle bag for each person in your family. Using the same luggage over and over again will help you remember how you packed each time and what makes sense where.
  • When packing for your infant or toddler you don’t want to take too much or too little. Ask yourself how many outfits they go through in a day then take and add 2 more outfits to it. How many diapers do they go through in a day, and then add on another 4-5. If you are using cloth diapers, how many covers do you need, do you have the wool over night cover, do you have your snappis and do you have a large garbage bag/plastic container/waterproof bag for dirty diapers? What kind of clothes you packed for yourself will determine what you pack for them. They only need 1 pair of shoes for an overnight or two day jaunt and maybe 2 pairs of socks. Don’t forget bibs, bottles, a sippy cup and a pacifier if you use them. Take a bottle scrubber and a ziplock baggie with some soap in it. Also, take with you 1-2 current blankets they sleep with, along with their favorite stuffed animal. The familiarity of the blankets will help them sleep better and they will have the comforts of home with their stuffed animal.
  • The diaper bag should be easy. This is something most people already have packed. I have a cute oversized purse I use for my diaper bag which is then two fold as I don’t carry a purse on top of the bag. The purse is divided into 3 pouches and I have his changing pad, diapers, diaper cream, wipes, extra outfit, toys, snacks, teething pills, etc. in two of the pouches. I then carry my wallet in the third pouch with my items. This makes a quick trip really easy as you have less items to carry and more than likely this is usually ready for general shopping anyways.
  • Depending on the age you’ll want to take a bag of books, cars, dolls, toys etc. that they currently play with. I don’t recommend watching TV for short trips in a car or on a regular basis before the age of 2. You are on a family trip together and maybe in the car for an hour or two. That doesn’t mean to give your kids an electronic game or a DVD player to keep them quiet. Take this time to bond and interact with your kids. Talk with your kids about where they are going, ask them questions about the trip, play with your kids and toddlers. The more you interact with them the more you’ll be bonding and strengthening your relationship. Which do you think they’ll remember more: playing Star Wars on a handheld game, or remembering the games and discussions you had about where they were going and what they were seeing? If you have time, download some facts about the destination and discuss them on the way. Another great thing to do is listen to a family story on CD. There are plenty of stories that a whole family can listen to while driving. With a toddler, just play with them. They will be happy for the attention and in a 1-2 hour drive, is it that hard to do?
  • Make sure you take some car friendly snacks and a garbage bag. I only feed my child organic boxed snacks on trips. Normally, he eats tons of veggies and fruits daily, which are better snacks for his digestion and nutrition. For trips, I take organic cookies, crackers, grapes, raisins, cut up apples, and cuties. Most of the time I have all of the fruits on hand and on the way out of town we stop at Whole Foods to buy the cookies and crackers. Preparing this is a simple thing that dads can help with.
  • Another thing the dads can be responsible for is the electronics for the car and a cooler. Throw in some ice, fruits, veggies, and any special milk or juice for the little ones. Remember to take cell phone chargers.
  • Take a port-a-crib with you. This is so convenient and can allow you to stay anywhere without the hassle of trying to book a last minute room online and trying to find a place that has cribs.
  • Take a stroller

When it all comes down to it, you’ll have a bag for yourself, one for each child/toddler, a bag for dad, a cooler, a port-a-crib, stroller, a container for dirty cloth diapers, a bag of toys, and a bag of miscellaneous items for the car. As toddlers and kids get older have a special travel backpack that they know to grab and to pack for themselves what they want to play with in the car. Empowering them allows for some of the weight to be taken off of you and to quickly dedicate time to grabbing the stuff that they will forget!

Be adventurous and live life to the fullest!

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    July 27, 20145:31 am

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