Monday, April 20, 2009

Everything but the kitchen sink....

I am an habitual carry-on-er. I had rarely taken a flight, even for a weeks stay in cold Chicago, where I had to check my bag. I’ve lost way too much stuff from checking my bags, so I learned to pack well. And I do. I know exactly what to bring and how to get it all into the smallest bag possible. When you travel often for work like I do, you have to learn where to cut corners. That was P.B. (pre-baby). Now… traveling feels more like moving. I think we take more with us when we travel with G than I owned in college. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I can still get MY stuff in one bag, it’s the baby’s stuff that is a little more challenging. And sadly, he can’t pack for himself. Yet. He’s not even 2. We’ll give it a few more years.

The question “what if I need this” takes on a whole new meaning when you are traveling with a baby. For me, I took it too literally and almost ended up packing the whole nursery for our first trip. But after my husband ASSURED me that they did sell diapers, wipes, and yes, even baby clothes (in case the 10 outfits I brought were damaged beyond all repair) in the very remote town of Scottsdale, Arizona, I scaled back a teeny bit. Ok, maybe I was a little nervous. But better to be prepared, right?

A few things I quickly learned about packing with my limited travels with baby:
- Buy diapers and wipes when you get there. They take up a lot of space. (Unless, of course, you need an excuse to have room in your suitcase to buy new clothes. Just think of the space you’ll have when you use up that 40 pack of diapers you packed!)
- The exception: Pack swim diapers if you are going out of the country. Apparently they are considered a luxury in some places.
- Unless you are planning a 2 week trek through the Amazon with no Walgreens in a 100 mile radius – you actually don’t need every lotion or cream you own for baby. Stores will sell you things you might need if it’s required.
- No need to pack a bag full of toys for baby. Kids can make toys out of things you never imagined, and be completely entertained. The empty liquor bottles (sealed of course!) that dad needed to make it through the flight will keep baby entertained for hours. And if you are traveling to visit family – you won’t believe the amount of things people want to buy for baby.
- Always pack an extra outfit (or two!) for the plane ride. Especially if the baby is sick. (oh dear… more on that later).

Overall, traveling with baby is different, and you are thankful for the security lines made just for families when you put your house through the security screen. It makes you appreciate the trips when it’s just you, and you can carry on your one bag and small personal item. Other passengers will look at you in amazement as you maneuver down the tight aisle, cram your bag into the overhead, shimmy your way over other passengers to your seat, smile, and say… “well that was easy”. If they only knew.

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