So how old was my daughter when she went on her first adventure? 3 months old to Turks and Caicos. And her second trip? 5 months old to Italy. By the age of 2 she had been on most continents and about 22 countries because it was free to travel under two years of age. So how exactly did we do it with a baby in tow and crossing the two oceans? Pack light! Trust me, you will thank me later. I think the biggest mistake that people make, and especially when travelling with children, is to overpack. I’ve been there, and it was not easy. I am happy to say that I have been a carry on only woman now for the past 15 years and life could not be easier when we travel. So just how much can you pack in a carry on? A LOT! I use travel cubes and I can fit 14 days worth of different outfits in one carry on (of course, not if you are heading to a winter vacation) Sooooo, where does everything else go? Your personal item, which most airlines allow, could hold one extra pair of shoes, your toiletries and your electronics. But, how about more shoes in case I need them? Trust me, that situation is highly unlikely as I am almost certain you will alternate between the same two pairs of comfortable shoes when you travel, for me, flip flops and my travel shoes (which by the way, 2 decades later I am still struggling to find the perfect pair). But how about if we go out at night? Then squeeze that extra pair of heels in there somehow but do not check in a suitcase, you will regret it later when you have to lug it around different modes or transportation.
Ok, so, how about travelling with a child? Well, we like to make life more complicated than it needs to be. In my experience travelling with my daughter, the lighter you go, the easier your life will be. In a very global world, you can find anything you need anywhere in the world. Yes, there are H&Ms and Gaps just about in every corner of the world. If you really need a stroller, take an umbrella one. Up until she was 4, our daughter lived in an ergo baby carrier which made it easy for us and for her. Lightweight, comfortable and extremely portable. In fact, we’ve never brought a stroller along though we did occassionally have to listen to “my legs hurt” after a day of walking 😉 Diapers? Baby wipes? Change of clothes? No problem, you’ll find them in any grocery store around the world and it is very probable it will carry whatever brand you are loyal to. Forgot gloves or a scarf or rain boots? No problem, you can find it for more or less the same price as back home at any international chain store or local market. How about medication and first aid items? While I do bring along a small first aid kit and some medication, we’ve almost never had to use it and we noticed the same selection and general brands everywhere around the world.
How about extra jackets and hoodies? Well, you will look like a snowman getting on the plane, but wear them if you need them and avoid checking in another suitcase as it will be a hassle carrying it around. If you are travelling as a family unit, checking in one bag would make sense but even then, it is wise to choose a bag that can become a backpack or be carried on wheels for versatility and comfort depending on what sort of adventure you are on.
Trust me, you will appreciate my advice every time you don’t have to wait for your bags on the luggage belt, every time you go through customs, every time you enter a taxi, a bus, a train or a tuk tuk, every time you have to take the stairs up to a hotel room or airbnb and every time you return home and don’t have to do a mountain of laundry. And did I mention all the fees you will save by not checking in a bag? Or all the junk you won’t buy because you won’t have the space for it? Yes, you’re welcome 🙂