I’ve been packing all week for an upcoming family trip. It’s not a long one, but I think we all know that time doesn’t change the amount of crap you need for a baby and a toddler.
Traveling with little kids should be some kind of Olympic Sport.
P.S. I need to write a post about how Moms pack vs. Dads. I swear I’ve planned for every possible natural disaster that could occur and prepared for it, and Michael will most definitely pack thirty minutes before we leave.
I’ve been making lists in my head for weeks–what to bring, what to leave, and what not to forget on our way out the door. I’ve been doing my best to think of anything and everything we could possibly need–anything that might make our trip just that much easier.
But as I loaded up the suitcases with swimsuits, baby food, bottles, and outlet covers (I could go on)…I began to realize I had the packing list all wrong.
If you plan on traveling with little kids anytime soon, you’re in luck. Hot off the press, here’s my recommended packing list:
What to bring with you:
1. Patience- And lots of it. Really, fill your whole suitcase with it if you can. Because no matter how much you plan, you’ll never be prepared. But welcome to kids, right?
2. Humility- By definition, humility means having a low view of one’s own importance. Even if this trip is for you, guess what…it’s not. The days will revolve around your kids if they are little. Check your ego with your luggage.
3. Strength- Everyone has their own source of strength. For me, it’s prayer and meditation. For others, it’s coffee. Whatever your source, find it and pack it–lots of it. And while you’re at it, bring back up.
What to leave behind:
1. Agenda- Make plans, sure. But be ready to throw them out the window. And guess what? That’s okay. Us “Type-A” personalities can really benefit from the lessons kids teach us, especially while on vacation. Life doesn’t always have to be planned. Roll with it. Enjoy it.
2. Expectations- A wise friend once told me she always travels with the same mantra…“Raise your tolerance and lower your expectations.” I’ve been repeating that mantra ever since. Traveling with kids takes it to an entirely new level. But somehow keeping the above in mind brings a sort of serenity that washes over everyone around you. Say it with me, “lower your expectations.” Better yet, leave them at home.
3. Inhibitions- This one’s a good one, and my personal favorite. The best part about traveling with kids is seeing (and experiencing) everything the way they do. Ice cream at 9am? Why the heck not. Jumping in the pool at midnight? In your pajamas? Bring it. You can’t experience each other when you are closed off to the opportunities life brings–to the opportunities your children bring. And if you have older kids? Just try it. Lose your inhibitions, and watch theirs melt away. BONDING. CENTRAL. Because really, isn’t that what traveling with family is all about?
Oh, and Sunscreen. Whatever you do, don’t forget sunscreen.