Like millions of Americans, we are traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday. We are headed to Bocas del Toro, Panama for a Caribbean Island getaway and I'm not sure we can get to warm weather fast enough! I am looking forward to a vacation, but I'm definitely not looking forward to our time in airports or the long flights. It takes careful planning and extra patience when at the airport on any occasion, but holiday travel will require an extra dose of patience.
Besides having a positive attitude, my biggest challenge when traveling with a child is packing the perfect carry-on bag. We've flown quite a bit with Kellan and I am always trying to get the right mix of necessary items in my bag.
I've blogged about traveling in general with a small child, but for this trip I am really focusing on the contents of my carry-on bag. Take a look at what I'm packing.
1. Passport/Itinerary wallet - For me, having our passports and travel itinerary in one convenient place is an absolute necessity. We also keep hotel confirmation numbers, airline phone numbers and other important phone numbers on a sheet of paper as a back-up, just in case the batteries to a cell phone or laptop fail us.
2. Toiletries - if your luggage ever gets lost, at least you'll have your toothbrush (and in my case, glasses, extra contact lenses and a few makeup items). I also keep Kellan's toothbrush in my bag too.
3. Extra clothes - It's worth having an extra outfit for your child. Once Kellan spilled water on his pants and socks and all I brought was an extra shirt and underwear. I have no idea what I was thinking, but now I always bring an entire outfit in a small packing cube. I also bring a long, lightweight cardigan that can double as a blanket for Kellan. It can also cover any spills on my shirt or pants (when wrapped around my waist).
4. Small toys/small notebook - The key words here are small and lightweight. The flight itself should have plenty of exciting elements. Kellan likes the overhead light button and the screens on the backs of headrests. For this trip I bought a roll-out play scene that I know he will love, and I'll pack his travel notebook and markers for drawing.
5. Healthy snacks - I cannot express how vital it is to pack healthy snacks on trips. If you've ever bought a two dollar granola bar or three dollar yogurt at the airport to appease your starving child, you know what I mean. Even if you think you are over-packing food, you probably aren't. You never know if a delay will keep you at the airport or inside a plane longer than expected.
Those are the necessities and the two other items I'll include are my iPod and a paperback book. Now if only I can actually get some reading done on the plane! Feel free to share your "can't live without" carry-on items in the comments.Happy Thanksgiving!