09 December 2012

99 Items to Pack When Travelling With Twin Toddlers

Okay that header is a bit of a stretch. Even though it felt like I packed 99 things plus the kitchen sink for my trip alone with the twins, it was probably a lot less. I spent weeks plotting and planning what items needed to be on my carryon for the 4+ hour flight and here's what I came up with
  1. A good bag with plenty of compartments that is either a backpack or has a very long strap - the plan is that it allows you to be "handsfree". My Eddie Bauer diaper bag meets this criteria beautifully without being too bulky.
  2. Feeding Necessities
    • Milk alternative that does not need to be refrigerated. I always travel with Pediasure but I've seen other milk substitutes in the grocery stores. TIP: Feed the kids the new milk a few days before travelling to confirm that they have no adverse reaction to it
    • Sippy cups (First Years Take and Toss is my favorite). TIP: If the kids are still using a bottle nipple, the standard ones will fit the Pediasure bottles. When the girls were younger, I bought the cheapo bottles from Walmart and carried all the nipples and rings in a plastic bag to fit over the Pediasure bottles
    • A variety of snacks - a different one for each hour. Start the trip with the least favorite and keep the favorites for later. I had to remove the snacks from their original packaging to take up less space. I've never had a positive experience with airport food so I tend to avoid it TIP: Count the full door-to-door travel time when planning the feeding and snacks. The "hungry man angry man" rules apply to little girls too
  3. Cleaning Necessities
    • All the necessary wipes: diaper wipes, boogie wipes, pacifier wipes, alcohol wipes bla bla bla
    • Double the number of diapers you would normally use if you were on land (because babies are full of surprises sometimes)
    • Change of clothes (I actually skipped this and it worked out fine going, not so fine coming back)
    • Portable or disposable changing pad. The disposables take up less space
  4. Entertainment and Comfort Necessities
    • Pacifier
    • Backup pacifier - because pacifiers like to get lost between airplane seats
    • Pacifier clip (Check that the clip is attached to string. I didn't. And didn't discover that factoid until we were mid-air)
    • Toddler ear phones: These are earphones that protect kids' hearing by not going above a certain volume level regardless of input. I ended up not using these but they were in my bag in case I needed them for watching movies or playing games on the phone. TIP: They're not the easiest to find but are stocked by Amazon US site and Chapters Indigo in Canada.
    • Favorite stuffed toy
    • Activity gear that the kids will play with independently - crayons and paper fit into this category. TIP: Test the activities at home to ensure the kids enjoy them and stay engrossed for long enough
    • 2 phones loaded with the same movies and apps that kids already know and love. This should be brought out only as a last resort because no 2 year old is going to relinquish a phone in the middle of an elmo song just because the pilot wants to land the plane. This option takes up less space and is lighter weight than DVDs and books. Didn't have to use this either; both girls were engrossed with the in-flight TV
  5. Health necessities
    • First aid essentials
    • Medicine spoons in ziplock bag
    • Medications that MAY be required. For me, that list was fever reducers, antacid and allergy medicine
  6. Mummy necessities
    • A handbag small enough to fit into the diaper bag but large enough to hold travel documents and money. 
    • Travel documents - including notarized letter from absent parent saying that the trip is approved
    • Lip balm and other beauty products that make you feel fly while you fly (you can tell the post is getting too long when I start getting cheesy)
    • Camera because what mom travels without a camera these days?!
That's not 99 items, but its a lot of stuff.
Was I over-prepared? Absolutely!
Did I use up to half of what I packed? Certainly not!
Did that make me over-confident on the return trip? Of course it did!
And how did that work out?

Well, I ran out of diapers, clean clothes and the girls' must-have breakfast bar. My heart was in my mouth the entire trip for fear of a meltdown with no solution in sight. Being over-prepared is way better. Trust me on that one.

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