Thursday, August 27, 2009

Preparation and Improvisation

As we pack for our trip to Spain in two days, I'm thinking about ways to entertain our kid during all flights and connections. We didn't book a direct flight, and to make things worse our original one-hour layover has been changed to a five-hour challenge. And that is before the long international leg. Big mistake! We were so excited booking our flights and forgot how uncertain airline schedules are until the actual take off!

Our kid is almost 2 years old, so we packed several books featuring a variety of entertainment: "flip a flap", puzzles, noises (not loud ones!), buttons, textures, etc.
A friend of mine gave me this great idea today, wrapping each book with a couple of layers of cheap paper. That will bring more excitement, and our son will be able to play with wrapping paper and bows as well!

Feedings, unwrapping, books, Cheerios, long stroller rides and loads of patience should make it! Preparation and improvisation always go a long way...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Enough Packing for a Trip

Both my husband and I have traveled the world, for business and leisure. Having a baby required some adjustments into our schedules, but not enough to stop us from enjoying new international experiences! Our son Lukas went to Australia with us when he was 8 months old, and then to Brazil at 11 months. We have also taken him to several domestic trips. Soon we are heading to Europe, and Brazil again.

The trips definitely required some serious preparation, and a lot more equipment! Good times when we used to travel with carry on luggage only. No more….well, it is really not that difficult. Gotta be organized!

Having an umbrella stroller has been very helpful to navigate through airports and destinations. Also, bringing some comfort food items, such as cereal or Cheerios, can be a huge plus while the little one is getting acquainted with different food. Lukas eats a lot of fruits and vegetables, which generally can be found anywhere. The food preparation is really the main difference.

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Another item that has been very valuable is a diaper changing mat. I bought a large piece of fabric that is water proof on one side, and cushioned on the other. It has allowed us to change his diapers pretty much anywhere (see picture at a park in Sydney). Many countries lack the convenience of public restrooms’ changing tables. Sometimes the stalls are so small that you can barely fit yourself in there.

Through our trips I have compiled a helpful check list of items to pack for carry on and checked luggage. Some of my world traveler friends help me add to this list with their personal experiences too. You can find the check list posted on the section “Useful Links” in this website.

I think that exposing your kids to other cultures is one of the best experiences you can provide. Even though they might not remember the actual trip in the future, some key learnings will stay with them forever.

Relax, be flexible, and enjoy the trip!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pack and Travel

When my son completes sixteen months his passport will be stamped in three continents, having visited Europe, Australia and South America. Not bad for an American toddler!

One very useful gear that we have carried all over the world is the Travel Crib. It has been not only useful at home, in the US, but also in hotels and friends' homes. Everywhere we spend the night! It is a portable bassinet and crib.
Lukas is used to its mattress, and the sheets smell familiar to him, helping with the adjustment to the foreign environment.

At home, we leave it in the family room. It served as a bassinet in early stages, and as a contained space when we need a break to go to the bathroom!

There are several brands available in the market; Graco's Pack&Play is what we have at home. Baby Bjorn also manufactures a very good but pricey version. It claims to be the most portable of all brands. In my experience, both products are very light and easy to carry around.

One of our Top 5 travel products!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Travel Packing: Check List for Babies and Toddlers

Bringing a baby or a toddler to a domestic or international trip is fun but requires some serious preparation, and additional equipment. Having an umbrella stroller is very helpful to navigate through airports, and at destinations. Also, bringing some comfort food items, such as cereal or Cheerios, can be a huge plus while the little one gets acquainted with different food. Depending on where you are staying, bringing a portable crib, such as the Pack & Play can be very useful, and is usually light enough to carry around.

Another very valuable item is a large diaper changing mat. You can buy a piece of fabric that is water proof on one side, and cushioned on the other. That allows you to change diapers anywhere. Many countries lack the convenience of public restrooms' changing tables. Now for the small items:

Minimum carry on luggage: diaper bag with diaper, rash cream, wipes, extra pants, t-shirts (for mom and dad too, in case of an accident) and sweater, blanket, socks, pacifier, toys and books, bib, spoon, bowl, enough food for the flight or road trip hours, sippy cup and water for taking off and landing (the cabin pressure can be painful for those little ears).

Minimum checked luggage: baby monitor, washcloth, body wash, thermometer, Mylicol, sunscreen, cotton balls and swabs, nail clipper, diaper, rash cream, brush (tooth and hair), changing mat, nasal aspirator, Tylenol, nasal saline solution, bottles, sippy cups, spoon, bowl, bibs, cereal, enough food such as cheerios, organic jarred food for a couple of days, pacifier, toys and books, bug repellent, and enough clothing.

Checkout my posting for additional travel packing tips.