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Erica Edwards
For the last 12 years, I've been getting lost and finding myself all around this big blue dot. Follow me. Get lost. getupgetoutgetlost.com
10 Travel Items We Can't (Or Really We Don't Want To) Live Without - Three Kids and A CarI’d like to pretend we have this packing thing down. And we do. And then something happens, like a season changes or one of the little people gets a bit older and it’s like starting over again. Mostly. I mean, yes, there’s the clothes. Always the clothes. And the diapers. And the medicines. And all the other little travel items. But what about all that those other little travel items? Over the past seven years of traveling as a family, I’ve figured out that less is more. I always aim to bring just enough. Still, there are a few things that have stood out to us as travel items that always come with us. These are the things we could totally do without, but we don’t really want to. Things that, frankly, make our lives a bit better. So what makes the “just enough” cut? And why? Check out our list of our top ten travel items below. Travel Items for the Grown Ups Packing Cubes: Packing cubes make all the difference for this Momma. I am the sole packer of the family, which can get a bit daunting, but these little cubes help the whole process be more organized. I use them in one of two ways. If we have one primary destination, I usually pack each person in their own cube so that when we arrive, each person can grab their own cube of clothes and put them in whichever drawer they claim. On the other hand, if we are on a roadtrip where we will be staying for only a night or two at each destination, I tend to pack each cube for a specific stop or location so that we only need to bring the designated cube into the room for the night rather than all of the bags. Beyond the organization, cubes help compress the clothes and we can fit more into each suitcase. Scrubba: On some trips, it’s just not possible to do laundry, and since my goal in packing is to pack just enough, there are, on occasion, some trips where we need one more shirt or one more pair of pants. The Scrubba allows us to clean, thoroughly, a few articles of clothing in just a bathroom sink. It’s also great for those times when one of us (usually the Three Kids Dad) spills food on himself and it needs to be cleaned off before a washing machine can be found. Nomatic Bag: I’m a bag person. I’ve convinced myself that once I find the perfect bag, all of my hassles will be gone and life will be full of rainbows and unicorns. The Nomatic bag is the closest I have come to this. As a Momma of these three wild little ones, I’m often given the task of being in charge of all of the baby’s accoutrements (when he was a super tiny little thing), and this bag was perfect. It works as a backpack (or duffle bag) and has a million compartments so it’s easy to reach inside and grab diapers, wipes, snacks, clothes–really anything. Now that the littles are in charge of most of their own things, I still use it for short weekend trips or as my carryon. (And I still get a little giddy when I get to take it out of my closet and put it to use…nerdy maybe, but what can I say–a good bag is life-changing). Boken Bag: (Have I mentioned how much I love a good bag?) At one point, I had each of my littles carry their own toddler-sized back pack when we’d head out for the day to explore. But by the time I had three little people, I realized I just didn’t want to lug around three tiny backpacks (because let’s face it, in the end I had to carry them all anyway), but I couldn’t find a bag that wasn’t giant that would still do the job I needed it to do. (You know, carry four water bottles, snacks, lovies, extra clothes, diapers, planners, iPads, a random match box car and tiny dinosaur.) Enter the Boken Bag. This bag is made of a super lightweight, washable material (yet it is still somehow strong and durable). It is deceptively large, sort of like Mary Poppin’s bag, and it can be worn as a backpack, messenger bag, or shoulder bag. And most importantly, while it calls itself a diaper bag, it doesn’t look like one. I’m not ashamed to say I use it all the time, even when I have no little people circling my feet. (I’m pretty sure this bag is sold out currently, but keep checking for it. It won’t disappoint.) USB Universal Travel Adaptor: We travel with so many gadgets, most of which we have to charge every night. While we generally travel with our own plugs, things can get a little dicey when we travel internationally and don’t have enough converters to actually plug everything in. This is where the USB Adaptor comes into play. All of the sudden, with just a single adaptor, we were able to plug in phones, watches, iPads, computers. It was like the hub of all our electronic operations and there was no fighting over whose electronics took priority. Probably saved us from from a few travel-weary arguments, and you can’t beat that. Travel Items for the Littles This or That: This game takes very little effort to play. It’s completely not complicated and it’s not based on any notion of competition, which works well for this travel tribe because a certain mom and dad don’t like to hear the constant fighting that comes from competition. Especially when we are trapped inside a car. In this game, a game chip is picked by a player who must chose between two items, and the rest of the players try to figure out which the original player picked. It’s fostered a few discoveries about each other and a few discussions as well. The other positives it has are that it doesn’t take up much space, it still works if a piece goes missing, and it can be played anywhere. Bright Beats Activity Center: While our littles have finally grown out of this toy, it will always hold a dear place for us. This activity center brought hours of entertainment to our littles when they were tiny. It worked particularly well for when the littles were still backward facing as it’s big enough to hold onto and doesn’t tend to fall off of a lap. The one main warning I’d give about the activity center is that when it lights up at night as you’re driving, you will, for one hot minute, think you’re being pulled over. Window Gel Clings: Gel clings are a favorite for this tribe when on a plane. We just open the blind over the window, open the package, and let them have at it. And, if we’re going away for a holiday, I tend to get holiday clings that the littles then decorate the windows and mirrors with in our accommodations. And the super bonus? They’re crazy cheap. Art Trays: I’ve written about my love of art trays before, but let me take the opportunity to bring it up again. We use art trays when we go on car trips. The high lip of the trays help contain whatever it is that the little people are working with, whether it’s crayons or cars, stickers or snacks. The littles each have one that they easily fit on their laps. Fewer things spilled, fewer things lost, fewer tears. It’s a win for us all. Inflatable Foot Rest: We’ve found that having inflatable foot rests for the little people makes flying a bit easier. They seem to be able to get comfier and have more space to relax. While we’ve never had any issues using them on an airline, there are a few airlines that won’t allow them to be used, so it’s important to check ahead because they do take up a considerable amount of carryon space, which would be a shame to lose if you weren’t able to put them to use on the plane. If there’s anything we’ve learned traveling with our little people it’s that what may work one day may not work another. On more than one occasion, we’ve thought we found the holy grail of travel items, only to have that item become useless to us six months later. Fortunately, every once in awhile something falls into our lap and it seems to outlast the whims of little people and life. We find some item that consistently brings us some bit of joy, even if it’s the simple joy of knowing that Momma has finally found the most perfect bag. Do you have any “must have” travel items that have helped you along the way? We’ll take all the help we can get, so if you have a recommendation, please drop it below so we can check it out! Happy Travels! Related