This week, a lot of us will be bundling kids into cars, planes or trains and taking them to whichever lucky relatives have the pleasure this Christmas – or maybe even running away from it all to a hotel. To help avoid any ‘are we there yet?’-inspired infanticide, we asked Kayt Sukel, writer, mother, Smith hotel reviewer and wünderblogger over at Travel Savvy Mom, to give us a list of her must-have travel gear for child-toting globetrotters…
For the most part, I’m not a mom who is all that down with travel ‘accessories.’ In my experience, the only required elements for successful travel with kids are an extra pack of wet wipes (for all of the stuff that will be unceremoniously smeared on Mom’s pants) and a slightly twisted sense of humor. But now that Chet has ventured to nearly 30 countries, I must admit there are a handful of items we could not do without:
You know how every pushchair manufacturer says their product is super-easy to both open and fold? I suppose they are telling the truth if you have both hands free, no bags and, well, no actual child present – which, frankly, defeats the purpose of having a pram when travelling at all. But not the Volo. This lightweight stroller is perfect for trains, planes and automobiles. It really can be closed up with only a toe and a single hand free – I have managed to successfully do so holding my son, his backpack, my purse, a rolling suitcase on crowded train stairs. It also has a great carrying strap so you can just throw it over one shoulder and go when it’s folded. And it’s still standing strong after being thrown about by baggage handlers on more than 50 flights. I don’t think there is a more ringing endorsement than that.
Yes, I have succumbed to iPhone fever. And you know what? I’m okay with that. This device is a travel life-saver for many reasons. I could talk about its GPS, translation applications and instant access to the internet. But more important to my son are its iPod capabilities. My iPhone‘s huge memory means that Chet can have half a dozen movies at his disposal when we’re on the road. But he also enjoys a variety of educational game applications, children’s books and the built-in camera. It can keep him happy literally for hours.
I realise that, with the iPhone, this seems redundant. But there are times when an adult needs her phone for more important uses like confirming a hotel reservation or beating the top score on Tetris. And we’ve found, on flights especially, that an iPhone may be a no-no but a portable DVD player is allowed. We have a simple Sony model. It’s been dropped, kicked and slammed more times than I care to remember. But it is still working.
There comes a day when your child will start asking to carry his own stuff. And on that day, you will cheer! If you are like me, broken-hearted at a really nice purse taken over by kid-related junk, you may even tear up a bit. We started carrying a small backpack when Chet was only a toddler. He would put a few toys inside and I’d throw in a diaper and juicebox for our excursions. It was the perfect size for an afternoon outing. You can find these everywhere – many of them themed with your child’s favourite television or movie character.
5. The Victorinox Swiss Army Tourbach carry-on
When you travel with kids, you travel with a lot of stuff. A former road warrior, I appreciate a piece of carry-on luggage that really can be carried on – especially with today’s rules and regulations. For shorter trips, I appreciate when I don’t have to check a single thing. And my Tourbach means I can easily fit our bag in the overhead bin with no fuss and pull it behind me as I push a stroller in front of me. Plus, it’s kind of pretty. Win-win all around.