Traveling with kids

the organized way

Traveling with kids as a single parent is not for the faint-hearted. However, having traveled back and forth the globe a few times; alone, with babies and later with a baby and toddler in tow, I know I can do it. 

That is, until our most recent trip just a short domestic flight to another state. Within the first few minutes of the trip (- as we are queuing up for our bag drop) I had this strong voice inside telling me; “this is not working”, as I am carrying 5 bags as well as keeping an eye on two moving and talking kids. The problem wasn’t so much the organization of the bags, these were packed in a way so I could easily find what I was looking for. The problem was that my off springs don’t travel like luggage themselves anymore. It turns out, carrying a sleeping baby in a bag, is easier than keeping an eye on a moving young child. Who is off to explore the airport and asks you thousands of questions about what things are and why things are happening. In order, to make sense of their surroundings.

Traveling with kids – shifting the responsibility back on them

It struck me in the que, that my current way of traveling with kids, had to change and fast. My children weren’t babies anymore, they had a say in what they took with them so I realized they required a sense of ownership and responsibility, meaning they now needed to look after their own gear. After the que both children were handed their respective bags for the flight never to be carried by me anymore. I also lost two bags via the bag drop off so from five bags I had gone down to one (my own luggage for on board the flight).

Is there a best way in regards to traveling with kids?

I doubt it, however, this event did get me thinking, if there was an easier way people might use when traveling with kids. Knowing that as soon as we were off the plane, I still had a variety of different bags and moving objects (or people). After some contemplation and research, we ended up buying three bags on wheels with as many pockets as we could find. It would suit both check-in as well as hand luggage and could be transported by the children themselves. 

When traveling with kids - give them their own travel bag

We decide to find places for their things and named the pockets of the bag (in organizing speak, we gave their things “homes” inside their travel bag). They each have a pocket for; undies and socks, swimmers, toiletries, travel diary / art work, important paperwork and games. In the big compartment they have sections, this means that their shoes go on the bottom left, followed by a row of pants and shirts and on the right they place their pajamas. To top the bag off, they can place their collection of teddy bears inside. The majority of this system is the same between my bag and the kids, making it super easy to pack and unpack. It also means we all have exactly what we need for the trip and it is easy to find things or tidy things when we are traveling. 

If there are other communal items we need for a trip I simply add a bag which is meant for everyone and/or has a specific purpose during the trip (e.g. carrying; gifts, thick jackets, additional paperwork or larger items that we still wanted to take with us).

Traveling with kids – making them (somewhat) independent travellers

The transformation was amazing, the kids turned into responsible, organized and capable travelers in a few hours of this set up and my life as well as our travels were a lot easier from that point onward. 

This article was originally published in the Illawarra Mercury on 9 April 15 (Art. 101) and has been adjusted for the website.

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