The long-haul carry-on bag

kid's back pack for travel

packed up and ready to roll

After several flights with E, I’ve developed a few rules for our carry-on bags to help make our journeys more enjoyable. While every flight is different, and needs change as E grows, we have a few tried-and-true items we never leave home without. Will they eliminate the possibility of melt-downs? No. Will they end all boredom and wiggling? No. But hopefully they will give us at least a bit of peace and quiet and keep us from being that family on the plane.

E’s backpack

Fjallraven mini back pack

Kid’s backpack, perfect for long trips and short hops.

E loves to carry his own back pack and pick out the things that will go inside. I got him this yellow Fjallraven for a few reasons:

  1. It is mini-sized, so it won’t make him top-heavy.
  2. The top handles make it easy for me to grab if I need to keep him out of harm’s way.
  3. The bright color makes him easy to spot and and the backpack hard to accidentally leave behind.
  4. The straps adjust all the way to grown-up length, so if he decides to ditch it, I can put it on and keep my hands free.

It doesn’t hold a lot, which I think is a good thing. He can find what he’s looking for and there aren’t’ so many items that I can’t keep track of them when he invariably pulls them all out and dumps then on the floor.

In his back pack, we tend to stash the following:

  • Crayons and Post-it notes in an old Altoids tin (thanks Pinterest!)
  • A stuffed animal
  • A Melissa and Doug Water Wow tablet
  • Snacks
  • A few books
  • A  rubber dinosaur
  • Fuzzy pipe cleaners
  • Tape (Tape is awesome. Make tape balls, stick it on your face to make funny faces, re-seal snacks, label stuff…)

I carry my trusty L.L. Bean Quad backpack which has traveled with us on several trips and holds an amazing amount of gear and flotsam.

L.L. Bean Quad back pack

L.L. Bean Quad back pack

In my back pack:

  • Toddler water bottle
  • E’s blanket
  • Overnight essentials dopp kit (toothpaste and tooth brush, facial wipes, contact lenses and glasses, etc.)
  • Diaper change pack
  • Set of clothes for E
  • Set of clothes for me (Do not discount this one. If your child gets motion sickness, the person they throw up on will not be themselves. Trust me.)
  • iPad and charging cord!
  • Travel documents and wallet
  • Headphones for both of us (one noise-cancelling set, one ear-bud set)
  • Snacks
  • A few small, wrapped toys to use in a emergency

Will we forget something? Of course! But we are not traveling to a remote or desolate destination. We’re traveling to a major international airport. As long as we have enough diapers to get us through any delayed flights and tarmac-sitting, I think we will be OK.

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Bag lady be gone

 

54_pinedriverwall

photo from ChesterWallace.com

I hate that loaded-down sherpa feeling that most women I know succumb to each morning: handbag, bag for shoes, workout bag, bag for kid’s stuff, maybe a big with lunch…it’s too much! As my Pinterest board proves, I’ve spend the better part of the last few months searching for one do-almost-everything bag. I thought my requests were simple. It needed to be big enough to hold most of a day’s worth of stuff. It needed outside pockets for easy access to wallet, phone, keycard and keys. It needed both handles and cross-body strap. It needed a non-zippered main compartment. This last one proved to be the trickiest. I know there are safety concerns, but convenience trumped it. When I’m holding a kid in one arm and trying to buy or find something with the other, I need to be able to open the bag with one hand.

Then today, I think I found it.

CHESTERWALLACE_DRIVER_OLIVE9_1024x1024

photo from LodgeGoods.com

The Driver bag from Chester Wallace. Nothing fancy, and certainly not girly, but it will get the job done. Handmade in Oregon, it’s big, deep, sturdy and useful so I can have one bag for everything all day and still have an arm free for holding little hands or dog leashes or what-have-you.