A travel tote loaded up with toys and activities from Travelkiddy. www.travelkiddy.com

by M. Butcher

When travelling with kids, we always end up carry extra things, and somehow we always forget to bring something that we needed or would have found useful if we had only remembered. I can’t count the number of times I forgot that extra change of clothes or wanted the pad of paper and a pencil that I had let on my desk! I generally use a backpack for all the stuff but sometimes I use a small tote bag and everything fits, whatever it ends up in, make sure you can lift it yourself and carry it for long periods of time if need be.

Here is my list of things that are essential when going out with kids, whether it is to the mall, out for coffee/dinner, on a road trip or on a plane. It can be modified to suit any situation and saves a lot of aggravation.

  1. Always carry wipes even if you don’t have a baby because all kids will always touching things you’ve told them not to touch.
  2. Mini first aid kit with things for minor scrapes, it may not happen every time but it will happen. Add a sunscreen stick if you are going to be outside picnicking or playing any sports.
  3. A fold up shopping bag, always good for when the kids decide to peel off their jackets and if you do any shopping.
  4. A mini pocket knife with scissors and a pair of tweezers, they really come in handy. Although not if you are on an airplane, it must go in checked baggage, but keep handy when taking day trips.
  5. A flashlight, small and powerful is good. Get one that can go on a key ring.
  6. A notebook and pencil for yourself to make lists and mark reminders, good in a pinch if you have nothing else to give you kid to do. Oh, and pencil sharpener with its own lid.
  7. Stickers!!  Get little packages for each kid, for sitting at the table in a restaurant or coffee shop, gives them something to do while you all are waiting for food.
  8. Non-toxic crayons, the ones that come in packages of 8. Kids will always stick them in their mouth or nose, no matter how many times you have told them to not to.
  9. A small clipboard, with a small notepad, it provides a hard surface if you aren’t at a table. Good when in the car for long periods of time.
  10. Small post-it notes, the ones shaped like hearts and telephones and stars are good. Kids love tracing then and sticking them and peeling all them off all at once.
  11. Older kids can play car/airplane bingo, it keeps them busy and not asking are we there yet?
  12. iPod! Load it up with things to listen to, eBooks, stories and games, older kids will play/listen quietly, smaller kids like the sounds and colours but will pull the earphones out a lot.
  13. A couple of packages of chewing gum, good as a reward and can stop the chatty chatter if needed.

These things are easily put together and don’t take up too much space and it saves you a lot of frustration. If you have more than one kid then pack multiples of games, crayons and colouring books, as each child will want their own and fighting may ensue if there is only one. My little first aid kit goes almost everywhere with me and most of the time I use it for myself more than I do for the kids.

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