Travel Tips :: Ten Things to Purchase Before Your Next Flight


Ben has often said  'a large part of enjoying any hobby is having the right equipment.' I would venture to say that the same goes for travel. We've gotten to fly in many, many a plane and visit our fair share of airports. While we aren't pros at this, we certainly have learned a thing or two. One thing we've learned is this: what you bring to the airport can make a big difference in the experience you have when traveling.

Here are a few things we've purchased that have made our airport commute, in-flight travel and all around holiday more enjoyable.

1. Non-Leaking Water Bottle. I know this might seem pretty silly, but with kids, having something to drink is essential.When you find that the water bottle you brought has leaked EVERYWHERE due to cabin pressure changes, it can be a real damper on your experience. We recently replaced our Camelbak with the brand Contigo (found at target) due to getting my entire diaper bag soaked every time we went up in elevation. So, go out and buy yourself a nice water bottle (but don't discount the cheaper ones.) Bonus if it has a lock!
TRAVEL TIP: pressure will build up in a water bottle if it doesn't leak-so be sure to loosen the cap-especially with straw-type bottles before drinking. We've sprayed ourselves and fellow passengers when forgetting to do this. "Oh, hi. Yeah sorry about that." 
2. Luggage Scale. I'm not going to go so far as to say this little device saved our marriage-but it certainly saved our hearts in the packing insanity. Ben used to just lift our luggage into the air and guess if it was too heavy or not. While some may have pitch perfection, my husband apparently has weight estimating prowess. While he really is pretty spot on-more than once he's guessed the exact poundage-this takes out the guess work out of it. Plus having the scale leaves time (and freedom) to pack a few more things you might need. It's under 10 bucks as well. Well worth the price to put your mind at ease. It's especially useful when coming back with those souvenirs.

3.Suitcase Organizers-We bought these on a whim before we moved overseas. I'm thrilled that we did. It's so much easier mid-trip to just 'grab Eowyn's bag" than dig around an entire suitcase for a pair of socks. We only have a set of three, but it has worked totally fine for us. Plus it's handy when we have someone else watch our kids during the vacation. This past trip we were able to hand Eowyn's little bag over to grandpa and grandma and she had practically everything she needed.

4. Kid's Backpack (SKIPHOP)-We often will buy toys (one per hour of a flight) and wrap them in tissue paper and put them in our kid's backpack. We also include snacks and a charged old phone. Having cute characters are obviously not required, but it certainly helps with the kidlets wanting to wear their backpacks. Elias has Eowyn's old Skiphop giraffe backpack, and for her birthday last year she got a butterfly backpack that's larger. Having their own backpack is useful for knowing where their toys are and it helps for those random bits of downtime in the hotel.
TRAVEL TIP: We alternate snack, phone, toy. for every 30min-1hr on the plane. We also always include play-dough, tape/band-aids, chap stick, crayons/coloring stuff and stickers. When we upgraded our phones last year after one of them broke, we took the one that still did work and turned it into a app-filled tablet for Eowyn. We save it for the plane because we don't want her thinking she's got her own phone at four, but it's been grate. Also, it allows us to keep our battery life on our phones. 

5. ZIPLOC Bags- Perfect for obvious things like travel liquids, these also are fantastic to organize other snacks, the kids extra change of clothes,  Mints etc. I also always bring a few extra for dirty wet clothes and have almost every flight used one.
TRAVEL TIP: Bring a burp-cloth like rag for quick clean up with spills as well! 
6. Diva Cup: This is exclusively for the lady audience. A friend many many years ago introduced me to this contraption. She was an avid camper and when her monthly came along, she didn't have a place to put used feminine products. This totally eliminates the need for that. I was wary for the better end of a year, and then when I was cloth diapering Eowyn, it felt silly to not try it. Not only is it super easy to use, it saves a chunk of change every month. You can buy special soap to clean it with and it is totally comfortable. I've been a convert for well over 3 years now and I'll never go back. Plus there's something to say for not putting bleached cotton material up into the tender bits....The diva cup is the brand I started with, but now I have a Finnish brand. There are two sizes to accommodate changes with childbirth, so pay attention to that when ordering.  It has been wildly handy, in and outside of holiday.

7. Travel Organizer: We put our passports, residence permits, and all of our print offs (unless we have enough printouts to use an actual binder) in one central place. I have a back pocket that goes flush against my back on my diaper bag where we keep our organizer.  We've used this for over two years now and will never travel differently. When you're juggling four passports and all those papers, this is a handy way to not lose anything. The kind we have isn't sold in the states, but many will do wonderfully-I would just recommend it zip closed.

8. Noise Canceling Headphones: While Ben rarely gets to actually use these due to the kids always needing something in-flight, they are wildly helpful for plane rides. Someday when we go by ourselves somewhere I'm totally buying myself a pair. Not only are they great for keeping noises out, the quality of the sound is impressive. There will always be a crying baby or a chatty side passenger.These are a sure rescue anytime you just want some time alone.

9.  Quality Kids Apps: Oh how I have researched good kid's apps. Our favorite companies for kids apps (some are free, some cost) are TOCA BOCA, AVOKIDDO, & Endless Alphabet/Numbers/Spanish (free.) Check the age ranges to give you an idea which ones to try. I know there are a ton more for iphone users-but for  my android loving followers-check these pages out!(They're also available-and have even more options-for iphone.)

10. Zarbee's SLEEP (Kid's Melatonin:) A fellow mom kindly suggested this before we moved to Finland and I've loved her forever for it. I know the whole "give your kids medicine for sleep" is controversial. I'm not eager to get into that. What I do know is that my children are wildly overstimulated when we ride on planes. This is a great solution for kids that are three or older. We've used it sooner after talking with our doctor-but I would highly recommend you talk to yours and check out how it affects your child before giving it to them  on a plane. This has been wonderful for Eowyn and has helped when getting through jet lag. It doesn't act as a sleep aid-they still wake up at noises and such, but it does help with the initial falling asleep. Although we use it pretty sparingly, we're grateful for it. You can buy it at target or on amazon.

There you have it! There are 10 purchases we're convinced making traveling easier.

What are a few of your favorites? Share in the comments below!

* This is not a sponsored post. This is just me sharing the wisdom we've learned from the past several years of travel. With the Kid's Melatonin, be sure to check with your doctor, as I am a mom-not a medical professional.

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