Part 3: Mum's Carry On
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about kids and what I pack for them when we travel (You can read about long haul with babies here and sleeping here.). And rightly so, if the kids aren’t happy - it can bring the whole mood a trip down. But the old saying still rings true: “If Mamma ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.” And therefore, I am dedicating this post to all of the Mamas out there who are wondering about the best stuff to pack in their carry on.
Dealing with the ups and downs of family travel requires us to take care of ourselves, too. This includes taking some time to think about what we need to pack for ourselves. In the past, I had focused so much of my attention on what the kids need to bring, that I’d wait until the last minute to figure out what I need. I’d pack up my bag in a rush, and if something was actually forgotten, it would usually be mine. So, in order to complement the past 2 blog posts on what to pack with kids when flying, today we’ll focus on the CEO of the family … Mum.
After 3 kids and countless long-haul as well as short-haul flights, I finally have this down to a science. This list is most applicable to long haul flights, but some of can apply to any flight no matter now long. And, in addition to what is listed below, I bring along my handbag with my wallet and my phone.
What I pack in my carry on
1. Headphones with adaptor for plane
This is the number one thing I never fly without. Headphones are vital to my sanity on planes! I use headphones to listen to podcasts and music on my phone and I use an adaptor to connect my own headphones to the inflight entertainment system. I picked up a bunch of these adaptors over the years while transiting through Singapore airport - but you can probably get them anywhere… I use my headphone in only one ear so I can still hear if my lot get up to any mischief.
2. Spare change of clothes (t-shirt and underwear)
Flying with kids? DO NOT forget a spare top. I have been grateful many times to have an extra top when someone has spilled their drink on me or vomited on me—and just for ditching that all around grimy travel feeling.
When flying between Zurich and Brisbane we have a layover in Singapore and I always take the kids for a shower and change of underwear. Just that little thing helps us to feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next flight. Singapore airport is great and has a shower available (for a charge) even if you do not have lounge access.
3. Pair of socks
I normally hate wearing socks but I really hate having cold feet on the plane. I like to take a pair I don’t love so much and so I don’t have any problems walking around the cabin with just socks on.
4. Thin knitted jacket
Planes are either too hot or too cold, so in case I get the cold airplane, something to keep me warm is always on my list. If it has a hood, all the better!
5. Passports contained in a zip up pocket
We have 5 passports so I need something to keep them organised. I can’t have 5 passports just swimming around in my carry on they would get lost. So I keep all our passports in a little zip up bag I got when I first purchased the Ergo Baby Carrier. Even though it is meant to attach to the Ergo itself, I have never used it like that. I just throw it into either my carry on or handbag - depending on what I have with me. It’s big enough that if I fold the tag on the end of our tickets I can keep everything together. Any zip bag will work—just choose something you can easily identify deep in the most remote abscesses of your purse.
6. Medication and toiletries
I like to come prepared, but not too over the top - so here is the list of what I carry on with me.
- eye spray (for dry and tired eyes), nose spray (for dry cabins), paracetamol (for unexpected pain), tissues, motion sickness gum (best thing to keep my stomach calm), lip balm (for dry cabin), hair tie (If I loose the one in my hair), deodorant (so I don’t smell!), bandaids (for unexpected injuries).
I keep any liquids and balms in a Clear ziplock bag in the front zip of my carry on for easy access at security and the rest in a little cosmetic bag in my carry on.
7. My phone
Can’t live without it, right? I have it loaded with podcasts and my favourite music, as well as a SAT NAV for our destination, with the address already pre-programmed in and ready to go. I may have one game for the kids on there too, but they know by now that my phone isn’t their toy in most instances.
A kindle is an amazing invention. A thin and light device that holds thousands of books, which is perfect to lighten my carry on. If I have room I will take my kindle. I know you may think, “hey, crazy woman, who has time to read when flying with kids?” but you would be surprised. When the kids settle down to watch a movie, I may get a few minutes to myself and read. I am not a huge movie person myself so I prefer to sit back with a podcast or book.
9. Pen and notebook
Don’t forget it! You will be ready for any form filling you may have to do. I always take a notebook (my bullet journal) wherever I go because ideas hit me at the most random moments.
10. Ziplock bag with destination currency
I take a ziplock bag with our currency of the destination. When I get on board and get settled I usually put the Swiss francs in the zip lock bag and take out the new currency of our destination. Then I am ready to pay whatever we need when we land.
On longer flights I need a charger. I take one to charge any device that is getting a little low. We usually fly Singapore airlines and they have (in most of their aircraft) power points—even in economy. Check with your specific airline before you fly.
12. Empty water bottle
Its easy to get dehydrated when flying so drinking lots of water is a must. I take an empty water bottle and fill it up after security and often through out the flight so I don’t have always ring the bell and ask for more water. If its in front of me I am more likely to drink more.
Yes I am one of those people who will pack their pillow! And no, not a travel pillow, but one of the pillows I actually sleep with at night. It is a smaller size (mine is from IKEA) and it can be squashed pretty flat.
I really hope that my list will save you a bit of time when preparing for your holiday. Have I missed anything? What are the things that you usually pack in your carry on?