As our family prepares for the next chapter of our lives in New York City, the crunch time for William's preschool search is well underway. We decided after a couple weeks of our family struggling with the winter colds/flu to schedule tours in NYC to escape. Since we live 4 hours away, it makes since for us to do the drive. I've put together a couple packing tips/absolute musts for our family when we travel.
1. The bag: to pack items in are very important. We quickly learned early on in our travels how essential it was for William's items to be separate from ours. I spent so much time searching for items in one suitcase. By the time i'd find something everything would be a disaster. It was just much more easier to have his items organized separately. Not to mention he really enjoys the fact he has a suitcase just like Mommy & Daddy. We found this lovely suitcase from Pottery Barn Kids . William lucked out and got it for Christmas this year from his Godmother. It's not particularly as small as it looks in the photos online but for us that's why we like it. William still has the ability to push it himself but we're able to pack all the items we need to within it. The suitcase has a variety of compartment to stash items. I like to pack his clothes and shoes in the large area, and then books/toys in one of the small compartments. The designs offered for bag are also very cute. William loved the superhero design.
2. The diaper bag: I'm sure this is an obvious but the diaper bag is always a necessity. When we first started traveling I would literally pack 2 diaper bags for a trip. One that was durable and then the other that was attractive looking that I could wear when attending a dinner or a place we needed to look dressy. This got extremely annoying. I now like to categorize my diaper bags as fall/winter and then spring/summer. For winter I absolutely love my Kate Spade diaper bag. It's very cute to the point that you could use it as a normal bag (which I actually do at times), yet is beyond functional. I like the fact it has a lot of different compartments that I can store snacks, diapers, wipes, etc.. It also has the hooks to sling across our stroller. Which in the city is so nice to be able to do. Less to carry. In the Summer/Spring I constantly use my Jujube Commodore bag. I can't rave enough about this bag/backpack. Did you just notice I said it's a backpack too!! It functions as both. It comes with both straps. If worn as a backpack the straps are padded to provide support. It is such a cute design and again comes with great compartments.
What goes in the bags?
Now that we have the bags the question is what do I put in them? Well I've broke down a little list of items that I usual use for my checklist for our travels in the car.
- Extra sets of clothes- to some this is an obvious but it never seems to fail that we have a spill, blow out, or accident. I usually pack extra in the suitcase but I always have one extra set of clothes in the diaper bag. In our car we have a little box that fits beside the car seat I always store an extra outfit there just for emergencies on a daily basis.
- Diapers- for going to NYC for only two days I pack 1 pack of the honest diaper packs. They're easy to store in the suitcase and pack a couple at a time in the diaper bag.
- Snacks- my son is a picky eater. For drives I usually make muffins the night before to place the bag in the car. I like to pack up snacks that I don't need to worry about going bad. It's very easy in the city to buy fruit to go.
- Winter gear- I always make sure I pack a couple hats & gloves in the suitcase. It gets quite windy in NYC during the winter and have a couple extra is great because you don't have to worry about shopping for them last minute in the city.
- Pjs & the blanket- William must have his blanket to sleep with. It's his security for new places. I've also noticed he enjoys the familiarity of his pjs.
- Books & a couple toys- I usually don't pack a lot of toys but for the car my go to is an activity pack. Which is usually a coloring book with stickers and crayons. My son loves cars so I usually pack 2 small cars as well. It usually occupies him in the hotel room. I like to pack one interactive toy. This time it was his fisher price flashlight. It talks and let's him change the light colors. For the subway small books always seem to do the trick. They usually fit perfectly in the diaper bag compartment.
- Kids kindle fire- we charge up the fire and pack it in our suitcase. For long dinners or chats with friends it's a great tool to let William watch yet be interactive. The fire has so many apps for his age on it. Currently the favorite is an app that is a pet vet. William has to click on each of the animals and figure out its problems. I watched him crack a snake egg open and close then feed the snack flies.
- A dvd and children's cd for the car- our car has a DVD player in it so it opens the option of letting William watch a show during a long ride. I like to start out with playing his favorite CD and then when the long ride sets in put on one of his DVDs for him to relax to.
- Emergency bag- I like to bring a ziplock bag that has diaper rash cream, Tylenol, and thermometer. After a couple times that we had to buy one of these items in a rush on one of our trips I started to just pack a little emergency bag. This saves money and time.
Now that our bags are packed we are off for 3 tour/interviews in NYC. Cheers to an early morning & road trip into the city!