LAUREN MONET

HOW I TRAVEL WITH A TODDLER

Here is a shortened list if you are impatient, scroll down for in depth explanations and reasoning because honestly I talk too much, but I'm aware some people like a quick answer so:

1. TRAVEL AS LIGHT AS POSSIBLE

I only bring carry on's, and I always try to bring as few as possible, 1-2 for our family of 3, plus one large backpack for me and one mini for Camila.

2. HAVE QUICK ACCESS TO IMPORTANT ITEMS

I purchased one of those silly looking family passport holders that have enough space for your cards, change, boarding passes (ALWAYS PRINT AHEAD OF TIME), passports, A PEN (so important), and SO MANY POCKETS! Supposedly its RFID protected, but I mean I haven't researched that portion so I ain't claiming it yet.

3. DON'T OVERLOOK THE SMALL STUFF

Even though I travel light I always bring snacks, pain reliever, hand wipes, band aids, and a portable charger.

4. HAVE A FUN BAG

Coloring/activity books, iPad, headphones, and whatever makes her feel a connection to home - TEDDY

1. TRAVEL AS LIGHT AS POSSIBLE

Checking luggage wastes time and everyone who has a child knows how valuable time is, especially when your kids are already at their wits end, 15 more minutes of waiting at a seemingly never-ending carousel is just what will set them off. From experience, if you do not board the plane early enough, the aircraft can run out of space for carry on luggage and they will make you check your standard sized carry on luggage UNLESS there is enough space under the seat (about 17 x 11 x 20) for it. In my opinion, small suitcases are the best!

2. HAVE QUICK ACCESS TO IMPORTANT ITEMS

I LOVE this passport holder, it's not the most attractive thing in the world, they actually have a leatherette one which I find more appealing, but I ended up not getting it because I felt like there wouldn't be enough give (material wise) and I would be able to fit the most stuff in this one without the zipper breaking. Sorry guys, I know I really overthink EVERY LITTLE THING, but I just really get anxiety about every single item and it's use. Anyway, this one is perfect because its got a loop handle for your wrist, a detachable key chain thing and pen thing and I ALWAYS misplace my travel pen and stay worrying about my car key, but now NEVER AGAIN. Also I can't stress enough the importance of a pen (LMAO), there has been so many times when I have to fill out paperwork or customs slips and of course all the beaded pen chains HAVE NO PEN, or I'm eating at an airport restaurant and the waiter leaves me a receipt with nothing to sign. All I'm saying is DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME, be prepared! Back to the specs of the holder, I can fit enough cash in the zip pocket to last for an entire week. And I fit three passports comfortably in their slots, it can probably fit a few more. Also in that little mesh pocket I usually keep three dollars worth of quarters, and my airport parking pass. I keep this passport holder in MY backpack deep at the bottom so I can know its safe (once I've passed security).

In my fanny pack I keep my phone, main debit card, and mine and Masons drivers licenses for when we inevitably order bloody mary's at the airport bar, about $40 dollars in cash for quick tips or small purchases, and Purell hand wipes for when I get grossed out at how dirty my fingers are.

3. DON'T OVERLOOK THE SMALL STUFF

Snack wise I try to purchase things that aren't going to spoil for when I know I'm gonna leave it in my backpack and forget about it once I land. Also, I don't want to stock up on anything sugary because I refuse to have a hyper ass baby on an airplane. I tend to stick with popcorn, organic cheese crackers, or organic peanut butter cookie cracker things because I like to eat those too LMAO. I try to bring one or two wholesome items too, like a banana or a few cuties so that no cutting is necessary and I waste no plastic on putting them in a container because they have their own natural ones. Also, if you do need to put any snacks in plastic bags, try to refrain and buy silicone instead, they save you money, they're reusable and help to reduce plastic consumption.

These are obviously self explanatory, but SO NECESSARY, especially with a child who for some reason finds touching the underside of chairs and tables interesting.

This is my favorite portable charger, it's sleek with its aluminum body, doesn't scratch easily, charges two phones at once (one at faster speed) and it's input charge uses a lighting port so you really only need to carry one type of cord! PLUS it's 12000mAh for $24.99 which is honestly the best overall deal combined with it's specs. I keep this charger on the side of MY Fjallraven with the cord wrapped around it so I can have easy access to battery power without have to remove it from it's place.

3. HAVE A FUN BAG

When I was younger I would never leave home without my "fun bag", which my family still enjoys giving me a hard time about, and I really have no idea because why the hell doesn't everyone want a "fun bag"?!

Mila picked out her mini Kanken on one of our Minneapolis trips at the Fjallraven store where she was presented with a plethora of colors, but she remained firm that green was her favorite, although it's a bit more teal than green. Anyway, I LOVE these backpacks for the both of us and not just because they're super hipster trendy because they definitely are. The material is super easy to clean and I'm always throwing my backpacks on the floor so they get dirty very quickly. SECOND, the freaking pockets, I remember when I was a a child, I could not find backpacks with enough pockets and I would complain and complain and nobody cared, but little did I know, FJallraven cared. The two side pockets are big enough for an iPhone to slip in and out of quickly, but deep enough to put your debit card in and it won't fall out. Front pocket is very secure even when open and fits more than it looks, I fill it with crayons and colored pencils for Mila. Inside fits an iPad perfectly and a few coloring books, plus her teddy bear and snacks. The secret inner pocket is where I put cash or documents I acquire on the way that I don't want to lose. To be honest I was skeptic about the straps because they are so thin and lack padding but surprisingly they provide enough support where your shoulders aren't aching and you can easily wear the backpack everyday without ail. The two straps at the top are perfect for holding the backpack in a way that it doesn't scream I'm wearing a backpack, I'll hold it at the top when we go to dinner or go shopping. Plus when the two straps are buttoned it fits Teddy snuggly underneath. Who knew I cared so much about backpacks, right?

Moving on to her iPad, I pre-download any movies from Netflix and a series or two of Curious George from iTunes so I don't have to purchase a wifi plan on the plane, plus not all planes provide wifi. She can color and puzzle for hours, but sometimes there's a lack of space so I downloaded a few coloring and puzzle apps which she stays pretty entertained with. When she wants to switch it up a bit she'll play an educational game or listen to pre-downloaded music on Spotify. She loves movie soundtracks, especially from The Greatest Showman or from Sing. Also, if you don't feel like listening to your child complain about their headphones falling off: