Packing for Daddy’s first “boys” trip!

Daddy recently took the kids on a daddy/son mini vacation.  One Dad, two kids – carry on bags only… hmmm…. what to pack for a trip to the beach?

We decided on one carry on roll behind suitcase, the kids roll behind “Batman” school bag, and a backpack for Daddy in lieu of a diaper bag.  We had to ensure they had everything including the special items needed for our little guys food allergies and asthma.  It was important that Dad was able to keep his hands free to hold our three year old’s hand during travel.  Dad would carry a backpack and the rolling suitcase, and our five year old was a proud big-boy rolling his own “Batman” suitcase through the airport.

What we packed:

Medical & allergy items:
*Nebulizer & albuterol
*Inhaler
*Small zip lock of tylenol, bandaids, childrens Advil, & Childrens Zyrtec
*Epipen
*Similason Kids Ear Relief drops (These ear drops work great for ear trouble after swimming)

Clothing:
*4 Shirts for each child
*1 Pair of pants (plus the pants worn during flight)
*3 pairs of shorts for each child
*6 pairs of socks & 6 pairs of underwear
*Two bathing suits and a few swim diapers
*One light jacket for each child (worn during flight)
*2 swim vests
*Tennis shoes (packed), crocs worn during flight
*Sanitizer hand wipes (used to wipe down the arm rests and trays on the plane and anytime hand washing is not an option.)

By rolling all of their clothes, Dad was also able to pack everything he needed in the same carry on suitcase.  Diapers and wipes are stuffed in every open space and all the side pockets!

To help keep daddy’s hands free in the airport, they carried one booster seat (hooked to the roll behind suitcase) and rented an additional toddler car seat from the car rental company.  Usually we would have the car seats in a gate side check bag.  It was worth the extra few dollars to rent a car seat and travel lighter on this particular trip.

Toys & flight amusement:
*Ipad with a few downloaded kids movies (you can also load movies on most phones)
*Crayons, coloring books, and a blank travel drawing pad
*Animal crackers, cheese crackers, 4 juice boxes
*One fun superhero cape for each child – it’s hard to be in a bad mood during a rough travel day if you are with a Superhero!
*Two children’s books

IMPORTANT TIP – place all juice boxes and liquid medicine in Zip Lock bags at the TOP of your easiest-to-open carry on bag. The last thing you want to do is dig through your bags in the middle of security when traveling with small kids.  Small juice boxes ARE usually allowed through TSA at most airports for children under 4 years of age.

Whew!  We packed all of those items in one carry on suitcase and two smaller carry on backpacks.  The boys took off and this mommy was teary eyed watching her boys excitedly go through security.  One last wave and they were off for the first of many special trips with daddy.

*UPDATE – Security at several airports have changed the rules for carry on liquids.  On my family’s return trip they had to throw away the carry on juice boxes and toiletries in the TSA line.  Call your departure airport to inquire prior to packing juices and non-medical liquids in your carry on luggage.

Excited boys!
Batman on board!

 

Travel Gadgets – BRICA Roll n Go™ Car Seat Transporter

A few years ago we were struggling with our luggage and car seats at the airport.  It was one of those nightmare vacation moments.  Two kids, three suitcases, a stroller, and two car seats.  We spotted a woman, traveling alone with two kids, seamlessly rolling one child in a car seat in front of her, while pulling another child in a car seat behind her.

WHAT was this contraption and how do we get one?!?!?  Later, when my husband was taking a trip alone with our oldest son, we searched the internet until we found the BRICA ROLL’N GO CAR SEAT TRANSPORTER.

The car seat snaps right on to the frame allowing you to roll your car seat and your child through the airport.  When you arrive at the gate the Roll’n Go folds up and fits in the overhead compartment.  We place the Roll’n Go and car seat in a car seat bag for gate check.

This really is a great gadget that eases airport travel stress preventing the need to carry a heavy car seat through the airport.

BRICA Roll n Go™ Car Seat Transporter

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Traveling abroad with children and food allergies

Our son has a SEVERE egg allergy.  That includes anything with eggs or egg products, cookies, pastries, most breaded foods, some breads, and even some candy.   We have to read labels very carefully. We often find foods he is allergic too hidden in unsuspecting items.  Once,  we found a hard candy lollypop containing egg whites at a theme park.

With a few precautions and a little planning a person with food allergies can travel safely to almost anywhere home or abroad.  A few tips and tricks from our travels:

1.  Choose a destination that is right for your family.  All inclusive resorts are a lot of fun, however you will need to call ahead to make sure they can accommodate your child’s food allergy during every meal.  Consider a renting a condo and making your own meals.  This way you KNOW the your child’s food will be safe.

2.  Research the area and know the closest hospitals and clinics in case of a reaction.  Having appropriate medical care available and knowing how to dial the local emergency number is essential.

3.  Be careful when eating out.  Talk to the chef prior to ordering.  Make sure they know the ingredients your child needs to avoid.  Most restaurants will be more than happy to accommodate your requests.  Know how to state your child’s allergy in the country’s local language if you are traveling abroad.   We have made index cards in various languages detailing the food items we need to avoid.  There are also several food allergy translation apps available for your smart phone.

4.  Pack extra snacks and medical items.  Find easy to pack snacks that are safe for your child.  Make sure to have any emergency medicine such as an epipen on hand.

5.  When attending a hotel/resort kids camp send your own allergy-free snacks.   We pack enough dry snacks in our luggage to offer something each day if we cannot purchase needed items locally.  There is generally a good selection of fruit he can eat for snacks, but it is nice to have our own version of a dessert when the other kids are enjoying an afternoon cookie. Tip: Carry an extra epipen prescription and allergy action plan from your doctor in case you need a refill or have issues in customs with any medicine or special food items in your luggage.  Often times pharmacies in foreign countries will honor your prescription.

One of the biggest problems we have is people randomly offering our child food that would cause him an allergic reaction.  They are trying to be “nice” but too often the cookie is in hand by the time we intercept.  He has started wearing this button during times when we might be around other families or food events (resort events) where people may try to be “nice” by offering him food.

Some packing essentials:

*A copy of your child’s prescriptions from the doctor along with his/her allergy or asthma action plan.
*2-3 Epipens.  One in your carry on bag and one in your checked luggage.
*Medical Alert Bracelet.
*2 Inhalers, children’s Benadryl and any other medicine on your action plan.
*Nebulizer and albuterol in case of respiratory reaction (if indicated by your Doctor).

Our toddler doesn’t completely understand his allergy but he remembers one of his bad reactions.  We constantly remind him that eggs “make him sick.”   He is beginning to recognize items, such as cookies, that he should avoid.

Some easy-travel snack ideas (depending on your particular allergy):

*Pre-packaged rice crispy treats – they are small enough to stuffed into various pockets of your luggage.  We can also take them to restaurants for his “dessert”

*Raisins

*Divvies allergy free pre-packaged cookies – This is a wonderful bakery that ships their nut, egg, and dairy free items directly to your door.

*Enjoy Life Brand Allergy Friendly Foods – Free of most of the common food allergens. Found at most grocery stores.

*Goldfish & Cheerios

*Fruit Snacks

*Graham Crackers

*Pretzel Sticks

Remember to take snacks to restaurants so you will have “emergency” options in case you are uncomfortable with the menu.

Finally, consider purchasing medical trip insurance that covers any emergencies or even transport home.  We purchased insurance for our entire family for around $36 during our last overseas vacation.  Thankfully we didn’t use it but the cost was worth knowing we would have transport back to the states in case of emergency.

We have taken several vacations since learning of our son’s egg allergy.  We have not experienced any problems and have had an absolute blast!  Don’t let a food allergy spoil vacation memories for your family.  Be careful, plan accordingly, and if you aren’t sure – don’t eat it!

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