The packing is underway!

The packing is underway!

If you’ve been following us for a while, you might have noticed that when we get away, we really get away. I’m talking no plumbing, no electricity, no neighbor get aways. In January, we went winter cabin camping. For the April full moon and Earth Day, we’re staying in an unplugged cabin at our local Audubon. But we aren’t adverse to the comforts of home. We just don’t often have the means to take extended vacations to far away places with luxurious accommodations. So when the Captain entered a drawing through Outdoor Families Magazine to win a weeklong trip to Baja, Mexico with Thomson Family Adventures, he forgot about it almost immediately. And when he got the email that he had won, he assumed it was spam and archived it. Lucky for us, he revisited it and realized that he may have actually won something. And boy are we glad he did! On Saturday, we fly out for a week of surfing, hiking, horseback riding, and swimming with sea lions. We can’t wait!

Of course that means that this week I am frantically packing, making and reviewing list upon list, and organizing gear for an adventure abroad. Luckily we have traveled enough with the boys that I have some precious go-to travel gear that I can fall back on. Here is some of my favorite gear for adventuring with the tots in tow.

  1. The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib still fits Little Bear (36" tall) with room to spare

    The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib still fits Little Bear (36″ tall) with room to spare

    The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib. After borrowing one of these from a friend every time we traveled for two years, I finally bit the bullet and got our own. It is a-mazing. It is super light and super compact, yet somehow still comfortable and big enough to accommodate my almost 3-year old. All folded up in its handy carrying case, this crib even fits in the overhead bin on most airplanes. We will be setting it up during our six hour layover to create a confined, clean and cozy space for the boys to rest and watch a show or two between flights, and Little Bear will be sleeping in it for the length of our trip as the boutique hotels don’t have cribs available.

  2. See the little blue throne next to the beach chairs? The Potette travels with us near and far!

    See the little blue throne next to the beach chairs? The Potette travels with us near and far!

    The Potette Plus. We are so close to being done with this one, but it’s coming along on one last hurrah before we say our final goodbyes. The Potette Plus is a portable potty that also doubles as a toilet-top potty seat. With its silicone reusable insert, it folds down to about three inches thick. Without the silicone insert, it extends flat to act as child seat for the toilet. We like to keep a potty in the boys’ room at night in case they have an emergency and can’t wake us in time.

  3. Junior modeling the CARES harness last year.

    Junior modeling the CARES harness last year.

    CARES Harness. Little Bear is a squirmy, squirmy little guy and the normal lap belt on an airplane is no match for him. Look the other way and he can slide right out of that thing and be halfway to the exit row before you look back. The CARES Harness is the only five-point child restraint approved for use on an airplane. It slides over the existing belt and seat back to convert the lap belt into the five-point harness that Little Bear is used to on his carseat. He’s comfortable in it and it contains him so that we can all relax.

  4. At 2.5, Little Bear is still comfortable in the Ergo carrier and Mama is comfortable with him onboard too!

    At 2.5, Little Bear is still comfortable in the Ergo carrier and Mama is comfortable with him onboard too!

    Ergo carrier. We will be doing some longer distance hikes in Mexico, and even though Little Bear can usually keep up on our hikes at home now, we are likely to need a carrier on some of the longer ones next week. The Ergo is soft so it packs down to fit easily in our backpacks, yet is still comfortable with an almost-three year old onboard.

  5. Little Bear's "own room" set up in our tent on a fall camping trip.

    Little Bear’s “own room” set up in our tent on a fall camping trip.

    The Sleepaway Baby Traveling Nursery. This is a controversial one. The reviews on Amazon include quotes like “If you actually fear and dread sharing a room with your baby, PLEASE get mental help,” and “As a mother of two I could never imagine putting my babies in a box!” Ha! Have you met my children? When they were babies, it was one thing. We had a cosleeper sidecarred to our bed. They fed on demand throughout the night. They lived in a sling nestled against my chest. But toddlers, they are another beast all together. Little Bear has his own room at home and becomes incredibly distracted by any company when he shares a room during our travels. There have been many days ruined by 3AM wake-ups that begin with a gleeful, “Hi, Mama! Hiiiiiiiiiiii!” when he opens his eyes and sees that we are in the same room. On those days, we rarely get back to sleep. Were he in his own room, he’d simply look around, roll over and fall back to sleep which is exactly what he does when he wakes up in his “box”.  The travel nursery creates a little closet around the crib and Little Bear legitimately likes it. He calls it his “own room.” And the whole thing unzips and packs down into a flat carrying case that actually fits nicely inside the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib case.

Alright, I’d better get back to packing now! What would you add to my list?