The perils of travelling light

(This post was written for the Mark Warner and Kiddicare blogging challenge (# 1))

Having worked in the airlines for years I’m the queen of light travelling, my mantra in the past being ‘Have passport, will travel’. Everything else I could acquire on arrival. I knew the 37 ways to wear a sarong. My capsule wardrobe fitted in my pocket. With the onset of children that all needed to change.  Though as the ages creep up I’m reverting to type. Over the last few years we have shed bottles, pushchairs and nappies. I’ve still a way to go to get to Before Children(BC) packing.

Because I had been such a proponent of travelling light, it’s taken me some years to get the balance right. In those early days of being away with babies I’d taken washing powder and rinsed out our clothes just as I did when I was a back-packer. Today I look back on those holidays and think WHY.  I was making work for myself when I should have been having a well-earned break.

Our pictorial record of those vacations lacked sparkle as our outfits appeared worn and samey. On looking at my holiday snaps a pal remarked  “Oh my, didn’t you fit a lot into your day!”  In actual fact we hadn’t managed to squeeze in feeding the giraffes in Lyon before pedal-boating on Lake Annecy. The pictures were taken on different days but we were in the same clothes!

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And what missed opportunities for stunning family portraits. We could have posed in our best attire against stunning backdrops. Instead in photos we look like a band of vagrants.

Now I keep the sarong for the beach. I can appreciate what a lovely treat it is to change into a favourite dress for dinner, one that may even show off my sun tan. I‘ve allowed myself my cleanser and moisturiser rather than making do with baby wipes. This expansion applies to the children’s wardrobe too where I pack their bags with fun in mind rather than survival.

I’ve found it helps to remind myself that I’m heading off on a family holiday and not an endurance challenge. Though I’ll be honest, there are moments away when the differentiation is not so obvious.


More top tips…

  1. Here’s something I’ve always done – light packing or not. I dress my kids in very loud colours so I can spot them in a crowd. Block stripes work well. I like purple and green and the fluorescent shades of pink, yellow and orange. Dressing the pair in matching tops makes tracking them easier too. The matching outfits is a trick I picked up from my mother (see holiday snap below).
  2. Just after my daughter mastered counting I started her on learning and reciting my mobile digits. They trip off her tongue now. I’m confident she’d know what to do if we became separated. My son, at 6, is less able so I write my name and number on a piece of paper and he slips it in his pocket.
  3. Another must for us on holidays is sending postcards home. When we sit down to eat at a bar or cafe I’ll whip the cards from my bag and encourage them to write about an experience or thrill they’ve had. They mail to family and a few school friends too. It’s so lovely (and rare) these days to be on the receiving end of snail mail.
  4. Recently I resurrected an activity from the family holidays of my youth. Dad would buy us charcoal pencils and sketch pads before positioning us by a mountain or stately home.  And for an hour or more we’d get lost in our drawing. Six perspectives on the same view. We’d sign and date our artwork. Some of the pictures were given as gifts, a few later ones ended up displayed in frames on our sitting room wall. Last September on a weekend break away my little artists made valiant attempts at the Durdle Door.


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This post was written for the Mark Warner and Kiddicare blogging challenge (# 1)


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