If I had to use one word to describe travelling with kids, I’d go with hectic. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it and travel with them every opportunity I get. There’s something so magical about seeing a new place through the eyes of a child (no matter how young), and I love how much more we interact with locals when we travel with our kids. It’s a whole new experience that I think is absolutely worth it and I highly recommend travelling with kids to anyone and everyone who has the opportunity to do so.
That said, it’s also hectic, stressful, chaotic, crazy. And it starts with packing. I’ve spent years perfecting my baby/toddler packing list. I’ll pack for days in advance, making sure I have just enough diapers and snacks for the flight, enough changes of clothes in case of emergencies, favourite stuffies, sleepsacks, good night books, etc. etc. My own clothing and gear is always a bit of an afterthought since (a) I spend the bulk of my time worrying about what my kids will need and (b) because all of their “stuff” takes up about 95% of the suitcase space. That leaves juuuuust enough room for a pair of skinny jeans, a couple of t-shirts (but not the low-cut variety or else you’ll be flashing everyone your sexy nursing bra when you’ve got a clingy baby on your hip) and a pair of comfy flats. (Who am I kidding, you’ve only bringing one pair of shoes and those are being worn on the plane.)
So now that my husband and I are going on our very first kid-free vacation, I honestly didn’t know where to start. There’s just so much room in my suitcase! And absolutely no need for picking only practical items that can pull double / triple duty. So if you’re going on a rare kid-free trip sometime in the near future, I’ve put together 10 essentials that you can’t leave home without.
[ 1 ] Sandals that aren’t Birkenstocks. Or Crocs . Look, I’m obsessed with Birkenstocks like the next mom (and was before I had kids), but for once I’ll be able to use sandals to literally just walk a few hundred feet to the beach or the pool or dinner. No running after tiny humans, no juggling a kid on each hip. So cute but impractical sandals it is.
[ 2 ] A non-picture book . I know, what are books filled with only words?
[ 3 ] White clothing . Because peanut butter hands and booger filled nostrils will not be wiped on your clothing for a change.
[ 4 ] Cute accessories . Dust off all those cute dangly earrings and necklaces you used to wear. And all those teeny tiny clutches and cross body bags that are too small for diapers and wipes. Instead of the usual dinner + Netflix outfit that I’m rocking each night (aka sweats and a top knot), I’m planning on actually putting on some cute dresses and rompers, adding a few accessories, and generally feeling like a million bucks.
[ 5 ] Eye mask . Because sleeping in isn’t going to happen for the rest of the year, might as well not let something pesky like daylight wake you up.
[ 6 ] A skimpy bikini . There’ll be no one to cling to you (aka creating endless possibilities for wardrobe malfunctions) as you casually walk into the ocean (or you know, to the lounge chair), so might as well make the most of it and keep the awkward tan lines to a minimum. Saggy boobs and wobbly bits be damned. Hey, you birthed a baby (or two or three), your body is fabulous. (Trust me, just ask your hubby.)
[ 7 ] Aspirin . Because drinks will happen and your low-tolerance parenting bodies will not know how to handle it. Coffee and an aspirin it is.
[ 8 ] Regular shampoo . I know dry shampoo is pretty much your main form of hair “cleaning” these days, but resist the urge to bring it on vacation and instead “force” yourself to take plenty of long, luxurious showers in complete peace and quiet.
[ 9 ] Self-tanner . Because now you’re a mom you’ll be super vigilant about sunscreen even without kids around. And, let’s face it, you don’t have time to apply self-tanner before you leave.
[ 10 ] Sneakers . Okay, so I said to bring only impractical shoes, but since you’re kid-free, take the opportunity and do something active that you wouldn’t normally get to do. Play a game of tennis, hike to a waterfall, take a sunset run along the beach.
What are your beach essentials? Below are some of my favourite pieces that I’ll be bringing with me to the Dominican Republic next week (all packed into my beautiful Heys Bianca spinner).
H&M triangle top + bikini bottoms | ASOS off-shoulder stripe maxi dress | Tofino Towel Co. The Long Beach round towel | Zara mini dress with print | H&M straw hat | ASOS Seafolly amnesia kaftan | ASOS straw tote | ASOS leather tie leg sandals | Lands End sweetheart one-piece | Lands End dolman sleeve cover-up | H&M v-neck jumpsuit | Old Navy twist-front bandeau top | Old Navy high-waisted swim bottoms | Zara crossover suede sandals | Old Navy swim kaftan cover-up