There are many things you discover by accident when you become a parent.
It might be the 1001 uses for baby wipes in daily life (I’m serious, these things are magical), or how to quickly identify things in your life that are “life and death essential” (like a beloved teddy bear, or maybe a corkscrew) and always make sure you keep a spare to hand for emergencies.
EXPERT TIP: My daughter had many soft cuddly toys as a baby, but she definitely had a favourite, Blue Bear. Because she took it everywhere there was a chance it would get lost, which would have caused a riot and lack of sleep for all, so we carefully bought a replica and regularly swapped them to wash one, but also maintain the wear-and-tear and smell of both. One day, aged 8 or so, we let her know that Blue Bear had a twin. She was shocked, but amused (thankfully).
The key is to BE PREPARED. Now, I know you’ve heard that before, but whilst you might associate that with the Scouts, and outdoor activities like building fires, pitching tents, hunting for food and so on, I can guarantee that you never took it as seriously as you learn to do when you prepare to leave the house after having kids.
Even now, with kids that are 10 & 7 I make sure that I carry snacks, books, tissues, entertainment devices, and so on.
I have so internalised this that I even do this when I travel alone, for “work” (yes, visiting wineries, vineyards and restaurants is work for some).
My travel kit includes every connector possible for my laptop, multiple power converters, battery packs, medicines, lenses and more, and I’ve learned to fit it all in just one bag to travel with hand-luggage only.
EXPERT TIP: bring a power-strip from your own country, that way you can plug in laptop, phone, camera etc. as normal and only need 1 converter, since hotel rooms are always short on sockets.
There’s only 1 snag to this. Both as a Dad, and a Blogger, stuff accumulates.
Leaving the house you can be as organised as you want but then chaos starts, or you find you collect even more stuff on the way – sticks, special stones, magazines, half-finished drinks, bottles of wine …
My latest secret weapon* is the Packable Daysack from LifeVenture. This thing is blooming marvellous. It folds down to almost nothing so fits easily inside large pockets, small corners in a suitcase, or in other carrier bags. Then when you need extra space it unfolds to give a handy, soft and water-proof way of carrying everything you need. It even has pockets of its own. It is like having your own junk-storing TARDIS.
It has even become my son’s Rugby bag since it fits boots, snacks, waterproofs and water bottles.
All I can say is that when you travel hand-luggage only on the way to vineyards, it is painful to have to turn down gifts of wine because you cannot get them back through security, so this allows you to carry your essentials, and still being able to check in the ‘valuables’.
Remember, it always good to be prepared!
* This pack was given to me as a sample to test and review by LIFEVENTURE