It’s always a war when we decide to go somewhere with our kids. And I know, from my empirical knowledge gathered from hundreds of conversations with fellow parents, that it’s the same with every family in the world. Deciding on what to take with you when you’re taking you’re kids somewhere is always a thrill. And usually ends up with either me or my wife saying “ok, forget it. Take whatever you want, I don’t care.”
So it’s a problem, which means it bugs me and I would like to be able to fix it. It can even bring all kinds of “great ramifications” to add complexity to the situation, like when you don’t have suitcases big enough, or a car big enough, or when your back hurts and you don’t want to carry tons of luggage around…
One alternative I have already discussed with my wife is the “travel light option”. She doesn’t quite agree and we’re still in the process of me trying to convince her, but we’re getting somewhere. And I’ve already discussed this option with some friends who have decided to adopt this “travel style” when going with the kids.
Last week I read a great post on how to do it. If you want my advice, I’d leave this post you’re reading and jump right at that one. It’s more educative and I’m quite certain you’ll find it better written than mine. However, if you’re my parent, my relative, my friend or whatever, and have to stuck with me because you know I’m pulling the quiz on this in a few days: here is the link so that you can go there later 🙂
The logic of this “travel light option” is very simple: there’s nothing your kids will really need that you must take with you when traveling. Nothing. Ok, except that pacifier my daughter can’t live without. And that Tiger my son needs to be able to go to sleep. And the blanket I have to carry everywhere, so that my baby daughter doesn’t cry at night. Except these 3 articles, there’s nothing your kids will really need that you must always take with you. You can always get a new t-shirt for them if you come to the conclusion you didn’t bring enough shirts. You can always wash the ones you take. Kids don’t need 100 different toys for one weekend. They don’t have to take all their closet because it might be warm, or cold, it might rain, or be windy, or whatever. You don’t have to consider you might be invited to a glamorous party with them so you must take that beautiful dress you once bought for your princess, although she never used it. Or that special shirt you don’t even allow your kid to wear regularly because it might get… used (!?). Look, this joke is not on you, it’s on me! I’m this guy (well, my wife helps a tiny bit).
So the thing is: you can’t cover all the options for all the possible situations. And so, let’s just cover the ones from the 95% percentile. What do they always need? Underwear, pants, shirts, socks and shoes. Sweaters and coats if it’s winter or it might be cold – and might be cold means the meteorologists really say it’s going to be under 20ºC / 70ºF. Otherwise you don’t need it. Yes, it might rain. It might. And I could meet Charlize Theron while we’re there, but I’m not taking that special shirt I bought for that occasion (although I might take that one, just in case).
And even those 3 articles I told you about (pacifier, Tiger and blanket)… even those ones, I think I’ll leave them at home next time. Maybe that will help my kids to grow away from them. And if we really have a great time together, I bet they won’t miss them at all…