A day spent traveling with your little imps will be a series of fluid events and in addition to taking care of their needs, you will need to be comfortable and happy as well. Here are four low cost choices we make when it comes to our own essential travel accessories.
Look at the pair on the right and look at the pair on the left. One is a nice, expensive pair of Ray Ban sunglasses. The other pair I bought at Dollarama and have owned for years and are nicely road worn. One pair makes me feel super cool and keeps the sun out of my eyes. The other looks good enough and keeps the sun out of my eyes. Guess which pair I use when the kids aren’t around and which pair I don’t mind if a baby tears them off my face and starts grinding them into the ground while I am chasing another child across a public square in Barcelona. When I am on holiday with the twins, the Ray Bans stay at home and I rock the $1 sunglasses.
I have long considered getting a nice SLR camera, maybe a Canon, and taking great pictures and great, high quality video. Then I see those people with their giant camera bags full of accessories, and realize I already have 3 kids including one on my back to worry about. I also have a day bag to carry. Until only a few years ago, the camera in my current iPhone would have been absolutely state of the art and takes beautiful photos. It fits in a pocket and I will be carrying it with me anyway. Perhaps we’ll upgrade to a nicer camera in a few years when the kids are a bit older, when I am not carrying them or as many of their accoutrements. This article is about cheap accessories, and buying a smartphone is not cheap, but I am pretty sure the majority of readers already own mobile phones equipped with cameras and probably don’t need an expensive SLR to take pretty good pictures. All the pictures in my blog are all taken on an iPhone.
When I am riding the tube or on a flight alone, my Bose noise cancelling headphones are my best friends. I even wear them at work when I need to put on some angry music in order to really push through some things and meet some tight deadlines. They are awesome. When I am flying with my three kids however, I rarely get more than a few minutes where my sole responsibility isn’t to keep one or two babies calm. (Quick aside: One time a European discount airline told me I would have to pay extra to select our seats together. I laughed and said please book my babies a seat next to someone else, I could use the break. I am not sure if I won or lost but the fee was quickly waived.) After we arrive somewhere, when I am waking around listening to audio guides and walking tours with babies constantly pulling on the wires, they are bulky, expensive overkill. I use the standard issue ones that came with my aforementioned iPhone. I can quickly take them off and cram them in a pocket, plus they have a built in microphone and camera shutter control. If you want even cheaper, go with a pair of ear buds from the dollar store.
Hydration is important when you will be walking around all day with a baby on your back like I do. It is so important, and you can mock me at will but, I even set mental reminders to drink water. Usually I have some water at a minimum, every time I have noticed it’s a new hour. The answer for us is easy, we opt for water bottles of the collapsible variety. The roll up tiny when they are not in use and as such are easy to pack for flights and to carry around daily. Most come with carabineers attached so we can just clip it on somewhere and keep moving. There are numerous brands available but we generally opt for something cheap because they are as good as more expensive ones. The one pictured cost a couple bucks, has lasted almost a year of regular use, and is still going strong.
In summation, we tend to opt for cheaper accessories that we don’t mind damaging and things that are compact. When you have two babies and another child running around, anything can happen. Things get broken and you have your hands full enough without constantly worrying about an expensive pair of sunglasses or bag of camera lenses. We also believe in self sufficiently and the more compact we can keep things the easier they are to take with us.
These are our opinions and what has worked for us, but YMMV.
Hope you all have enjoyable and safe travels.
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