Travel with kids- Berlin Part II

I am writing this post sitting in a pre WWI building at Bundesplatz in Berlin while sipping on a glass of cold water with slices of fresh lemon. Ah, I love Berlin!!! So far the trip has been a dream and we go to bed feeling a good tired and hoping for even better adventure the next day. As promised this post is all about the planning of this trip and how we got ready for it!

At Home-We have a tiny house but even a tiny house has to be prepared before you leave for a three week trip. We love to leave our house knowing we'll return to a clean and happy place. The last thing we want to do is clean and do laundry as soon as we get back from our trip. So here are a few things that we do around the house before we leave:

Sheets-All bed sheets get exchanged the morning before we leave so we have fresh new sheets when we return ( this is something I picked up from a friend and it is totally worth it)

Laundry-We leave no laundry behind. There will be plenty to wash when we return so minimizing laundry is key.

Dog Sitter- My parents usually take Kooba but asking friends to house sit or take your dog is also a good solution. I am not a fan of boarding the dog since we have a anxious little lady but that is certainly an option for many families. 

Garden Care- We have a small garden so we have to have someone watering it and picking the goodies once they are ripe. If you have a friend that wants to care for the garden you can offer to help themselves in the garden as much as they would like. It's hard work to water and weed so that's a nice gesture in return.

Bills- We make sure that there are no outstanding bills so things are not waiting for us when we come back. It cuts out some anxiety. 

There is much more that could be done around the house depending on the size and pets but in our case its easily manageable and we like it that way. One of the reasons we live "small" is because we love travel and experiences are what we value much more than materialistic things.

Packing - We are not great at it yet but with time we're improving our skills. This trip we are packing two suitcases, stroller and one carry on. Ideally, one suitcase would be best. The less we have the better. It's so much easier to travel with less. Most places we go have a washing machine so we do laundry a couple of times per trip (also depends on the length of our trip).  Here are is how I pack the kids:

Clothing-I bring enough for a week for the kids, for example 5-7 top and 5 bottoms. For the little one I usually bring a couple more just because he's more prone to spilling and drooling. I bring a couple of pairs of socks each and a jacket each ( most of our travel is done in Spring and Summer when the clothing is not bulky). I also bring two pairs of shoes for each kid, a sneaker and a sandal. Swimming shorts and hygiene stuff such as shampoos and toothbrushes. We bring little cosmetics for us and bring only as many diapers as we need for a few days. Cosmetic items such as shampoos and diapers are all purchased when we arrive to our destination. Because of the fact that most of our travel is to places where we have friends and family, we end up not bringing towels or bed sheets. This reduces our bulky luggage by a lot. 
When I pack for myself I adhere to a much stricter rule, a few dresses and a pair of denim cut offs paired with 2-4 tops. Two pairs of shoes, few pairs of underwear and a couple of bras. One bikini is usually enough if traveling to a city but if I go to a beach I bring a couple more. I keep cosmetics to a minimum and bring only the necessary items. If it's hot I hate wearing make up so a bit of mascara and some lipstick is usually enough during the day while we explore. I suggest making plans of what outfits to wear so you can figure out what accessories to bring. I usually bring one pair of earrings and one necklace, that's pretty much it.
My husband is the ultimate minimalist so he brings quite a bit less and usually takes up only a quarter of a suitcase. 

Travel Zen- Haha, not so much when you have little kids but the idea is to visualize the trip and prepare yourself mentally. Once the plane is in the air there is nothing you can do. Try to stay calm because your child feeds of of your energy entirely. Here are some tips:

Take off/Landing- Ears popping is really uncomfortable for kids, if you don't want them have gum or lolly pops, you can give them a toothbrush to chew on, my kids love brushing teeth and receiving a new toothbrush in the flight kit is like a present to them. For my nursing mamas, they'll give you a separate seat belt for the baby that attaches to yours so nurse that baby each time the plane takes of or lands. Start nursing a few minutes before, once a baby is nervous it may not want to latch on and then you have a screaming baby, not fun!

Entertainment/Sleep- My kids usually sleep on planes, I don't know what it is, poor air quality that knocks them out or just the fact that most oversees flights we choose are in the evening not sure but I am lucky to have good sleepers. For those who don't, prepare in advance, new toys or new games they've never seen before are the best. Choose something that they can build or color or put together such as puzzles, coloring books and science toys. All these can keep them busy for a while. If all else fails make sure to have some good movies downloaded on your tablet or phone. None of these are ideal but planning it out a bit in your head may help you keep them busy for a while. We also brought a couple of small pillows this time which worked out great ( which was actually all we put in a carry on plus a change of clothes and empty water bottles). 

Last but not least, enjoy your trip! If you are miserable your kids will be too. Go with the flow, if one day turns out to be a disaster go back to your room rest up and enjoy your next adventure. Long trips are not for those who want to be in full control over each and every moment in their life. S*** happens, pardon my French, and flights get delayed, kids get cranky and that place you wanted to visit the most happens to be closed for the season because of renovations and won't get to see it on this trip. It is what it is, enjoy it and realize that it is a gift to be able to travel with your kids, many people can't because of financial or other reasons so have fun and don't focus on the little things because ultimately they don't matter.

Bon Voyage! 

Night before, packing table. I like to see it all together!

Did I mention we had a five hour car ride to NYC the day of our trip! We are crazyyy!

I love travel and he does too ( not sure about our passengers )!!

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