Have Kids, Will Travel…the “around town” edition!

In the past, I’ve written two “Traveling with Kids” posts about air travel with young children. Obviously, a plane trip with young kids (mine are 3.5 and 1 year old) requires a fair amount of forethought and prep. However, upon cleaning out the trunk of my car (and seeing exactly how much STUFF is in there on any given day!), I’ve come to the realization that with young children, even an afternoon of local errands or a weekend day trip by car goes so much more smoothly when you’re well prepared. Below are some products and tips I’ve found incredibly helpful when out and about with my little guys! Feel free to add your own “essentials”!

  • Adhesive Placemats: If you’ve gone out to eat with a baby between 6 months old and 18 months old (roughly), you might already see the genius in these. Too many times I would sit my baby or toddler in a restaurant high chair, place some finger foods in a dish or on a plate, and spend the next 15 minutes wrestling the dish out of his tiny hands to avoid food being flung to the floor. The alternative, food directly on the table, is equally unappealing. These stick securely to the table, and allow for easy clean up….and they’re biodegradable!! 
  • Full wardrobe change for kids, clean shirt for you: In my trunk, like many parents, I always keep a full head-to-toe outfit change for each boy. Except that one time when I left my 3 year old’s extra clothes home…which was inevitably the only time he wet his pants in public. Lesson learned. Having an extra shirt for mom is an added perk that you will really appreciate should you be spit up upon, have a beverage dumped on you by accident, or in case any other myriad shirt-ruining crises occur.
  • Baby food pouches/Applesauce pouches: Whomever invented the “pouch” delivery system for baby food and applesauce deserves some kind of award. No spoon needed- simply unscrew the cap, pass it to your child, and let them slurp up some fruit and/or veggies mess free! The best part? My kids find this awesome and fun, and will often eat foods (like spinach) that they otherwise may not. 
  • Hand sanitizer: I am not a germaphobe by any means. In fact, there was a time when I would mock the hand sanitizer carrying folks. “Herd immunity!” I’d say, “Build up your resistance!”. Then came the day I went into a Port-a-Potty with my then 2.5 year old. Oh. Goodness. Gracious. It was horrible, and there was no foam sanitizer left in that little dispenser. I keep 2 in the car now at all times. 
  • Water: Buying bottled water drives me nuts. Nuts! From an environmental standpoint, it bothers me because of the waste it creates, and from an economic (Re: cheap mom) standpoint I can’t stand the thought of paying for something that flows from my tap at home for practically nothing. I keep sippy cups of plain water (replaced frequently, of course), in my car to avoid having to buy it when we’re out, especially in the warmer months!
  • Plastic grocery bags: I almost always use reusable  bags when I grocery shop, but I do sometimes use plastic to re-stock the diaper bag. Plastic grocery bags are an essential for diapers, but also any accidents that may necessitate a full wardrobe change as well as any food related mishaps.  
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