The Sophisticated Traveler
Oh how I long for the simpler days of travel. Days when my husband and I could just take off at a moment's notice, armed with only a carry-on suitcase. Days when we'd head to a last minute destination chosen simply by googling the computer to locate cheap fares and accommodations. But not these days.
Travel with a child, whether by plane, train or automobile, adds a whole new dimension to a trip. Not to mention a whole new price tag. These days by the time I've finished the packing, we look ready to spend a month on the Orient Express. And these days we only seem to end up traveling in the CST time zone--Children's Standard Time, that is.
On a recent trip to Atlanta, I'd done what I would describe as "frugal" packing. I shared a suitcase with my husband, and not a big one, either. My 3 and 1/2 year old had co-opted our other suitcase for herself. She didn't mean to. Well, actually she did. As a matter of fact, she claimed it for herself, outright after explaining that she'd need to bring different pants, shorts, shirts and of course, some dresses and jewels so she could "get fancy" for dinners. I told her that I was pretty sure she'd be able to fit those things into the case, but then she remembered her shoes. There were the crocks, the sneaks, the sandals, two colors of flip flops and a mandatory pair of party shoes (in this case, a purple pair of plastic kitten-heeled sandals with fuzzy, purple, feathers across the arch). Had she received some party invitation at our destination to which I'd been left off the list?
And don't forget her Princess backpack! She said she'd carry that by herself. After a while her little rolling pack was chock full of the following items, chosen by her, just "in case".
-A Happy Meal toy in the shape of some unidentifiable Japanese blue penguin character (When did she get this? I'd never seen the toy, or her playing with it prior to her packing it.)
-A homemade wand--made by her from a long straw, feathers, leather and colored shoelaces, and party streamers. (Hey, you never know when you may need to cast a magic spell when traveling.)
-Three shades of nail polish--eggshell blue, dark opalescent blue, and clear with sparkles (She must have been convinced that I wouldn't be taking her out for a professional mani-pedi as part of her R&R. Smart girl.)
-"Duckie" (aka her "blankie". Oh heaven help us if he gets lost in travel--she'll never get to sleep again)
-A partially opened lollypop in the shape of a pacifier and some purple Laffy Taffy
-A compact kit of watercolor paints, minus the brush
-Three books about ballet, two books about various princesses (Sigh)
-A Hannah Montana pen with multiple charms dangling from the end (Note: She's NEVER seen Hannah Montana on TV. Or, at least on our TV.)
-A Hello Kitty Pen and matching writing pad
-Construction paper in various colors
-A small, clear bag from Chinatown with Chinese writing on the outside that translated to, "Empty Bottle Of Journey" on the outside and various mini-bottles, pots and spray bottles that were all...empty.