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What's in Your Travel Bag?

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If you go out with kids on a regular basis, you know that you don’t just open the door, load them all into the car, and take off. You plan. You schedule. And you pack, because without supplies, you might or might not be able to survive a typical day out with your children.

If you’re a veteran mom, of course, you know full well that you don’t actually need as many supplies as you think you do. Home, after all, isn’t that far away; and there are supplies in most stores if you get truly desperate. You’ve mastered the art of getting out of the house with your debit card and license in your back pocket, a diaper in your coat pocket, and nothing else—and that’s a perfectly valid approach. However, there are a few things that it might make your life easier to have on hand, even if you leave them in the car. For example….

Water. Any time you’re out of the house for more than fifteen minutes, particularly if you are near a location where expensive, sugar-filled drinks are sold, someone will develop a desperate thirst that requires them to consume enough liquid to float a boat. If you take water with you, you don’t have to purchase it—and it quickly loses its thrill.

Snacks. Tuck a box of granola bars or some other non-perishable, non-melting snack into your vehicle. Children who pass by the golden arches are often stricken with a Pavlovian response that requires them to eat immediately in spite of the fact that they likely consumed their weight in food just hours ago. Provide them with something healthy and inexpensive!

Change of clothes. If you have a child under the age of four, you know that accidents happen. Accidents happen to older kids, too. Food and drinks get spilled; falls happen; little ones just don’t quite make it to the restroom on time. If you’re going to be far from home for a day trip, having a change of clothes on hand might just save you from having to stop and pick up a shirt at a gas station.

Entertainment. Tuck travel games into the pockets on the backs of the seats. Provide books for your children to read in the car. Make sure that they’re entertained—or they will inevitably find their own ways to entertain themselves.

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