Alright mamas, last time we talked about serious things like fires and intruders, so today let’s have some fun! As moms we spend a lot of time figuring out how to properly dress the kids for our adventures and travels, and securing the right kid gear to make things easier. That’s great of course, but let’s not forget about Mom! Having a few really versatile pieces can make packing up your own stuff so much easier. It’ll also allow you to go about your activities without worrying if you have the right shoes for an impromptu hike or a cute enough shirt to hit that ever-so-slightly-more-upscale restaurant for dinner (not that anyone cares when you show at 5pm with small kids in tow, but moving on!). Read on for my favorite must-have travel gear for adventure mamas!
THE MOMMY TRAVEL GEAR SCOUTING REPORT
The following are my go-to travel gear items. I actually use most of them on a daily basis even at home, but they really show their worth when you’re bringing just a few items with you and need those items to perform a variety of functions. Because really, your bags are already crammed full with all the kids’ stuff, but you still want to look cute — I know I do!
1) THE OGIO INTERNATIONAL BROOKLYN PURSE
This satchel-style bag by Ogio, called the International Brooklyn Purse, combines function and fashion as an essential piece of travel gear. It is the perfect combination diaper bag, travel bag, and stylish purse, in my personal opinion. Hands down my favorite bag! When I first started looking for diaper bags that would hold the essentials for two kids, I decided on a backpack, thinking it would be helpful to have both hands free. But after a few months, I found that while the backpack was indeed necessary for a longer outing, I didn’t want to drag it to the gym, or the grocery store, or transfer everything if I somehow managed to snag a solo outing.
Enter the satchel, as we call it. I put the bare essentials for an on-the-go diaper change in it along with my phone, keys, wallet and a book. You could easily add a snack, bottle of sunscreen, or small water bottle. Then in the car goes a bigger bag with changes of clothes, extra diapers and wipes, and additional water bottles and snacks, etc. If we’re going to the zoo or for a long walk, the car bag can go in the bottom of the stroller. Done.
When you’re traveling, you can fit all the basics in your purse, even a book, passports, and so on, without getting too bulky. And like at home, you can throw a second bag with all the extras in the stroller storage compartment.
2) ATHLETA SUN SHIRTS
Lightweight long sleeve shirts are another of my favorite summer go-tos, both for travel and at home. They avoid the constant concern over getting burned, and if you find a good one, they don’t get too hot. Athleta is by far my favorite brand for sun shirts because their offerings are high quality and attractive. Some are meant to offer actual SPF, while others just provide coverage because they are long sleeve — either way it’s a must-have travel gear item.
Athleta makes several kinds — this one is probably my favorite for activewear (comes in all shapes, sizes and colors)! They also have a variety of more casual options (my favorite in this category was bought a couple years ago and is no longer available, but there is no shortage of cute offerings!). And of course, if you don’t care for Athleta, there are endless possibilities with other brands. I have a couple great ones from Target that I know didn’t cost more than $25.
The best choices, in my opinion, are those that are versatile enough to be appropriate for both hiking and the splash pad, but can also go to dinner without looking too out of place. It certainly cuts down on the packing if one shirt works for whatever you have planned all day!
3) VIVOBAREFOOT TRAIL SNEAKERS
Seriously the best sneakers! I have worn each pair I’ve owned into the ground (which is not easy, as they are sturdy). They are lightweight (“minimalist”) and comfortable, with cute colors and GREAT tread. You can wear them to the store, to the gym, trail running and hiking. I can even wear them for regular running in a pinch, so they’re perfect for travel gear. In fact, on most non-winter trips, they are the only shoes I bring, save maybe for a pair of flip-flops or ballet flats.
There are a number of different models. Of the three pairs I’ve owned, this style is probably my favorite. My current pair — also good — is this one, though I was able to find it on sale for a better price a few months ago.
4) A GOOD HAT
Hats are great for travel because they keep the sun out of your face. If you go full coverage, they’ll also protect your ears and neck, which is super helpful if you’re out and about all day. They also hide bad hair! I know that if we’re hiking and sightseeing, my hair is not looking too great by late morning. Yay for hats!
What makes a hat good will obviously vary greatly in terms of style. I wasn’t a hat person until this spring, when I finally found one that I like the look of. If you want a ball cap, look for an unstructured crown or women’s cut so that it doesn’t stick up too much in the front (unless, of course, that’s what you’re looking for). If you prefer a more full-coverage hat, look for one with a strap. I know that may sound funny — great for the kids but for me? — but trust me. I have a great sun hat from Columbia that I love — except that it doesn’t stay on my head in the slightest breeze, or if one of my kids taps it (which of course they do all day long). I literally don’t wear it because it never stays on my head.
OTHER REALLY REALLY USEFUL TRAVEL ITEMS
Lifeproof case for your phone
Since having kids my phone has been dropped in streams (by them), licked (by them), thrown (by me and by them), and “cleaned” by the garden hose (by them) more times than I can count. And thus I have also used the phrase “thank goodness I got a Lifeproof case” more times than I can count. They aren’t the cutest cases out there, but in this “case” it’s worth it to me to not have to replace my phone every other week! Enough said. They’ve also come down in price significantly over the last couple of years — you can now get one for under $50. If you use this link (please do!), make sure you find the case appropriate for your phone’s make/model!
The ones I use are by Pacifica, though other brands make them as well. I don’t find them to be sufficient as deodorant — I still add a separate application after I use them — but they are a quick way to freshen up, especially on the road.
What are your travel must-haves? Share your favorites in the comments!
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