My Travel Style – Which has Nothing to do with Style

This post is my expression of style for ‘A Style Of My Own’ blogger contest by Women’s Web and Trishla emartI work at Women’s Web, so I guess I can’t win but I could not resist writing this one down.

A couple of years back; I was on one of my first International trips. The  lady sitting next to me was wearing a white suit which was well cut and a white hat. I was pretty impressed with the way she looked and carried herself, I wished I could look like her. Consecutively, I tried to amp up my style while traveling but all my efforts to emulate her were pretty much in vain. I tried wearing boots but was fed up of having to remove them at every security check. I then experimented with some necklaces with had a similar outcome.

After a lot of trial and error,I think I am finally onto something which I can safely call my travel style.It happens to be  printed cotton pants and a longish cotton top! This attire is comfortable, doesn’t ride up or down without my permission and dries up pretty fast in case of a toddler related accident. I have a couple of variants of this combination in dark colors because dark colors don’t show baby spit up as much. I sometimes team it up with a jacket, if we were going some place cold. It ensures that I don’t land and freeze to death in case the airline forgot my baggage.

When traveling with a kid; surviving the trip takes precedence to looking stylish. When my baby was younger, I preferred wearing him inside a cotton wrap so that I had my hands free to tug luggage. I had this amazing K-Tan wrap that would let me wear the baby close and comfortably. It was also very easy to wear/wrap which is must while traveling with a baby. Here is how I looked at airports when I traveled alone with my baby; I would be in my cotton pants and shirt, I would have a baby tied in front of me, a back pack on my back with my laptop that could not go in check in baggage and a largish diaper bag with necessities for the baby.

The diaper bag though helpful during long trips, was a cause of concern for my friends and relatives as we always looked like we were going to shift into their homes instead of just visiting. But it held things that I could not be parted with at the time, like my nursing cover, diapers, extra food, extra clothes, multiples of wipes because babies don’t magically stay clean. Now my diaper bag has been retired because my baby is a toddler now and the sling wrap been tucked away into a corner in the cupboard. Traveling with a kid requires a lot of planning but the more one travels it starts becoming easier.

Kid Friendly Airports
Kid Friendly Airports

Now that my kid is at an age when he can run around at the airport like on of those Duracell bunnies, I kind of miss our K-Tan wrap days. Very few airports/train/bus stations are truly baby friendly and China makes the list of baby friendly airports. Airports in China had play areas for toddlers, luggage carts that looked like cars that they can ride on and special seats for babies/kids inside the toilet so that moms can take a leak without having to hold the kid. To be fair most big airports these days have started having baby changing stations and feeding rooms which is great. But I wish more airports would follow China’s example and be a little more thoughtful. Till then I will have to continue choosing function over fashion when dressing for travel.

Two bags and a baby

   
 I am a travelling young mother of a cute and happy 10 month old. We live a nomadic style of life because of the nature of our job. Also, we love to travel and we want to stay together as a family.We have been to four countries and a number of cities as a family in the last 10 months though the packing and re packing can become tedious, the travel itself has been some untold amounts of fun. The first three months of my new born with the colic and feeding schedule, we did not venture out much. Though we did take  short weekend getaway’s with a car loaded with necessities for the baby like the stroller, bath tub, crib, toys and other such things.

As we started travelling more and further away, carrying so much stuff became impractical. The airlines baggage allowances made it near impossible. Also a realization dawned on us that our baby came to us naked and we kept plying him with material stuff he just does not need. We buy him an expensive toy and he would much rather play with a spoon. Downsizing is key when it comes to travelling with a baby, carry only half of what you think you might require. A suitcase full of my clothes and toiletries, a suitcase of his clothes, baby shampoo, diapers and cream, blanket, 2 toys, a wrap and a stroller and we are set for our next adventure.

In my experience so far, flying with a baby is not the nightmarish experience it is often made out to be. That said, my baby might just prove me wrong the next time we take a flight. So far I have kept my baby busy with the magazines and a few nursery rhyme videos which work as distraction. The umpteen number of papers and cards one finds in the seat pocket also help. We have mostly flown during his sleep time so as long as he gets his milk and gets to sleep nuzzled on me, he has been a happy camper.

Food is a major worry when changing continents and countries. The simple rule of thumb I have followed is to uncomplicate. Before my baby started solids, carrying food was not an issue as all I had to do was pop a boob. But after we began solids we have our trusted instant baby cereal as part of our arsenal. The rest of the food we have bought locally like fresh fruits. Once my baby started expressing interest in the food we eat, I prefer to give him the less spicy version of whatever we are eating. The only thing we have been strict about is boiling the water he drinks wherever we are.

What I have found in my travels is that hotels and staff are very accommodating for our unique baby needs like washing his baby bowls and letting me pick out my baby’s lunch from the breakfast buffet. Ordering a kid meal is too much food for my baby. Hotels these days are accommodating young travelers with a baby chair and an in-room crib these days. A hand shower in the bathroom makes bath time simple without me having to tote a bath tub around.

Becoming a parent makes one less self conscious, so that’s always a plus. We don’t mind when certain people give us judgmental looks when they see us in a swanky restaurant with a sleepy baby in the stroller. I have found more number of helpful baby loving people than the former kind. Not all babies are equal, some might be more demanding or have different demands. Also every parenting style differs and matters. But travelling with a baby is possible and also lots of fun.