The trouble with guests…

“Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” -Benjamin Franklin

My family recently visited some loved ones and had a fantastic time.  It was a seaside adventure and thus travel packing involved various sunscreens, UPF hats, bug repellent sticks, water sandals, sunglasses…you get the point.  This was indoor/outdoor living with a heavy emphasis on the “outdoor” and it seemed that we needed most of these outdoor sundries on a regular basis, as in many times a day.

Being that we live in a major city and host many guests throughout the year, I am sensitive about an unwanted trail of belongings strewn throughout someone else’s home.  Nevertheless, despite our efforts to keep our clutter at bay, after our third day on the island it seems we were beginning to “smell” (although, I still blame the diaper pail).  Thus, our three hot weather items were anonymously removed from the main level of the home and placed in a small ball in “our” bedroom.

All right, all right, I get it.  After all, who likes to see their turn of the century sideboard littered with cafe receipts, eyeglasses, keys, phones, nail files and that bag of snack mix the airline so generously gifted.  That said, should guests need to transport every important personal item up or down to the room in which they are bunking several times a day?   We’ve all been there, either on the receiving or giving end, or maybe both?  So it got me thinking…is there a reasonable solution to this age-old problem?

Brainstorm!!  I present to you the “Guest Box.”  This is not a comment box. No.  Who wants one of those?  Let’s be honest.  Rather, it is an attractive box in your favorite hue that can house a guest’s small, portable and necessary “on the go” personal items throughout the duration of their stay.  A set of these boxes can be stacked  neatly by the door, in cubbies in the mudroom (if you’re lucky enough to have one of those), under a table in the entry way, or anywhere you see fit.  It allows everyone visiting to have a bit of personal space near the hub of the home without them taking that Hansel and Gretel bread crumb approach.  Win, win 🙂

Travel Tips to Make the Ride a Little Less Bumpy :)

Traveling with a little one can add a whole other level of stress but with some careful planning you can make things a bit easier on yourself and those around you!  Here are some things that have helped me on my many travels!
  • have as much other gear waiting on the other side as possible.  borrow a car seat/stroller (from a dependable source, of course).
  • if you bring your own stroller or car seat, get some covers for them in case of snow, rain, dirt or just mishandling. we got this one http://www.amazon.com/Stroller-Cover-Carry-Travel-Bag/dp/B0000E3D8G/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1290542948&sr=8-16  it’s cheap and fits our UPPAbaby Vista.  We bought a large drawstring type bag at army surplus for our car seat and it was cheap.
  • if you use diapers.com (if you haven’t, try them out, they’re awesome!), place an order and have it shipped to your destination for diapers/wipes/food, even bibs and extra pacifiers and soap, etc. or have your family/friends get all that for you in advance.
  • if you’re planning on checking luggage, share one big bag (max size they’ll allow) with all your travel companions so you don’t have a bunch of roller suitcases to deal with and you don’t rack up a bunch of baggage fees.
  • bring extra pacifiers in case they drop on floor and also hand/face wipes and pacifier wipes.  also, have those pacifier clips handy!  do not rinse anything using the bathroom water on the plane, it may not be potable or sanitary.  use bottled water instead.
  • bring some organic hand sanitizer and wipe down arm rests and tray.
  • nurse, bottle or pacifier at take off/landing to help with ear pain resulting from pressure changes.
  • bring any carrier that you wear him/her in, in case you need to walk/bounce the aisle with her/him.
  • bring a hat or scarf that you could cover her/his eyes with to block light and help him/her sleep and I love a hooded towel, also, to use as a blanket for the naps because it provides a bit of cushioning for under that little noggin.
  • dress the babe in layers.  sometimes it’s freezing, sometimes it’s boiling.  and the comfier, the better, even pj’s.
  • snacks and toys, snacks and toys, snacks and new toys.  and books.  and obviously, blankies/lovies.  toys that don’t have lots of small parts that can easily fall on floor are obviously best.  even better if it’s something brand new that s/he’s never seen before 🙂
  • consider night flights when s/he’s more likely to sleep
  • I don’t like to use a lot of wasteful packaging, but in this case, gallon size ziptop bags can keep that diaper bag organized!
  • I love “little noses” saline drops to help with dry air and I’ve heard saline can also clear out viruses that try to cultivate in throat/nose.
  • an inflatable pillow might be helpful to cushion between your arm and the armrests after 5 hours of holding him!
  • if you’re breastfeeding…after about 4 mos, my baby got really particular about how and when he nursed in public, so I bought a manual pump to bring on board and pumped under my nursing cover to bottle feed him.
  • if you bring on breast milk or formula (which you are legally able to do, even beyond 3 ounces, just make bottles visible), they will make you put it through x-ray and then they’ll also test it again afterwards manually.
  • I don’t love e-games, but in a pinch on a long flight, this app is not too flashy and has some learning involved, too: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fish-school-hd-by-duck-duck/id367567922?mt=8.  I’ve also heard great things about this video: http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/movie/pid/5944683/a/That’s+How+We+Build+A+House.htm for being slow-moving and fascinating.
I have found that other travelers are generally pretty nice, so if s/he gets fussy, don’t freak out.  and the white noise of the plane may just help with sleep!