QUICK TIP: PACK SPARE CLOTHES
Welcome to Travel Tuesday Quick Tip, a weekly series where I share a quick tip for flying with kids. Most of these tips apply whether or not you have kids. This week my tip is to pack spare clothes. What do I mean? Of course when you’re flying you’re packing spare clothes! What I’m talking about is if you check your luggage. Be sure to pack in your carry on bag a spare change of clothes, down to the underwear, for everyone traveling with you. As parents, we usually do pack at least one spare outfit for a baby, but often as the child gets older this might seem less necessary. I also see many adults travel without a change of clothes in their carry on. You might think it’s not that important, especially on a shorter flight, but let me tell you, although you might not often need spare clothes, when you need them, you REALLY need them. There are four major reasons you might need a spare change of clothes in flight:
1. DIAPER BLOWOUT
Diaper blowouts can affect more than just the baby’s outfit. Remember these blowouts very rarely happen at a convenient time. That means your chances for it occurring at the very beginning of your flight are high. It’s great that you brought a spare change of clothes for the baby, but if you didn’t pack any for yourself then you and your seatmates get to sit there, smelling the lovely odor for the entire flight. Not fun. Good thing these babies are so cute!
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One product that we have tried is Melzy Baby’s Blowout Blocker. This is a fleece wrap that extends from the diaper up the baby’s back to catch blowouts and prevent clothes from being soiled. It works! It saved us on at least three occasions.
Those tiny little airsickness bags provided in the seat pocket aren’t very good at containing projectile vomiting. I’ve seen it happen more than once. Usually without any warning.
On one flight I was working, a child got sick right after takeoff. He vomited all over his mom, completely drenching her, poor woman! She had checked all her spare clothes and it was only the first hour of a six hour flight. I felt so bad for her that I offered her my clothes. The only thing I had was a spare uniform shirt. She was more well endowed than I, so she could barely button the shirt, but at least it wasn’t vomit-soaked! The really bad thing is if it isn’t even your child who is vomiting. It could be the stranger sitting next to you! Thankfully this is a rare occurrence, but really, it’s so worth being prepared.
While it’s not the end of the world if a can of tomato or orange juice spills on you, it really can be uncomfortable. One time I was flying as a passenger to work the next flight. I was wearing my uniform and accepted a cup of orange juice for a pre-departure drink. I forgot it was there and knocked it over into my lap, soaking my pants (and underpants!) with orange juice. I still had nine hours on duty that day! Although I didn’t have another pair of uniform pants, I did have underwear and jeans. I went into the lavatory and changed, washed my uniform pants as best I could in the lavatory sink, and hung them up to dry as much as possible before I went on duty on the next flight. Even if you’re not doing anything important after the flight, do you really want to sit in orange juice soaked pants for the duration of the flight? I didn’t think so. Remember, it could be another passenger or flight attendant who accidentally spills on you. (Ask me about the time I spilled tomato juice on a passenger headed to a presentation.)
4. UNPLANNED OVERNIGHTS
Again, it thankfully doesn’t happen often, but you never know when your two hour flight might become some kind of crazy twenty hour travel day (and night!). If you experience a diversion or a delay which requires you to wait overnight for your flight, you might sometimes be able to retrieve your checked luggage, but sometimes the circumstances do not allow for that. Always pack your carry on bag with this in mind and bring a change of clothes, toothbrushes, medicines, contacts and glasses, and any other things that are important to you for an overnight stay somewhere unexpected. If you want some ideas of what to pack, check out this post on what’s in my backpack when flying with an infant.
Bottom line: it’s always better to be safe than sorry. It’s important and useful to lightly pack, but just as important is to be prepared. A spare change of clothes can help redeem a bad travel day.
Do you have a story to share of a time when you were glad you packed spare clothes in your carry on bag? Or a time when you wished you had? I’d love to hear it! Tell me in the comments below. If I get several good stories I’ll feature them in another post. (Be sure to tell enter your website if you have a blog of your own and I’ll credit you if featuring your story.)