Packing for a sabbatical in Barcelona

March 05, 2017 0 Comments

I´ve been the single woman flyer, the business trip flyer, the holiday flyer, the pregnant flyer, the mother with a newborn; a 9 month old; a 16 month old; and now the solo mother with a curious toddler flyer.    

So I´ve been and seen it all.

This weekend I find myself packing again. My flight next week for my long summer sabbatical buying trip will be my most challenging yet. Not only because I am flying alone again with my daughter but because we are having to pack for the end of winter and the whole of summer! 

Without sounding like I have the inside running into how to make a 30+ hour door to door flight seem easy, what I can offer is what I do to make it through the flight, some of the products that I have found to not only ensure we survive but how the final edit of ´stuff´ is essential for making it an easier trip.

My daughter´s essentials

The essentials and distractors 
Clockwise from top.
1 Cotton On baby wipes in a resealable plastic carry case. 2. Cotton On Tilly tights in sparkle blush pink. 3. Non toxic stackable Playon Crayons. 4. Cotton On Jessie Crew striped long sleeve top. 5. Country Road reversible knit vest in mid grey marle, wool and faux fur. 6. Blush pink sparkle purse and Crayola crayons, Kmart. 7. Cotton On Phoebe dark grey ankle boot (which have a long zip for easily slipping on and off). 8. Little People, Big Dreams book Coco Chanel, Folio Books. 9. My A5 sized leather bound work diary for drawing is the perfect size for the plane seat tables. 10. Washi tape in fuchsia because its so much fun, Officeworks.

My last minute pack for myself 

Edit, edit, edit
Clockwise from top.
1. Lonely Planet´s guide to Spain (vintage had this forever). I still take this with me because it is a break from being online and I am still learning new (old) things that I´ve never seen or done before. 2. SEED Heritage´s new black pleat pants, a relaxed cropped fit, with an elasticised waist, front pockets in the softest stretchiest fabric.  3. Aesop´s resurrection aromatique hand balm, Aesop resurrection rinse-free hand wash (the best for flying), HURRAW coco lip balm and an old trusty eye mask in grey jersey knit. 4. T2´s ´Sleep Tight´ loose leaf herbal tisane tea. 5. Petit Barcelona´s silver glitter Menorquinas as they are ridiculously comfortable and easy to slip on and off. 6. Country Road´s 100% cotton striped long sleeve t-shirt with front pocket detailing, which is great for layering. 7. My trusty passport. 8. My old scarf for tying around my neck when it gets cold as the plane blanket always slips down. 9. My Tom Ford oversized black sunglasses. 10. Witchery´s woven spliced long-sleeved top, a relaxed fit classic crew neck style in Sienna pink.  

So the packing is done. Here´s a few suggestions from ´living the dream´ for so many years flying cross continental. 

Over the years I´ve learnt it´s more important to edit your pieces and remove as much as you can. Traveling light is so much better than lugging around 3 bags with 5 changes of clothes you´ll never wear and 3 magazines and a book you´ll never read. 

+ Flight booking: We always book our flights from Barcelona to Brisbane return. It is always a lot cheaper than the other way around. Totally not fair but saves us money. We book a flexible flight coming back so we can always move it depending on our circumstances.

+ Food: Now that we are parents, one thing I´ve learnt is to always order a special meal (veggie, lactose free, whatever your fancy is). You get your meal first so you can eat and then feed your child before everyone else gets their meals. It means you can jump up and use the toilets when everyone is locked into their seats eating. In regards to infant meals, I will never order this specifically again. Unfortunately more often than not it is a jar of processed baby food from the 1970s. Bring your own food for at least the first leg of the trip. 

+ Seating: The bassinets on the planes never worked for us, as soon as we had baby down in the basinette no sooner would the seat belt light go on and we´d need to do the ´get them back to sleep again´ routine on my lap. This proved to be a nightmare for us. So, I go prepared for baby to sleep on me for the entire flight. Still book those seats though as you can opt not to set up the bassinet and use it for the extended leg space!

+ Routine: We always book our flights with the same airline. This is helpful especially when going through transit in Singapore. It´s a huge airport, and we know where our plane will land in the terminal and where we need to embark on the next leg from without thinking about it. When you are tired, the last thing you need is to be calculating how long you have to walk or shuttle it to the next gate.

+ Showers: When we arrive we head straight for the showers, use the buffet and chill out in the lounge area. The shower is the best thing money can buy. Not only does it kill 30-45 minutes, but you feel like a new person afterwards. 

+ Rooftop swimming pool: If you have enough time during transit (4+ hours, I would recommend going to the rooftop pool, Terminal 1. It´s a bit of secret and therefore not packed. Although Singapore is humid, just being outside in the air and in the water does wonders for your circulation. I visited during one of my pregnancy flights and it was bliss and made the 14 hour second leg a lot easier on my body. 

Things I no longer take with me: 

+ Handbag: I´ve learnt over the years that I need to be ruthless when it comes to what I take with me as ´carry on´ luggage. I only travel with a backpack now. My handbag is stowed under the plane, far far away. Its essential to have something that is handsfree and won´t fall off your shoulders. You can hang it on the back of the toilet door, unzip it and get to everything you need. Which comes in handy when washing your face, brushing teeth and changing a baby on those delightful and not challenging at all change tables! 

+ Reading material: I never thought I´d be this ruthless, but I no longer take books, magazines, make up or pashminas. Why? Because the blankets are sufficient and the wrap ends up getting lost in it anyway, the books and magazines weigh a tonne and don´t get read because I flick between 5 unwatched movies and tv sitcoms. 

+ Jackets: Waste of space as you never wear them.

In the backpack: 

+ The essentials: 1 spare shirt, my daughter´s spare clothes, her nappies, wipes, a disposable nappy change mat for the change table on the plane, our snacks and drawing pack.

+ Two wraps: Our flight always arrives into Singapore at 10.30pm Brisbane time and we board the plane at 1.30am Brisbane time. Because its usually bed time whilst we are roaming around the airport, it´s essential to have two wraps for our child. One wrap to throw over the pram to block out the hideous airport flurescent lighting and the second to act as a blanket as the airconditioning is relentlessly cold (I think to keep you awake).

+ Skincare: The only item of face skincare I take is my Aesop moisturiser. I wash with water as I never wear makeup on flights. Make sure you check your bottles are not 125ml. I have had too many moisturisers thrown in the customs bins around the world´s airports because I clearly have no memory. 100ml is the limit! I also use Black Chicken´s deodorant paste as it is the best thing ever invented.

Finally, attitude... flying is all about sharing small spaces harmoniously. No one likes flying unless they are in 1st class or are sedated! These days I spend my time chasing a child around the plane. Make friends with the people around you, and those who are stretching in the back of the plane (it kills time having a chat). Ask a single parent if they need help (even if they don´t take you up on the offer, they won´t feel so alone) and finally my biggest tip... when getting in and out of your seat PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, place your free hand on YOUR seat to push yourself up and out, not on the person´s seat in front of you!

Hope this has helped some of you.

What are your travel tips you´ve learnt over the years? I´ve love to hear from you so I nail this trip too!

Lauren xo






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