Travelling with twins and the Art of Packing

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Welcome back to my Blog where I will be exploring the world of twins and reassuring you that life with twins will get easier as they get older.

So is packing really an Art? You better believe it. Anyone who has ever travelled anywhere with twins knows that how you pack your car will make or break your arrival at your destination and the start of your holiday. Pack well and your arrival will go really smoothly, the transition from travelling to getting settled made simpler when the twins’ food and nappies can be located easily. Pack badly and you will be on the verge of a nervous breakdown with two screaming babies and a frazzled spouse by the time you have up-ended every bag in search of soothers and baby wipes.

Yes, packing is most certainly an art. We grew up in a house where even packing gifts was, and still is, considered an art. My dad, with my sister following in his footsteps, can wrap gifts so beautifully and with such finesse and precision that they wouldn’t look out of place in Fortnum and Masons Christmas Windows. The paper must be the right size, the folds neat and precise and the ribbon the exact length to yield a perfect bow. These are gifts that deserve to be opened slowly with dignity and appreciation, no ripping off the wrapper at warp-speed here. The same principle of attention and care was given to packing shopping bags, overnight bags, suitcases and car boots. You could say we learned from the best!

Packing is definitely an art and like all of the finest arts and crafts there is a method to the madness. Cramming daft amounts of baby gear into your car boot is a science and, like everything else relating to twins, some simple tricks will help you master the process.

  • Give yourself enough time. This sounds so obvious but no-one does it! We all underestimate how long it will take to get all of this clobber into the boot of the car. Easy mistake to make. But to save yourself having a panic attack and an argument, start much earlier than you think you need to. Plan to finish packing with enough time leftover to have a leisurely lunch and you might just get it done in time.
  • Picture the boot before you choose which suitcase you are going to bring. If the travel cots, potties, travel high chairs and nappies will fill your boot then there isn’t much point in packing a large suitcase, better to pack smaller bags which can be stuffed into gaps instead.
  • Large heavy stuff goes in first.
  • Like goes with like. That phrase gives me déjà-vu for some reason; I think I first heard it in maths class. I’m not suggesting that algebra will help you pack your car better (although I’m sure a maths enthusiast might argue that it could) but the principle of keeping similar things together is certainly an important one. Keep all baby foodstuffs in one bag, all nappy changing gear together, all clothes together etc. It will make life so much easier for you when you arrive if you can easily grab the baby food and nappies in seconds without having to empty out each case to find the baby wipes.
  • Before you pack it – ask yourself what would happen if you left it behind. If the sky wouldn’t fall in then maybe you don’t really need it…
  • Leave a bit of space. You might pack your cases beautifully and carefully before you go with everything folded down to its smallest size in ways that will take up the least amount of room. Rest assured that you will not do this on the way home! Things get shoved into bags and every available space in the car with as much abandon on the way home as the care you took on the way out. There must be a name for that? In the same way that the “Buttered Toast” phenomenon says that your toast will usually fall jam-side down, there must a phenomenon that says that even if you used all of the nappies you packed and didn’t buy anything extra, you will still have less room coming home than you did going.

The great thing is, this phase doesn’t last long. I still laugh when I picture us heading out on that first trip away when our twins were four and half months old. Every inch of space was crammed full with gear, I barely had room for my feet and we could only just about see out of the back window. Our twins are almost five years old now and last summer we started early packing the car for our holidays. In went the suitcases, and that was it! So fast! So easy! And so much room left over. We spent a while going back over everything to see what we could have forgotten and figure out how we could possibly have packed everything and still have so much space leftover. No bags under my feet or potties blocking the rear-view mirror. So if you are still trying to figure out how to go anywhere with your twins without packing up your entire house, take heart, everything gets easier as the years go by, even packing for holidays!

If you have some time to spare and want to read some other blogs there are some great ones posted at the “Multiple Madness” link below:

Mami2Five
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