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What to Pack When Traveling With Kids: My Experience


A few weeks ago, something great happened. My son Kitty and I got to visit Dubai for four days. It was Kitty’s first time out of the country, and it was my first time into the Middle East (transit flights don’t count). Our Dubai trip together was such an awesome experience for both of us – we had lots of fun and even more importantly –it made for some great bonding moments.

So where did it all begin? I had earlier received an invitation from Emirates to sample their kid-friendly flights with one of my children. Destination: Dubai. I accepted, rather happily I must say :). I’d flown Emirates to Bali, Indonesia in January this year and I had loved their in-flight service, so I was elated that I would have the opportunity to fly them again, with my son in tow.

Read: Mummy Tales in Bali, Indonesia

I had tried to organize for Baba Kitty and Ello to travel with us to Dubai at the same time, but due to some circumstances it eventually became not possible to do so, hence it ended up being just Kitty and I. The fact that we weren’t going to travel together as a family to the very enviable Dubai was, I must admit, a down moment for me, but because things don’t always go the way we want them to, I accepted and decided to look on the brighter side of life. Because I’m an optimist like that :). So for the next couple of blog posts, allow me to take you through our Emirates and Dubai adventures with Kitty. Yaaay!

My boys. These boys are so close, closer than brothers :)
These my  boys; my legacies. These boys are so close, closer than brothers 🙂


Now, even though I’d known about the trip two months in advance, I only got to pack about an hour and a half before we left the house. Don’t ask. I’m a very last-minute person.

Our trip was from Monday to Thursday, and because I had heard that Dubai is hot, I packed light clothing for us. I realized that it’s actually very easy to pack for a boy. I just threw in 5 pairs of shorts, 5 t-shirts, 2 long-sleeved t-shirts, 2 sets of swimming trunks, PJ’s, a pair of crocs, a pair of sandals, a pair of denim pants and his personal effects. For me, I just packed some 3 light dresses, 2 pairs of shorts, 3 very light sleeveless tops, PJ’s, my swimming attire, sandals and personal effects. That’s all.

I also threw in a thermometer, fever-reliever, an anti-histamine, elastoplast and an antiseptic, just in case I’d need them. I also enquired about the hospital nearest to where we would be staying. My five-year motherhood experience has taught me some very invaluable lessons, chief among them the importance of having all the things I’ve just mentioned at all times -traveling or not.

While packing, I threw in Kitty's clothes first. The amount of spiderman attire he has though hmm..
While packing, I threw in Kitty’s clothes first. The number of spiderman items the boys have though.. smh…

Here are some packing tips of mine:

–         Travel light in case you are planning on buying stuff in Dubai -such as gifts for your family and friends. For our flight, Emirates allowed a baggage allowance of 30kgs per person, meaning that we were allowed 60kgs between the two of us. Not bad, especially for the return journey when your luggage will definitely be heavier. It was also interesting to learn that on an Emirates flight, infants who are not occupying a seat are given a free 10kg baggage allowance. Definitely a plus!

–         Always know your baggage limits even before you start packing. This is usually indicted on your ticket, so be sure to confirm that first. Otherwise you risk packing more than you’re allowed, then you’ll have to pay for the extra kg’s.

The Carry-On

My carry-on luggage was this denim ruck-sack of mine that I got from Jericho Market. I love it because it’s tough and it accommodates my stuff very well. In it I had my laptop, camera, recorder, notebook, pen and our sunglasses. Then I had this other sling bag that contained the all-important documents:

  • My passport
  • Kitty’s passport
  • Our e-visa documents
  • Our printed tickets
  • Our printed hotel reservation details
  • Wallet
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Lip balm, pocket tissues, wet wipes, small petroleum jelly et.al.
Without these where would we be otherwise going?
Without these where would we be otherwise going?


Kitty was so excited about the trip. It wasn’t his first flight since we had flown down to the Coast last December for a family vacation, but what he was excited about is that he would be going to this far far away land called Dubai. He was particularly more excited about the sound of the name because he kept saying it over and over again. “Dubai. Dubai. Dubai”. Yaye Kitty!

At the check-in area, we found a sizable queue, but from what I could see, at least it was moving fast so I knew we wouldn’t have to stand for too long. Well, good fortune seemed to be on our side because when one of the ground Emirates staff  saw that I had a young child, he assisted by getting me to the online check-in counter that only had one person on the queue. And in no time, we were checked in! By the way the weight of all our luggage was just 11.6kg’s. For the two of us for four days. I patted myself on the back for being a light packer.


See Also: The Day I Lost my Son in a Shopping Mall

By the way, if you’re travelling with a toddler, DO NOT let go of his/her hand. Kids can be very curious and adventurous and if you’re not careful, they can wander away and in a microsecond you lose them. And me, coming from the background where I had once lost Kitty in a shopping mall, I wasn’t going to take any chances. His hand remained super-glued to mine. Everything my left hand did his right hand did it with me –through the check-in counters, Immigration and while perambulating the Duty Free area. The only time we were very briefly separated was when going through the security checks. Otherwise all the time we were at the airport, I DID NOT let go of that little hand weeeh!

In my next post tomorrow, I continue with our Dubai tales, so make sure you check in again. Keep updated by following Mummy Tales on Facebook and Twitter: @MummyTales

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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.



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