Carolina to Capetown | Part 3 - Packing & The Flight
Carolina to Cape Town, How We Enjoyed a Month in Africa with Our 3 Year Old
Part 3: Packing and The Flight
Packing began 2 months before we left. No time like the present to get something done and not have to worry with it as it gets closer. In school, I would complete the syllabus the day it was given so I didn't have things hanging over my head. I don't like coming up on a trip and stressing the night before and trying to pack trying to remember every little thing I may need. I'd rather start packing and as I think of something I may need adding it and the week before the trip going through everything and removing half of it. This is the opposite of how John likes to pack. He does it the night before and hopes for the best. But I also pack for me and Poppy and am in charge of entertainment and medicine and anything additional outside of clothing we may need. He is in charge of navigation, day planning, eating suggestions, grocery store, alcohol and cooking once we arrive. We have a pretty great unspoken expectation about our travel roles.
Things we needed, thought we needed, packed and wished we had packed:
1. bathing suits (2 for Poppy, 1 for me) 2. changes of clothing for 7 days for me and Poppy and 10 days worth of roos (me: sunhat, 2 pair of pants, sweatpants/leggings (mainly for airplane travel), 5 tank tops, 3 long skirts (used for airplane travel or cooler days,) 3 long sleeve shirts, 2 pair of socks, 1 pair of sneakers and 1 pair of flip flops, 1 long black dress that could be for a nicer dinner or for a beach day, 1 pair of shorts, 3 knee length everyday skirts) (Poppy: sunhat, 4 pair of pants, 3 long sleeve shirts, 6 skirts with shorts in them, 4 short sleeve dresses, 2 bathing suits, 2 fleece zip up hoodies, 3 tank tops, 3 t-shirts, 10 pair of roos, 2 pair of socks, 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of flip flops)
Poppy being 3 and wanting to make her outfits each and every day chose everything she packed and reapproved it the week before we left. Upon arrival, she stated she wouldn't wear any of her skirts because they had shorts in them and she doesn't like shorts, that's what boys wear. So, that left us with half of her warddrobe that we had packed. We tried for about a week to convince her otherwise but finally used one of our bags as an "extra" to leave in the car and not bring into every hotel.
I over packed as well, didn't use my shorts or long black dress or sweatpants.
3. Medicines/Toiletries: a bar of Laundry soap to do laundry with once a week (Thank you, Candace!) Tylenol (day and pm for adults) Tylenol for Poppy Ibuprofen for adults and kids Benadryl for adults and kids Cortosone Band-Aids Neosporin Tums fingernail clippers Anti-diarrhea pills Prilosec leftover ear drops from an ear infection, Cipro Anbasol contact solution suntan lotion toothbrushes toothpaste mini lotions/shampoos/conditioners from previous hotels razor hairbrush
In hindsight, I could have left the lotion/shampoo/conditioner/suntan lotion at home but I didn't know how long it would be before we could get to a store...
4. snorkeling gear for Poppy, mask, snorkel and flippers (only used them once, could have gone without them but you never know! When we went to St. Lucia she used them everyday and had a blast sharing them with the local kids!)
Poppy and I shared a rolling suitcase that fits for carry on luggage, in the states anyways.
In our backpack that was going us with us on the plane no matter what: ~ cash ($1500), passports, travel documents, credit cards, health cards, emergency contact info, cell phones, drivers licenses ~ Her "hoppus" which are her loveys she can't sleep without ~ snacks, some that she rarely gets in case we were having a melt down or needed something to really excite her including fruit rope, chocolate and suckers. ~ small bags of trail mix, travel size containers of peanut butter, mash ups, apples and carrots. ~ 2 coloring books ~ 20 kids books including Fancy Nancy, Pippi Longstocking and phonics books that she likes to read to us, Stranger Danger, Saying No among others ~ pens, markers, colored pencils, stamps ~ plain paper -nail clippers ~ silly putty ~ stickers galore ~ play dough ~ Benadryl (adult and kid) ~ Tylenol/ibuprofen (adult and kid) ~ gum for air pressure changes ~ change of clothes/roos/long sleeve shirt for me and Poppy
In John's carry on backpack went the things I wanted that wouldn't fit into the other backpack, (basically, I got two backpacks:) ~ laptop ~ card reader ~ phone charger ~ computer charger ~ D3s ~ 70-200mm, 24mm, 50mm lenses ~ his wine magazines ~ 3 books (1 unnecessary as I never read "Water for Elephants") And there was still tons of room!
We also took an umbrella stroller and Poppy's Britax Boulevard Carseat, she is 3, almost 4 and we could have left the stroller at home, as we only used it in the airports and most the time it was to put our luggage on and she walked.
Our plan: We strap the two roller bags together (John's roller bag and mine with me and Poppy's clothes/meds/toiletries) and John pulls these and carries one backpack. I carry another backpack and push the stroller with Poppy and her car seat laid on top of her stroller upside down.
We checked in online the morning of (flight was at 6pm) and printed our boarding passes, which we usually can't do traveling internationally! Pretty great not having to stand in line at check in counter!
This works great through security until we get to our gate where KLM Airlines comes through and weighs all of our bags. Although, we are allowed 1 carry on and one personal/pp, for a total of 6 bags, and we only have 4 which abide by the size standards, all of our bags are over 16kg and none are allowed on the plane as is.
Frantic repacking begins. Both roller bags go under the plane, all 3 adult books are put in roller bags as they weigh a ton and all that stays between 2 bags are kids books, computers, cameras, lenses, passport/documents/cash, snacks and medicines, toothbrushes, toothpaste and chap stick. We went and bought another kids book and also got a large plastic bag which we split all these things amongst. We gate checked the stroller and put Poppy in the car seat on the plane.
We discovered that a car seat may go on the plane but you have to have a window seat or if you are in the middle rows you have to have them in a middle seat that isn't blocking anyone getting out in the case of an emergency. We had to plead with a group to switch seats with us so we could have her carseat on board as we knew that was the only way she would sleep on the plane.
We were on the the plane finally. Poppy had dinner in the airport, fell asleep before takeoff and slept 8 hours to touch down. Couldn't have been a better overnight flight.
Super great flight, both John and I slept for 6 or so hours, they served dinner and breakfast on the flight and there is free alcohol! Too bad I couldn't enjoy it...
When we arrived we thought we had 1 hour but that was until they started boarding, which meant we went through security again, so we actually had a 3 hour layover. We had a croissant and played on the moving walkways for an hour and then went back through security and boarded our 11 hour flight to South Africa!
Poppy slept about 6 of the 11 hours and then entertained herself with stamps of fairies and princesses (THANK YOU Sue, Reese, Cole and Rick!) read books, ate dinner and colored. She didn't even ask for the TV the whole way there although KLM Airlines had lots of kid's TV options.
She didn't cry until the descent where she said her ears hurt her sooo bad. We gave her water, another passenger gave her gum but nothing was helping. She cried a cry I have never heard before on the way down and once we got off the airplane. Tired or hurting or a combination of both? I didn't give her any medicine and waited until the morning when she got ear drops.
Originally, we were going to pick up our rental car that night and drive to our hotel, but since we landed around 11pm, were exhausted and had no idea where we were going, they drive on the opposite side of the road (left) and the drivers seat is on the left, we opted to have a driver take us to the hotel and have our rental car delivered the following day.
We arrived and it took us awhile to check in but once we got in it was amazing. We were in Camp's Bay by the ocean but we had no idea the beauty we were about to behold until the morning. We couldn't fall asleep until around 2am and woke at 1030 am to a knock on the door, the rental car had arrived!
When we opened our eyes, the beautiful ocean was outside our window, cliffs, ocean spray and the beautiful bright sun!! When we opened the front door to our hotel, Table Mountain was right outside covered in fog that just fell around the mountain cliffs.