Mum life: I fly with my children often, and this is my 'fool-proof' travel outfit
Due to several logistical factors, my little girl, when she was a baby, had been on just over 100 flights before she turned three.
And many, many more since then.
My little boy, three and a half years her junior, was only five days old when he boarded his first flight – so brand new he didn't even have a name at that point, never mind a passport.
Now, aged eight and five, they have visited many, many countries, and because my family all live in Norway and we here in Ireland, we fly back and forth between Dublin and Oslo at least ten times a year – in other words; when it comes to travelling with children, I feel like we are pretty much pros at this stage.
And while I am a big fan of making sure I have packed a hard-working and practical way when it comes to my hand-luggage, another area where I have learned a few lessons is dressing for flights – especially when you fly with kids.
Why do you need to dress a certain way for flying with kids, I hear you say. And what I have to say to that is that with kids; you just need to be comfortable – and prepared for every eventuality.
With that in mind, I think I've found the best mummy travel outfit formula. Here are the exact items I mix and match on a flight, depending on season and the destination.
1. Flat shoes
Comfort is key, mamas – and also, you need to be able to leg it after your toddler when he decides to make a run for it while you are still being frisked in security.
I love Converse as much as the next woman, but laces can come undone, and sometimes, like when you have a baby in a carrier or a toddler who's hand you're afraid to let go of for even a seconds, slip-ons are a godsend.
Another option is ballet shoes, so easy to slip on and off, and if you opt for a quality pair, like these Tory Burch ones, they will instantly make any outfit look more chic and polished.
2. A roomy handbag
As well as my own bits and bobs, when travelling with kids, you are also no doubt carrying around things like dummies, bottles, toys, iPads, headphones, snacks, spare toys, a change of tiny clothes, books or e-readers, nappies and whatever else you find you need onboard.
This requires space, and you want a roomy bag that will hold all this. I personally always travel with my trusty Longchamp Le Pliage and use smaller inserts to keep it organized and hold everything. For instance, I have a small bag /travel wallet which holds all our passports or travel documents, and other inserts for things like technology (earbuds, chargers, Kindle etc.) and snacks.
3. Black jeans or leggings
Again – comfort. Because with kids trying to sleep on you in a tight airplane seat or when you have to crawl under the seats in front of you to retract your toddler who dropped his Paw Patrol figures under there, you need to able to bend and move about.
I love Topshop's Jamie jeans, as they have so much stretch and a high waistband that's really comfortable and won't leave me exposing my backside when I am lifting suitcases or hauling kids up from the floor.
Leggings are fab too, and will work great if paired with a longer, loose jumper and slip-ons.
The reason I always opt for black these days is as with kids, there are always spills of some sort, and black just hides the mess better.
4. A long, soft scarf
A light, soft scarf, like this cashmere one from Lucy Nagle is one of the most versatile items you can pack while traveling.
Not only does it serve as a fashion accessory, and will upon landing conveniently hide any stains your t-shirt has suffered, but it can also function as a blanket for your or the kids on a chilly plane. Tired? Bundle it up to use as a pillow. Breastfeeding and want to avoid the person sitting next to you getting an eyeful? Use it as a cover while nursing.
In other words; never even think about setting foot on a place without a great scarf in tow.
5. Layers, layers, layers
Even without the kids, air travel is often an assemblage of various disparate micro-climates, from the sweat-inducing sunny tarmac to the arctic air-conditioned cabin during flight, you want to make sure you are wearing layers so you can take off or add on items of clothing as you need and see fit.
I love using soft, loose t-shirts, with a scoop or v-neck (Zara and H&M both have some great options), and using either a plain, fitted hoodie or a wrap cardigan over, meaning I can take off the other layer if I get to hot or add it back on should I feel a little cold.
Bonus: You have an extra item of clothihg to use as a make-shift pillow or as something to drape over them should the kids nod off.