Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Journey of Our Traveling Backpacks

A Family Afar


Published:

Jon Bailey and Triton Klugh with their daughters, Ava (left, age 11) and Sophia (13), in Costa Rica

Since our girls were tiny, we’ve always traveled as a family. The destinations have been both pedestrian and exotic. The kids have been from Italy to Costa Rica, and Mexico to Florida.     

Like most parents, our anxiety about travel never stems from the destination, nor the hotel we’ve chosen, the activities we’ve booked, or the sights we’ll see. It’s the unknown horror of the flight that will deliver us to our destination, and how to avoid being those parents. You know the ones—anxious to calm their screaming kid; frantically singing songs and stuffing little mouths with Goldfish crackers while desperately walking up and down the aisle just to keep little hands away from everything and everyone.

Admit it: You’ve given those parents a dirty look served up with a quick side of judgment: I would never allow my kids to behave like that on a plane… I did it too. Before I became a parent.

Yep, we learned this lesson quick. Thus, the advent of the Traveling Backpack: A holy grail filled with items to keep each of our girls entertained for those long plane rides. Each is filled with age-appropriate activities—books, stickers, art supplies, and games—anything to hold their attention for more than a few minutes. There may be a few surprises packed in, favorite snacks or a new cuddly stuffed animal. Adding a journal for each trip is also a great option. Kids can chronicle their own adventures and experiences in each book and paste keepsakes they’ve collected, creating their own “Places I’ve Visited” library.

“Admit it: You’ve given those parents a dirty look served up with a quick side of judgment: I would never allow my kids to behave like that on a plane… I did it too. Before I became a parent.”

This actually works. We flew all the way to Paris when the kids were six and eight, and didn’t hear a wayward peep out of either of them. The practice is still in place.

The Traveling Backpacks have evolved. The girls have grown older and stuffed animals don’t carry the cachet they once did. Now The Backpacks are brimming with headphones, homework, issues of Teen Vogue, iPads filled with back episodes of Vampire Diaries, and other tween angst.

At home, each Backpack is tucked away in a safe, hidden place. The girls know the routine. When The Backpacks come out, we’re about to embark on a family adventure, and it’s like Christmastime again! The Traveling Backpacks have a special meaning to them, associated with fun and family, surprise and delight. And to us? The Backpacks mean we’re prepared parents who can overcome any obstacle; that our girls will be well-behaved little darlings.

That’s what we tell ourselves, anyway. And if all else fails, there’s always a little dose of Benadryl. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Postcard from Italy: 8 Ways to Experience the European Country

San Diego Magazine art director Sydnie Goodwin recently traveled to Rome, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast

Where to Eat, Drink, Stay, and Explore in Kaua‘i

In this lush landscape, island time is for real. Unwind at rustic plantation towns, wild coastal trails, and locavore meals served under thatched roofs.

A Family Afar: The Benefits of Staying Close to Home

Our travel blogger dad celebrates a family milestone with a staycation—and realizes you don't have to journey far to reap the benefits of travel
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. San Diego's Best Restaurants 2018
    Dig into the 260 winners defining San Diego’s food scene in 2018
  2. San Diego's Best Restaurant of 2018: The Finalists
    San Diego Magazine's Best Restaurants issue comes out in June. Here are food critic Troy Johnson's finalists for the best of the best.
  3. The Coolest Things Happening in San Diego Beer Right Now
    A dive into the new, notable, and lesser-known in our city’s beer scene
  4. Good Night, Cafe Chloe
    San Diego’s beloved French bistro is closing due to California’s unfair labor laws
  5. Pacific Gate: Downtown Living at its Finest
    Bosa Development brings Super Prime luxury to Downtown San Diego
  6. 5 Hot San Diego Pools That Are Open to the Public
    Where to go for lounging, sipping, dipping, or attending a grown-up pool party
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Vote Now for Your Orangetheory Winner!

Winners will be announced at our Sweat event on May 12

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

AquaVie: 10 Reasons It’s Downtown’s Best Kept Secret

The best workout and spa getaway around? It’s actually right underneath your nose.

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags