The diapers, the bottles, the favorite paci, teddy or blankie. That's just the beginning of packing for baby. It's enough to make some parents' heads spin.
But Rania Kfuri of Westfield Mass., started taking her oldest daughter, nicknamed Birdie, on overseas excursions when she was a mere 2-months-old. "A lot of my friends who had young children would say to me, 'How is it that you travel so easily with her'?" So,this mom of two girls, ages 2 and 4, recently launched a business to share her secrets and provide parents with tools to be on the go with grace.
"Moms really do know best, I've come to find, because you're in it," says Kfuri, who named her line of travel bags Free Like Birdie, which are made in a vibrant green fabric that is her daughter's favorite color. "I wasn't really able to find that in the marketplace, something really specifically treating young children as travelers in their own right."
The luggage, intended for infants through age 4, comes in three styles: the Diaper Pouch, the Quick Change Pouch and the Weekender, all waterproof with venting systems and snap handles. And they're not just ordinary satchels. Each style contains two distinct sides, accessible with separate zippers, marked "clean" and "dirty." The bigger models also include packing charts with pictures, helping frazzled parents remember essentials.
The best part? Kfuri says her concept eliminates the dependence on plastic baggies to keep everything organized: The entire set costs $85 on www.freelikebirdie.com. Each bag is also sold individually.
With a background in international development, Kfuri has been a stay-at-home mom for the last few years. "I really see travel as an extension of education and an educational tool," she says, noting that her daughter, while small, was extremely moved by the sight of the tulips at the Keukenhof Garden during a trip to the Netherlands, proving that a sense of wanderlust at a young age builds a valuable foundation of cultural appreciation and curiosity. But, Kfuri is quick to add, a family voyage can simply mean exploration in our own neighborhoods and local museums.
"It's tremendous for children. You see them, they blossom, they take-in so much more, I think, than we adults realize."
This jet-setting mom hopes her website becomes a place parents share tips and experiences, as well as find relief by using her travel accessories, whether its on the plane or in the grocery store.
"We want people to feel more at ease, less overwhelmed and that they can be organized and efficient with their little ones," says the bubbly mompreneur. "They can travel the world! They can go anywhere!"