It's that time of year, when elementary schools embark on field trips. Will you chaperone?

Having just gotten back from my son's out-of-town field trip, I speak from experience. Though I have to admit, many of you asked me to post a WTW prior to the trip. The issue I faced ... I hadn't yet experienced this type of trip, so I was unsure what would make the most sense to pack. I was open and willing to make mistakes, as always, in order for you to learn from them.

The good news, I feel really good about what I packed. I was comfortable, warm and had the opportunity to inject a bit of my personal style.

day1chaperoneWe left on a Thursday morning at 5:30am. Suitcases were loaded underneath the bus, not to be seen again until that evening. A small daypack was provided, containing a poncho, wet wipes, water bottle and school t-shirt for Friday. I also brought a bag containing essentials, such as sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm, towels, trash bags + ziploc baggies, magazines/books and a few granola bars. Looking back, I wish I had a medium-sized pack (shown left), like my partner in crime (friend/roomie/chaperone).

Knowing our day included a boat ride, beach combing and trekking through a salt marsh, I knew I needed to feel comfortable with getting wet, sandy and muddy. While I wore cords, jeans are better. Layering is essential, as you cannot predict the actual effects of the weather, as in the case of our 25 mph winds! Go with a long-sleeve under a short-sleeve tee so that you have the option to peel layers off if need be. Thank goodness for my Mountain Hardwear Mistral Hoody. I could not have survived the trip without it, as it is wind resistant. I realize white is not the ideal color for a salt marsh, but it somehow repelled mud and remained in excellent condition the entire trip.

I chose chucks for my footwear, as closed-toed shoes were recommended and I don't own a pair of Keens. I was perfectly fine with mucking them up and sticking them in the washing machine upon my evening1fieldtripchaperonereturn home. Accessories should be minimal: a silicone watch and small, non-fussy earrings will get you through.

When we arrived at the hotel, we had 30 minutes to get the kids showered and clean for the dinner cruise. Translation: no time for adults to shower. Rolling with the punches is key, as you will likely have less than 10 minutes to yourself. Pick the most important thing first, such as washing the day off of your face. Then reapply make-up, change your shirt and shoes (I was so happy in my combat boots), and head out the door for the evening. No stressing over the mud on your jeans, no one will notice ... besides, the boots will cover up the majority of it anyway. I recommend a cross-body bag or clutch for your essentials (i.e., eye drops and lipstick). Then, sit or stand back and watch 3 hours straight of dancing kids! And no, they will not invite you onto the dance floor (unfortunately).

Nineteen hours later, it was finally time to hit the hay! So my advice is to get your sleep while you can, as the activities will only continue. Day 2 consisted of a scavenger hunt through the city (history based) and a marine life center tour with a hands-on lab. No getting wet or dirty, which was an opportunity to wear one of my most comfortable pair of shoes — my combat boots (again). day2fieldtripchaperoneOur handy dandy tie-dye school t-shirts came into play, as close to 100 students/chaperones were roaming the streets. I loved this idea, as it was so easy to spot each other. I paired the school tee (black long-sleeve shirt underneath) with white jeans, belted and rolled up. And, of course, that heavenly fleece!

While you'd think (I sure did) the kids would be completely spent and want to pass out on the bus, one could only be so lucky. One brilliant parent stopped at a Redbox after breakfast that morning and picked up 3 movies ... perfect!

The biggest factors to keep in mind: (1) pack lightly: most of your clothing will be on your body, utilized in different ways, (2) layers are ever important, as they allow you to adjust to the temps as the day goes on, and (3) don't forget the little things, like sunscreen and a hair brush (I can't believe I left my brush behind after 2 days of 25 mph wind).

Now, go enjoy that field trip!


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