Packing time! Some love it, some hate it. For the last 4 years we have been carrying around not only our stuff, but also everything Lu needs. Sometimes we take more, sometimes less – it all depends on where we are travelling to and how will we travel around. When we go to Slovenia (my home country) in the summer and winter, we just pack the car and take extra things like a bicycle and football balls etc. When we fly we really take care to bring as little as we can. Sometimes this means just one middle size bag for the 3 of us, sometimes 2 travelling backpacks. Despite the wish to take as little as possible, there are some things which we almost always pack. Many of those come in handy also if travelling without kids – read which are our favourite 15!
My favourite travel companion, it comes in handy in various situations so I always pack it whereever we go. Whether for cutting an apple for your little one or opening a bottle of wine for you two, spreading something on the bread, open a can or use a toothpick! The choice is endless 😉
Okay safety first – but, we don´t exaggerate! We always take some patches and pills against high fever, one pack of throat bonbons (because I´m very sensitive to the cold AC air in some busses and planes), sometimes also a Bepanthen spray or ointment. That´s it! You don´t really need much more, unless you have allergies or similar. If you get really sick it is anyway the best to go to a local doctor / hospital or buy the medicine at a pharmacist. Lu had fever one time in Morocco but it just lasted 1 day – other than that we always stayed healthy (knocking on wood!) ;).
3 FOLDABLE BAG:
Okay this one might be more for the girls, but anyway 😉 I´m crazy about these – they take up little space, but when you need one, they are priceless! Us mothers always end up carrying tons of stuff for our little ones, occasionally the man of the family also throws in his jacket or something, on the way to the hotel you stop at a market and buy fruits and the bag is quickly full. It´s a great thing for the beach also (it gets dry quickly) or for packing snacks and some extra clothes for a bus/train ride. I use it also at home when I go shopping and I in general avoid buying plastic bags. This one here accompanies me already for 9 years (I can´t believe I didn´t lose it yet). Another good news – you can buy them for as little as 5€.
4 “ANIMAL FRIEND”:
Your children´s favourite stuffed animal is normally very important to them, therefore a must to take with. It makes them feel safe and secure and helps to go to sleep. Some might have a favourite blanket or similar – definitely take that with, whatever it is. We do our best to really just take 1 of those with and not the whole “zoo” ;).
We have those little ones and we usually take 3 with us – the can be very useful for attaching jackets, water bottles or shoes to backpacks for example. They are easy to pack because they are so small.
6 WATER BOTTLE + BOWL:
Not just any water bottle, but exactly this one! After trying out a few of them in the past we are sticking to this one for quite some time now. It can be attached to a backpack or on the belt, the size is good also. They are also available in “grown-ups versions”. Beside the bottle we always take at least one little bowl that closes and one spoon. Inside are snacks, vegetables, nuts, sometimes also dinner leftovers ;).
7 HEAD TORCH:
Lu just got this one recently and already has much fun with it! He runs around at home in the dark and I think this might be a great thing to take with on our next adventures!
8 TRAVEL TOWEL:
This one is the most useful when you are going some place warm, but we have used it also after showering and in parks where Lu always runs straight to a water fountain or a lake. It takes up little space and is very light – you won´t even notice you have it with.
9 TRAVEL DETERGENT:
This is really a must when travelling with kids! I don´t have to explain how dirty their clothes can get every day, right? If we are going for more than a week, we always take some detergent with and wash the clothes in the sink. In Asia it might be easier to just find a laundry service, but that´s not the case n Europe and Africa.
Sometimes you simply need one! Especially if you prefer to wash your clothes on the way, rather than carrying 30kg around. So if you wash them, you also have to hang them ;). A short rope doesn´t take up much space in your bag anyway.
11 ZIPLOCK BAGS:
Again bags – this time plastic ones. I know I just wrote that I avoid buying plastic bags but these are a bit different. I keep reusing them and I love them, because they make order in my backpack! I simply hate it if everything is mixed and I need 15minutes to find something. Especially since I carry Lu´s clothes also. They also save lots of space (vacuum, I love you!) and keep your clothes dry in case you are walking longer distances in the rain. They come in different sizes, you can reuse them and they are not expensive at all. The only minus is, they are often too small to pack in men´s T-shirts, but Gin doesn´t mind the disorder in his bag anyway ;).
One of my favourites. This one goes with us everywhere (except when we go skiing). Mom wears it on the beach, we sit on it in parks, we use it to make shade in the car so that Lu can sleep in sooner, we used to hang it over the stroller for the same reason. It can also serve as a blanket or a pillow in buses/trains, or a shawl when the AC blows too much. If you are a woman and travelling in a Muslim country you can easily enter a mosque with this one also.
13 ELECTRIC KETTLE:
This one does take up much space and we don´t carry it around every time, but it can save the day sometimes. For a morning coffee, a quick soup to get something warm in your stomach or for making porridge – it´s especially convenient if travelling with babies.
14 SEWING SET:
Okay if you are not able to hold a needle, then just forget about taking this with you – you might just hurt yourself instead of fixing something. But if you do know how to do it, this is worth taking with.
Kids simply need some toys! For sure you won´t be able to pack their whole room or take everything they would like to take, so we have one basic rule from our first family trip on – Lu can pack his small backpack (currently it is 12L and he uses it daily for his kindergarten), he can put in as much as he wants, but he needs to carry it then. Of course it then sometimes happens that I get to carry it (that´s when the foldable bag comes in handy also), but still, he has it most of the time on his back. Usually he throws a few small cars, little paper books, crayons, drawing paper and his toy camera inside. He also carry his stuffed animal friend and water bottle. I pack a couple of board games and we´re good to go! When we are on the road with our car we of course take more stuff with.