Packing, What to Take?
What to take and how much of everything do you pack? I personally hate the washing aspect of being on the road for a number of weeks so I tend to take quite a lot of clothes for everyone to limit the number of times we need to think about doing laundry. In saying that, we usually only travel with one large suitcase, a smaller wheelie bag for shoes and toiletries, the kids small wheelie backpack for toys, our day pack and the camera bag (this has now been eliminated as we have a much smaller, digital video camera). The two larger bags we check in on flights and the remainder we carry on with us.
Nappies: I would generally take at least a week’s worth with me on previous trips so that we wouldn’t have to race around to locate supplies as soon as we arrived at our destination. I would squeeze nappies in to the top of the suitcase, in small side pockets and any available spaces to fit as many as I could once everything else was packed. It was great the first trip we did where we did not have to worry about packing nappies!
Our trips are often 3-5 weeks long if going overseas and we usually move around every few days. Occassionally we do a week long trip just to one destinations and our packing requirementsa are usually much the same whether one week or five. Depending on the destination, obviously slight modifications are required to cover the climates and style of holiday you will be taking.
Here is the list of what we take with us on our trips with our children from the age of 3 plus:
Two shampoo and conditioners (in small, refillable travel bottles), toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, soap, deodorant, moisturiser (small refillable travel bottle), hair brush, comb, hair bands, razor, sanitary items – (panty liners are great for the hot, sticky climates), contact lenses (daily disposables), travel clothes line and some laundry powdered detergent in a zip lock bag (for emergency hand washing as required).
We use the hotel toiletries whenever they are provided but it is good to have your own for when there are none or they are not replenished on occasions during your stay. I personally only like using my own shampoo and conditioner but the kids and Jeff are fine using the hotel supplies.
Sunscreen, insect repellent (50% Deet is best for Asia, although if you have sensitive skin you may want to use a more natural product), plasters, antiseptic cream, Panadol (Paracetamol or Aspirin for adults and kids), cough and cold preparation (Demazin for kids, Sudafed for adults), antibacterial hand gel, paw paw cream (helps stop bites itching, heals cuts/grazes and keep the germs away), tweezers, nail clippers, thermometer, alcohol wipes, rehydration sachets, wet wipes, small scissors, sewing kit, anti fungal cream, anti diarrhoea medication and motion sickness medication.
We take as few shoes as possible to save on space. We all wear our trainers on the plane for all flights as they are the bulkiest and weigh the most. Then we pack the following:
- 1 pair of sandals each (good, comfortable walking sandals)
- Rubber thongs (for showers),
- 1 pair of shoes each for us to wear out at night if required.
I try to take close to a weeks’ worth of clothes for everyone so that we don’t need to wash every few days.
This is what we packed for each person:
- T-Shirts x 7
- Long Sleeve T-shirts x 2 (Cooler Destinations)
- Shorts x 6
- Jackets x 1 (Thick & Warm for cool destinations)
- Jackets x 1 (Lightweight for warmer destinations)
- Dresses x 1
- Pyjamas x 2
- Long/3/4 Pants x 3
- Underwear x 10
- Socks x 3
- Bras x 3
- Swimwear x 1
Plus, one set of thin, light weight long sleeved tops and long pants for everyone to wear in really hot destinations to protect against the sun, for mosquito or higher malaria risk areas (if applicable).
Day Pack (Back pack)
I like to take a back pack that has a number of zippered sections and a drink holder on each side as I find this makes packing and searching for things so much easier. If you have some smaller sections then you can easily find everything you are looking for, you know exactly which pocket contains that particular item. It saves having to fish around in one large main
section where everything falls to the bottom and you have to struggle everytime you need something.
This is what we take:
Tissues, wet wipes, lip balm, sunglasses, insect repellent, sunscreen (roll on), purse/wallet, travellers cheques, guide book, jackets, sweets to chew or suck on to help with children’s
ears on flights, food bag for snacks and water (At airports now you will need to take through an empty bottle and you can re-fill once you have passed all the check points and immigration or buy one when you get through).
In the camera bag we have the: Digital Camera, Video Camera, chargers for both camera batteries, extra batteries, extra memory cards for the camera, camera cables, mobile phone chargers and chargers for any kids electronic games/iPods etc.
Kids’ Toy Bag
Younger Kids: We take this on the plane with us I tend to buy some low cost surprise items from the discount stores prior to leaving and I pack a few in this bag for the first leg of the journey and hide a few others away in other bags to bring out later in the journey. It helps keep the younger kids amused when there are a few new items they have never seen before.
We took this on a trip with a six year old and an almost four year old: Their favourite toy to sleep with, sticker books, textas, pencils and crayons (retractable ones to save having to sharpen), paper, scissors (pack in checked luggage), glue stick, rubber, magnetic activity board (create a scene), play dough (small tub or two), a roller and a few small cutters (these are great for airplane meal trays), toy cars, electronic games (small hand held from discount store), small doll and a scrapbook each to use as their journal.
When they were older (7 & 9) we would never leave home without their Nintendo DS, MP3 players, iPod or whatever the current favourite electronic devices are and a couple of books – that is all they require to be entertained for hours.
(Age 11 & 13) we of course had: iPod, Nintendo DS, teenagers phone (only to use when we have Wi-Fi), a book or two and a note pad for a travel journey or to draw in.
( Age 14 & 16) these days the most important item for both kids is their phone. Our son will still take his DS and a few games if we have a lot of flights with plenty of waiting time at airports. They still both take a notebook and keep a travel journey of sorts on most of our trips.
The kids only use the electronic devices when we are on long legs of the journey, either on flights or long drives and then at night when we get back to our room they may spend a bit of time on them. Very important for our teenagers to stay in touch with all their friends of course – WIFI is their best friend these days!