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We are all packed for our 10 week family trip to the US and Caribbean.
It was trickier than our last trip to SE Asia as we will be there in Winter, which will be quite cold in some places we are going and hot in others. We also have a smaller suitcase than last time, although we are still taking two, and have a larger travel cot which takes up about a quarter of the space in one of the suitcases. This means we have about 1.75 suitcases to pack everything
We are also taking a back pack each. Z’s and S’s will just have a few toys that they will help choose. Z’s backpack is actually one of his favourite things to play with, so that is a win win!
Below are some of my reasons behind what we are taking as well as a complete packing list. I regret not publishing a complete packing list last time because:
So here we go!
We are not taking a pram this time. We found it invaluable on our last trip, but the extra item pushed us over what we could comfortably get around with. In Asia, we could afford cabs when we had to travel with our luggage. This time we can not. We need to be able to catch public transport with our luggage and the kids, so the pram is staying at home.
I am a bit worried about this. We will take the ergo carrier for Z, but S is only three and can’t walk forever. She actually only just had a check up and is crazy big for her age at 21kg and 108cm, so carrying her is not much of an option either. We recently got rid of our double pram at home, so she has been walking more and more. Hopefully most of the time it won’t be too much of a problem. It is going to be challenging at times though.
Z is no lightweight either, coming in at 14kg and is also tall for his age. I don’t know why I have such big children. Oh well, extra exercise!
On our road trip, we will probably buy a cheap stroller since getting around with it won’t be a problem then and it will mean we can consider things that involve a few hours of walking. Read more about our thoughts about taking a travel stroller.
As mentioned above, we are taking a travel cot. We need Z to be contained when he sleeps and this seems like the easiest option. We are staying in many varied accommodation forms, so it seems safest to take our own.
The travel cot we took last time was quite successful, but the inability to zip Z in gave us some dramas. This one is a fair bit bigger which will suit his bigger size and zips up. It is a KinderKot and I got it for a great price from someone on eBay who bought it and then never used it. If need be, S would sleep happily in it too I think, so this gives us some flexibility in places where I have only been able to find rooms with one double bed and a cot. You can check out a similar travel cot here.
We have become reluctant occasional co-sleepers with Z since our last trip, due to his ongoing sleep issues, so I considered not worrying about the travel cot, but I’m hoping he will sleep better with us all in the room. I also don’t want to have to go to bed every time he does.
We are taking a tin of soy formula and two bottles. Z still has bottles at sleep times and the formula is easier than having to ensure we always have fresh soy milk, which we will then struggle to keep cold.
We are taking about 90 nappies, which takes up about 1/3 of a suitcase and some of our backpacks. S still wears nappies at night, and Z all the time. At least we are not worried about finding ones big enough this time. We took that many as it should get us through the first part of the trip and the cruise – I don’t want to know how much they would cost to buy on a cruise ship! And that is what we could fit in the suitcase.
We are hiring car seats with our car rental. This is not cheap at US$92 each, but there is no way we are carting around our own. We thought about one of us getting the car and then buying some cheaper ones in a shop, but that just seemed too hard for not enough cost saving, given the others would have to wait in the car rental place while this occurred. I think in most places we go, S does not technically need one, but we will feel safer with her in one, although it will only be a booster given her size.
I am a bit embarrassed writing the electronics we will take as it seems like a lot for a family with such young kids.
We are taking two laptops, one for J, one for me. We will both use them to work while we are travelling. We are also taking an iPad and an iPad Mini. We actually just bought the iPad Mini specifically for this trip. We are so worried how Z will cope on the plane, and his concentration span has recently become long enough that he is able to play with the iPad for reasonable stretches of time, so we are hoping this will help. They are both set up with eBooks, their favourite shows and lots of apps.
I have read a lot of discussion in family travel groups about the pros and cons of taking tablets for kids, but for the people who think they are evil, I would be more than happy to hear your suggestions of how to keep a 19-22 month old happy on 15+ hour flights avoiding an iPad – as I really can’t think of anything that will work for more than 10 minutes!
I have heard people say how kids shouldn’t be using them on travel days, how they should be taking it all in. I think they are not really thinking about 15 hour flights when they say this – does anyone find just looking around interesting for any length of time on a long flight? Or a kid who is stuck in our laps. Or a kid who is too young to really have much of an idea of what is going and is probably going to get very frustrated thanks to not understanding. if it just gives us an hour of peace, it will be worth it.
We are also taking my iPhone and a camera. The iPhone will be my camera, our GPS (we have bought the TomTom USA app) and our phone (we will buy a sim card once we are there). It will also be internet access for us when we are on the road or when wifi isn’t available.
We are going to take a layered approach. This means that we will take summer clothes that will work with layers underneath them. We will take the kids clothes that they have nearly grown out of from last winter and throw them out before we go to the Dominican Republic. We may also buy some cheap warmer clothes during the road trip to keep us warm enough if we need to. We will throw these clothes out at the end of the road trip too.
We hope to buy some new clothes on the way home, as we are all in need of some for back home. We imagine we will probably fly home with an extra bag because of this.
We are taking small plastic bowls and some cutlery. This was so useful last time and will help us self cater along the way.
We took a towel last time and rarely used it, so we won’t take one this time and will just buy one if we need it.
Josh and I are taking 4 outfits each, combo of trousers, shorts, skirt, dress (latter two are just me!), t shirts, jumper, underwear, hats, bathers, enclosed shoes and thongs.
For a different perspective, check out what travel essentials another travelling family couldn’t travel without.
What are we missing?!
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