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Packing grrrr. A horrible job at the best of times and made worse when you are someone who takes pride in traveling as light as possible (one year trip with only a 20 liter back pack anyone?!), but now have to pack for a baby and a toddler. The light as possible isn’t very light when you have to deal with formula, nappies and beds!
We decided that, no matter what, we are only taking two big suitcases plus a couple of carry on backpacks. That is going to be hard enough to navigate with two little kids that may need to be carried (and S is big – nearly 20kg) and a stroller. I don’t think it would be possible for us to get around with any more stuff. The mechanics of how we will get around with this amount and the kids is probably the thing we worry about most with this trip.
One of the big decisions was whether to take beds for S and Z. We are not co sleepers, and do not wish to become ones, so it was either take beds or limit our accommodation options. It became apparent early on that we needed to take one for S, or spend a lot more money. Lots of places do not offer the choice of a triple, and if they do, even a mattress on the ground or a pull out sofa bed can add a lot to the price – as much as 50% more, and about 25% more was normal. We bought a child size self inflating mattress and a sleeping bag liner (for her sheets). She would have taken her favourite (“special”) blanket anyway.
Cots were easy to book and free in Malaysia and Thailand. When we had just the two week trip planned, we only booked a place if it came with a cot. This got trickier when extending to Philippines (as they tend to charge quite a bit for a cot) and Taiwan (as we wanted to rent an apartment). In the end, we decided we would have to take a travel cot for Z. Thankfully, I was able to borrow a goldbug pea pod from a friend. It is the smallest, most lightweight one I could find. Here is a similar one you can buy.
|Z trying out the peapod|
Probably the most annoying thing that we feel we need to take is a stroller. We have gone over this many times as it’s the extra item that takes us from what seems comfortable to transport to worrying that we wont be able to get around. It does feel essential though, as S just can’t go that long on her feet and is way too heavy to carry. The stroller we own (a fabulous Maclaren) also lays back fully so Z could have a nap in it if need be.
We will also take an Ergobaby Carrier and use that for Z when we leave the stroller in the hotel, or when S is the stroller. We thought about taking a smaller stroller, but the fact is that S is just too big for a small cheap stroller.
You can read more about our thoughts and recommendations about taking a travel stroller here.
Other baby gear we are taking are bottles, formula and nappies. Formula is very annoying as it takes up a fair bit of space and is heavy. Thankfully, Z turns 1 two weeks into our trip, so we will start weaning him before we go. Taking enough for our trip just wouldn’t be possible (he drinks A LOT of milk). He is also dairy intolerant, and I’m reluctant to just buy him whatever while away. As it is, we are taking 4 tins! I want to make sure we always have some in reserve in case we run into problems buying soy milk, or we just arrive somewhere late and it’s all too hard.
We will definitely have to buy nappies as we go, as we just can not take enough nor would we want to. S is still in nappies at night time, as well as Z all the time. We are going to try to take away as many of hers as possible as we are worried about her fitting in Asian sized nappies after reading how Thai nappies are small.
Another item that we are taking, after it proved very useful last time we went overseas, is a fold up booster seat. This is a fold out seat that straps onto chairs and you can then strap your baby into it. It folds up quite small and does not take up much space. In Phuket last trip, we actually found most restaurants we went to had “high chairs” but they were literally high chairs – with no straps or anything like we are used to here. We couldn’t have used them without this insert. It also works well on normal chairs.
We are also taking 4 small plastic bowls and some basic cutlery, so we can have breakfast in our room when it’s not included or other meals if we want to. Additionally, we are taking some baby food for Z (and will probably buy more while we travel), as it’s hard to know how he will go with the food. So far, he hasn’t been fussy, so hopefully that continues.
As for electronics, there is where things seem to go a bit crazy. J and I are each taking our laptops – we both need to work or study on this trip and need our own computers to be able to do this. We recently purchased an iPad for the trip, and I already think that this is going to be our most valuable item as S LOVES it. It is going to be packed full with lots of apps for her, ebooks and her favourite tv shows.
J and I also both have smart phones that we want to take. We use these as our cameras, easy free wifi devices and we also plan on getting sim cards with data plans as we travel for cheap internet. For this purpose, we have also had to buy a sim card cutter, so we can alter any size sim card for our phones. We seem to have solid reasons for it all, but it does add up to a fair bit of stuff!! At least it is all pretty small and lightweight.
Otherwise, we are taking all the usual travel things – clothes, toiletries, basic medicines, lots of print outs of booking receipts, a couple of lonely planets, passports, etc. The plan is to take at least enough clothing that washing doesn’t need to be done more than every 4 days. This is a fair bit when you have a baby who really needs to be changed after every meal!! We can be brutal, so if something turns out not to be useful, then we will throw it away as we go, and we can obviously buy anything we should have packed once we are there. Fingers crossed, we dont need anything else though!!
|The final result :-/|
I have posted what I thought about our packing on 20 things we have learned about family travel. You can also read our complete packing list.
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