Packing for family travel

imagesCAXGD0TBRemember those days of travel;

  • when you could fit almost everything you owned in a backpack?
  • when you could pack at the last minute and it didn’t matter if you forgot something. Sure you could kick yourself for it, but it’s unlikely you would have a screaming fit  about it at the airport (maybe a quiet sulk?)
  • when you were responsible for only  one passport and one ticket.
  • when you could spend all day agonising over which top  best matched which skirt and making sure there was  one pair of shoes and an outfit  to wear “going out”…
  • when you  could pack a heap of books all for yourself and you’d actually read every one (and get more at the next hostel’s book swap!)
  • when laptops, phones or ipods  were not considered  backpacker essentials (whatever happened to getting away from it all??)

Well fast forward 5 years and here I am packing for two other little people…  not just for one week or one month but for one or two years…. So,  what to bring for a family??

The reality is, you can  pretty much buy anything you need almost anywhere in the world… I’m sure there are a few exceptions but I’ve heard that even in Antartica you can find a burger and chips…

So far, we have been able to find most things overseas, apart from a wide range of fresh fruit and veggies in some places and  good quality camping gear.    So if you think there is a chance that you might have to (or in our case, want to) camp, and you have good quality stuff, then bring it with you!!    We left our excellent hiking tent at home (an all weather hilleberg) and regretted it!

What you’ll also find is that packing and unpacking gets easier the more you do it!

Loaded with stuff
Loaded with stuff

Questions to ask yourself when deciding what to bring:

is it essential, e.g. do I need it immediately and do I want to spend the money to buy it overseas?    We brought both our kids car seats from home because we weren’t sure how readily available they were.  However, when we did find them easily enough in Chile  we were glad we didn’t  have to  fork out $120 each for new ones!!  A stroller however, we were happy to buy overseas (but that’s another story!)

  • How practical is it to carry and live with (e.g. what’s your storage living space?) We bought lots of stuff, but we also knew that we would be in one place until we bought ourselves a travel vehicle.

What we didn’t realise was that we would have to move accommodation twice in that time and it was a pain to transfer. However, THE  most important question to ask, is whether  you and your family and your luggage all fit in a vehicle  (e.g. taxi )  or do you need to hire a moving van??