Essential family travel packing list

We travel light, very light, but that doesn’t mean we take nothing. With 2 young children, you have to put quality and flexibility first if you want to be able to travel freely and be as unencumbered as possible.

Other than the normal items that would appear on everyone’s packing list (passports, charging cables, basic medical supplies etc.), here are some of our favourite items that we never travel without:

Baby Carrier
We simply wouldn’t survive without these carriers. They enable you to have a kid with you, often sleeping, while you’re doing whatever you want. You can be hiking, doing the dishes, exploring a new city etc. and the little one will be happily and securely sitting in front or behind you. We’ve tried at least 10 different carriers over the last 4 years and none have come close to the comfort, flexibility and durability of the ErgoBaby Carrier. You might even get lucky and find one at your local thrift store if you keep an eye out.

Portable Charger
Being on the road a lot, often in places with limited or no internet and electricity, having the ability to recharge phones, iPods etc. is essential. We use our phones for taking photos, planning travel routes and activities, hiking routes, booking accommodation and flights and finding great local food joints so the batteries can run down pretty quickly sometimes.

We have 2 chargers with us at the moment – an Anker and a RAVPower but there are a lot of good options available. You want at least 10,000 mAh to get a few charges worth, and make sure it’s relatively sturdy and reliable (not a cheap knock-off).

Having access to a hands-free and easy to use light source at all times comes in super-handy. There are a lot of times a headlamp comes in handy – on planes, outside at night, at a dark border-crossing, for some light reading after everyone is asleep and in many other situations. If you’re travelling in a campervan, or doing a lot of camping – a reliable headlamps is obviously even more essential. The Petzl Tikkina is basically unbreakable and 2 batteries will last many months with regular use, or years with intermittent use.

Kids Water Bottles
The particular type will obviously differ depending on the kids age, but they are essential and are used non-stop throughout the day (not just while travelling). The key characteristics to look for here are durability (they get dropped/thrown often) and ‘no-leak’ protection (you don’t want these dripping or leaking all over a child’s bed or on themselves during the day). When the kids were under 2 we mostly used the Closer to Nature bottles, and now as toddlers we have found the Insulated Sippee Cups to be the most durable over months and years of abuse by the 2 little ones.

Multi Power-Adapter
One of two of these is all you need for travel of any length – they can plug into any power socket in the world, and will take any cable in the world + it has 2 USB ports for charging phones/cameras etc. so you can essentially have a laptop and 2 phones plugged in at the same time all charging from one of these wall adapters. We’ve had no issues with slow-charging or over-heating after heavy use with this adapter.

We only take this if we’re travelling with checked-baggage, which we do less and less these days. But if we can we take it along as it inevitably will solve multiple problems on any trip – can’t open that to change the batteries – the leatherman will help; door jammed? – leatherman to the rescue; forgot to bring a knife to cut some fruit – bust out the leatherman! Avi has tried several over the last 10 years and has settled on the Leatherman Wave as the most useful option that is still relatively light and easy-to-use.. This link is to the black version which Avi likes and has had for several years through his army service and on many international trips. There are cheaper options available if you’re happy with the standard silver colour.

Comments 1

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