Monday, November 29, 2010

The ultimate travelling tot packing list

No doubt travelling with toddlers and what is considered a ‘must have’ to take is completely dependent on the child and the destination.  My best advice would be to do as much research beforehand as you can. Forearmed is forewarned!

Things we took which turned out to be indispensable:

  • Robust pram – with cobble stones and stairs ours copped a caning so it is better to spend a little more in the hope that it will last.  Our extremely light and compact pram (Quinny Zapp) came with a travel bag which was great for check in, extra protection and ease of carrying when not in use.
  • Ergo Baby sling carrier – the toddler carrier we bought was terrific.  It could be worn on the front, hip or back and the short one loved it.  Around Amsterdam, prams were almost impossible, with little or no footpaths, cobble stones, canals, bikes and pedestrians, it was just a formula for disaster.
  • Sandwich and snack boxes – some sort of plastic ware to contain food for lunches and snacks throughout the day.  We took a couple of slices of bread, fruit and yoghurt from the hotel  breakfast buffet each day and made a sandwich for the short one’s day of sightseeing.
  • Refillable toddler drink bottles – one for milk and another for water
  • Toddler/baby cutlery – at least one plastic spoon, fork and knife and a small plate
  • Washing liquid – for hand washing clothes
  • Dish washing detergent and a few chux wipes – for washing bottles, cutlery and dishes and the inevitable spill
  • Individual popper sized UHT milk – we found ‘fresh’ milk, particularly from Germany, curdled in the baby bottle by the end of the day, despite the cool temperatures. Not all hotel rooms have mini bar fridges.
  • Mini library books, stickers, pencils, scrap books – these were very popular, but not as popular as the hotel room telephone – just make sure you disconnect it first to avoid expensive international phone calls!
  • Mobile phones – purchase pre-paid SIM cards once overseas. This works really well if you are mostly in the one country. Even out of the country of origin the rates aren’t too bad. International roaming rates are very expensive if using your SIM from home.
  • Skype account – when you have access to free wireless, you can phone home for very little.
  • Netbook – small laptop to access email, internet, blog updates, downloading photos each night!  It was also used for watching Playschool ad nauseum!
  • Travel insurance – non-negotiable!  And as we discovered, invaluable.
  • Nappies – take as many as you can manage. We found the quality and variety available in Europe is sadly lacking.  We had many leak quite badly!
  • A good backpack – pay a little more for an ergonomic and practical one.  Ours had a chest and stomach strap as well as a back brace – it was very comfortable and could comfortably manage quite a bit of weight.
  • Basic first aid kit – panadol for the short one, as well as the taller ones; bandaids; all purpose first aid cream; nail clippers.
  • Guide books – we took one, including a pocket map, for each of the cities we were visiting – they were invaluable.
  • Fold up 'green' shopping bag – many grocery stores either don’t have plastic bags or you have to pay extra for them.
  • Baby toiletries – bath soap, body cream (the cold is very drying on the skin), lip balm, nappy rash cream, wipes
  • Baby sleeping bags – (Grobag or similar) We took a lightweight and a medium weight bag.  They were very useful for maintaining that ‘going to bed’ routine.  They even worked on the plane and train!
  • A comfort toy or three – just don’t leave it on the first plane that you take to leave the country! Fortunately the short one has never mentioned ‘Babs’ again and was quick to take on ‘Mima’ and ‘Big Ted’ from Play School as her new sleeping buddies! The back-ups came in handy in the end!
  • A travel change pack – small zip lock bag with everything needed for a couple of changes. Include a change mat, couple of nappies, small pack of wipes, nappy bags. It made for a quick and convenient pack to take when out and about.
  • Power point adapters – Euro for Europe obviously, British for UAE – for all those chargers that you need eg mobiles, laptop, camera batteries etc
  • Playschool, Playschool, Playschool...on the iPhones and the laptop...they were an absolute Godsend!  When the short one started to get fractious while going through museums or exhibits, Playschool came into its own as in-pram entertainment!

Things we could have done without:
  • The number of activities/games – each and every day presented itself with so many new and exciting experiences that many went untouched, but I think I would still take them anyway, just in case! The activity packs that children get on the planes are not always age appropriate.
  • Disposable bibs – ended up using the couple of cloth ones that I took and washing them each day – I found the disposables that we did use weren’t very big nor absorbent
  • Money/passport pouch - daddy had the best coat that had more hidden pockets in it that we couldn't even get into.  We didn't even end up using the pouch at all.

Things that would have been handy:
  • Small plastic bags for rubbish – particularly on the plane

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