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We have some strange things in our suitcases!When we were packing for our family adventure we knew we would have to carefully choose things which would serve us well for our long-term travels. We looked at lots of other travelling family’s packing lists and sought advice on what was and wasn’t essential.
Once we had packed everything ‘sensible’ (that’s another post!) we decided there were a few items which we each felt were important to us and we felt were worth bringing along. Some of them were less useful and will be finding their way home or to a charity shop, however here are the things we brought which we can’t do without.
(NB I’m not writing about any electronic items as it goes without saying that our iPads, laptop, phones etc are vital to being digital nomads!)
Roobs got a JD Bug Street Scooter a couple of years ago. I bought it second-hand so it was already well-loved but the great thing about these kinds of scooters is that you can buy new parts, add stickers, accessories etc.
It folds up pretty small so although it is fairly heavy it’s easy to pack. We pretty much used it every day in Europe. (Not so much in South East Asia where the pavements haven’t been so scooter friendly). As we are now car-less we rely on public transport and we walk so much more than we ever did in the UK.
Amy (the bear)
Amy is an important member of our travelling family and Roobs absolutely adores her. (If your kid has a friend who is about to move away or travel then take note as this was the very BEST present my daughter received before leaving).
Roobs has some wonderful little friends in Bristol and they were very sad to hear she was leaving. So their clever mummies decided to organise a surprise leaving present. 5 of her best buddies went to ‘Build-a-Bear’ – a shop where you can choose a bear, help to make him/her come alive, record a message in their paw and buy outfits for them. They chose a multicoloured cheetah and named her Amy, they then recorded a gorgeous message for Roobs!
Roobs was over the moon when they gave her Amy and the Build-A-Bear helps her to feel connected and comforted as her friends really do mean a lot to her.
We decided that we both wanted to keep up some form of exercise whilst travelling so we needed to bring some sports gear – namely trainers and sports clothes. I found a netball team in Valencia and have been training with them whilst here and Dan knew he still wanted to run and play football.
We’re both really glad we packed them because although the trainers are bulky we both feel the benefits of trying to keep fit. We also carry a yoga mat and Exercise Band which pack up really small.
What can I say? Dan loves his smoothies. Yup most mornings start with a green concoction, usually spinach and whatever local fruit we can find. Roobs isn’t so keen but still reluctantly has a glass because daddy tells her to! It is bulky and heavy but we have found it to be really useful everywhere we go. (In case you don’t know what a NutriBullet is, it’s a blender. An awesome blender!)
Roobs absolutely loves playing piano. She started having lessons in Bristol about 18 months before we left – we realised she loved playing when we moved into our friends’ house and they had left a piano, it was difficult to get her off it! So we felt it was important to allow her to continue playing as we travel.
I researched portable keyboards for AGES, debating about whether we should get a big one and pay to take it as extra baggage or not.
In the end, we decided to go for the Casio SA76. It’s small enough to fit in her suitcase, it was reasonably priced and is fine for her to practice on. The keys are pretty small but for her little fingers, they are perfect.
Before we started researching our travels I had never heard of packing cubes. I’d joined a Facebook group for travelling families and asked what their must-haves were for taking with them. Loads of people told me about these little wonder-cubes.
They are rectangular zip up bags that come in different sizes and colours. (We bought eBags Packing Cubes ones as they were highly recommended)
Essentially they help you to squish lots and lots (and lots) of clothes into a packing cube and somehow you have lots more space in your suitcase and it also helps keep everything organised. (Especially if you roll your clothes up and pack instead of folding).
They are so useful and we ended up all having them.
I was given a small penknife as a birthday present by another travelling family, the lovely Hamners, from America.
They had been travelling for a while and found their Swiss Army Pocket Knife to be invaluable, so when they were staying with us in Bristol and it happened to be my birthday, they bought me one.
It has a little pair of scissors on it, a knife, a screwdriver, file, toothpick and tweezers. It has been so handy so far. Especially the little pair of scissors. It’s really small – about 1 1/2 inches long and is on a keyring so it goes everywhere with me.
Now, this may be a bit of a strange thing to a lot of people, however, anyone from Hong Kong should recognise it. Mopidick is a cream/liquid which stops mosquito bites from itching. I have been brought up with this as my parents come from Hong Kong. Anytime myself or my brother got bitten we would use ‘Mopidick’ (or ‘Mopigo’ as the old cream version was called).
We have been in lots of places where we do get more mozzie bites than in England so I’m glad this made its way into our suitcases. We will definitely be restocking as we move.
What’s the one thing you would pack?